February 2013 Roundup For Silicon Valley

Mountain View Jan 25 Recap: We had about twenty bootstrappers around the table but the conversation went very well with a mix of first time and serial entrepreneurs. I think this was the best discussion we have had in the last year or so, folks stayed afterward for the better part of an hour. Discussions about the need to develop a “code review culture”, managing founder bandwidth, understanding how to take affordable losses on experiments large enough to make a difference but small enough to survive going wrong, hiring a first sales person, when to expand to a geographically separate office for a new market, etc.. Here were some suggestions for websites to create low costs graphics and logos: fiverr, DesignCrowd, 99Designs, Dribbble, Logoworks, The Logo Company, and Odesk.

Palo Alto Feb 1 Recap: Great conversation with startups targeting home security using an appliance with advanced video capabilities, a service for end of life planning, a venture development / outsourced tech co-founder service, a service that provides scientific writing support for academic and industrial white papers and journal articles, and a mobile/tablet application for field service and itinerant employees.

“Engineering Your Sales Process” Feb 8 in Sunnyvale: This is the same workshop that Scott Sambucci and Sean Murphy offered at the Lean Startup Conference in December 2012 but we are limiting the attendance to 12 entrepreneurs to allow it to be even more interactive and in depth. The is for entrepreneurs selling complex new products to businesses and who face these challenges:

  • You can’t get potential customers to call back.
  • Prospects won’t make a decision.
  • Prospects like what they see in beta and ask for extensions but will not buy (yet).
  • Your deals stall.
  • Prospect stays with the status quo.

When: Feb-8-2013 | Noon to 3:30 PM (lunch included)
Where: Pacific Business Center Sunnyvale, 1250 Oakmead Parkway, Suite 210, Sunnyvale CA, 94085
Cost: Normally $149, Bootstrappers and Sales Circle Meetup members pay only $99.
Register: http://skmsales130208.eventbrite.com/?discount=SalesCircle”

Free PDF of Viability Experiments Chapter from The Lean Entrepreneur posted by Patrick Vlaskovits  at http://vlskvts.co/LeanSky It covers the following tests with a simple template to manage them

  • Landing Page
  • Concierge Test (Case Study Curating User Experience by TakeLessons)
  • Wizard of Oz Test (Case Study: Cars Direct)
  • Crowdfunding (Case Study two sided market testing by 99designs and TaskRabbit)
  • Prototyping (Case Study Lit Motors prototyping)

This should give you some ideas for early market exploration and concept validation.

Great Demo Workshop March 6-7 in San Jose
We have another joint workshop coming up with Peter Cohan on how to give a great demo in March in San Jose on the 6th and 7th. Peter provides consulting services to the Software 150 and we focus on earlier stage and bootstrapping firms. More info is available at

Great Demo! Workshop on March 6 & 7, 2013

Next Silicon Valley Breakfasts

  • Sunnyvale Feb-19 http://www.meetup.com/Bootstrappers-Breakfast-SV/events/101790922/
  • Mountain View Feb-22 http://www.meetup.com/Bootstrappers-Breakfast-SV/events/97680502/
  • Palo Alto Mar-1 http://www.meetup.com/Bootstrappers-Breakfast-SV/events/101390132/

“Don’t explain why it works; explain how you use it.”
Steven Brust

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