by • December 26, 2011 • UncategorizedComments (1)92

Your winter weekend workshop

Merry Christmas! Here’s some homework.

It will take somewhere between five minutes and a week. I’m going to do it too, and my answers (and the consequences thereof) are down below.

First, write down what this is all about.

Second, Write down the top three things you need to learn to achieve that.

I know you’re busy eating pie and leftovers and stuff, but humour me. This is going to help.

Startups, by definition, haven’t figured everything out yet. That means there’s still something to learn. Bad stuff happens when we leave those questions implicit for too long. Today, we recalibrate and get explicit.

Anyway, here’s mine. Do yours, too. It will help.

Rob’s workshop answers

So what’s this all about?

It’s all about creating first-time founders who know how to learn from the market and can confidently navigate the startup waters.

Three big business questions

  1. What’s the best medium through which to reach & engage these founders? Blog? Videos? Podcast? Partners? Events? Workshops? Search? Ads? Office hours? Something else?
  2. What sort of educational events does the London startup community most want and need?
  3. How can I get 200 terrific startup people into a room with each other every week?

So I’ve got one channel question and two value proposition questions.

Writing this down, I can immediately see how I’ve been mis-spending my time.

And there’s the rub

I’ve been talking to lots of potential partners… corporations, universities, investors, incubators, and so on.

But those guys can’t resolve even one of my big three questions.

I really need to get talking directly to founders. They can answer #2 and 3 for me. And I can conveniently sort out #1 through the wonders of the internet without ever leaving my sofa.

So I need to make a bit of multimedia (hey 1990′s, where ya been?), hook up some analytics, and have a few coffees with interesting people. Not bad!

Meetings with potential partners are hard to turn down. They’re big names with deep pockets. But they aren’t where the crucial learning is right now.

Startups are learning organisations. If you don’t have something life-or-death to learn, you are no longer a startup. In which case: congratulations!

Until then, you need to remain laser-focused on the big questions. When you get explicit about the questions, sometimes the path becomes obvious.

On the other hand, while focusing on the apparently important activities (in my case, talking to important people), it’s easy to miss the fact that you’re no longer making progress on the questions which matter.


Email me your homework. We can talk about it. I’ll definitely learn something and maybe it will be useful for you too.

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