Matt Cameron, who attends our San Francisco breakfasts, recently launched his new startup, Corporate Catapult aimed at career planning and mangement by employees. For an interview with Matt see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnQ-fsWrBIo

He writes a companion blog at that also has good advice for bootstrappers. One recent post on “deadlines and lists” at
is particularly appropriate. Some excerpts [with my comments in square brackets]:

One of the key differences between the people at the top and the “also rans” is consistency and aspiration.

  1. Set goals with strict deadlines: Whether it be a competition, an academic exam or an arbitrary date selected by you, having deadlines is one of the surest ways to get things done. Set goals that are a stretch. When you have a large task to accomplish (write an opinion, launch a product, achieve a sales quota, design something) there is nothing more effective than breaking this task down into mini-milestones that have strict deadlines. [Note: A Goal Without a Deadline is a Wish]
  2. Make yourself accountable: If you don’t have an external deadline for a task or objective (eg your daily mini-tasks), then do what I do and tell someone else what you are going to achieve. [Note: this works both within your own team and taking advantage of groups like Bootstrappers Breakfast.]3) Make a checklist: There are some things that we have to do on a repeatable basis and as you gain experience, you will figure out what the best steps are. Something I did very early on was make a checklist of things to do.

Matt cites Atul Gawande’s New Yorker article on medical checklists and his book “The Checklist Manifesto” for further inspiration for developing checklists. I think Frequently Asked Questions lists and checklists are two keys to saving time.

  • What checklists have you developed in your startup that have saved you time or prevented errors?
  • What processes are you doing repeatedly but unreliably that would benefit from a checklist?