We had a great conversation in Palo Alto this morning in the back room at Hobees. Here are some notes I took.
We talked about the work/work balance that bootstrappers need to manage: working a day job to stay solvent and working mornings, lunchtime, nights and weekends to prospect and do product development for your new startup. In particular, California law provides for an exception to invention assignment that any product or invention developed solely on your own time with your own materials is your property.
The need to focus for effect when you are attacking an established market
We talked about the need for early revenue to keep co-founders motivated, 90 days is a long time to go without revenue; see also “Finding a Co-Founder, 3 Months is a Long Time Without Revenue.”
Normally bootstrappers sell what they have, typically starting with services or an information product and then doing a system integration of existing tools and some custom additions before building a complete product. Tools like Slack, IFTT, and WapWolf make it easier to glue applications together and content management platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal offer a jumpstart for collaboration around content.
You have to name a price and ask for payment, many people who tell you they will pay when the full product is “ready” often do not pay when actually confronted with the opportunity. For many new products the bulk is the risk is related to determining the price, the message, and the attributes of a real prospect.
Books we discussed
- The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A cheat sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits
- Growing a Business by Paul Hawken