No software product is more elegant and better designed than UNIX (and it' derivatives) in our opinion. It is a dead simple design that has stood the test of time. Any software system which is stable and has stood the test of time, is directly or indirectly derived from UNIX. We love UNIX so much that when we are faced with design choices we model our solution on whatever comes closest to the UNIX implementation. Simplicity ROCKS !
The unfortunate five billion
Facebook and Google, two of the largest companies by market capitalization became that way by using micro revenues. Their users contribute just a few dollars per person per year. That is the power of the masses.Both these companies are advertisement driven, which naturally enables such a model. But, is advetisement driven content the only way to target the bottom 5 billion people. Is this group unwilling to pay for anything? One thing is clear, these unfortunate five billion cannot be marketed to, using traditional channels. Social seems to the only way to target them, so far.
Stanford professor and author Bob Sutton recently published The Asshole Survival Guide. The fact that there is a complete series of books on surviving assholes underscores how toxic our work environments have become. This is especially true in Silicon Valley's high tech environment. Creating technology requires unique abilities and people possessing them are often deluded into believing that they can get away with being assholes, that they are indispensible to the company. The truth is, nobody is indispensible, and life is too short to work for assholes.On the opposite end of the spectrum, are those folks who believe that just because they are polite and nice the standards should be relaxed for them. In today's hyper competitive environment such people are a huge liability.The truth we believe, is somewhere in the middle. Corporate culture is usually defined by how the company balances between the two extremes, namely polite incompetence and abrasive competence.
Product market fit is a miracle
Noted serial-entrepreneur and startup guru Steve Blank insists that startups live and die based on their product market fit. As entrepreneurs who have failed before, we could not agree more.Our previous company failed because we competed with a hundred thousand dollar alternative from Microsoft. Selling against Microsoft is not an easy proposition, especially if the product value and price point, is not tuned to the market needs.Costly lesson learned.
Make a dent in the universe
In his book The Purple Cow, Seth Godin explains that marketing is essentially about telling a remarkable story. As a startup we share this view. Startups are WAR. You only go to war if it is worth it, and it is only worth it if it has a chance to make a dent in the universe.
In his famous book Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore talks about the gap between early adopters and early majority. In fact the early majority often behave like prom queens who won't be persuaded easily. They have lots of choices and they know it.The only solution is to have a genuinely awesome story to convince them. It is the only way to scale a startup.