In the summer of 1999, Expertcity (creator of GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting, acquired by Citrix) released a free service called BuddyHelp. In the spirit of the “land grab” mentality of the day, we emphasized usage of our screen sharing technology with no thought applied to how we would convert such users into paying customers.
With a few exceptions at the end of their career, the Beatles did not include songs that had previously been released as a single on their UK albums. According to George Martin, The Beatles’ Producer, “At the time, I didn’t want to shortchange the public. Assuming the fans had bought the single, I figured they wouldn’t want to hear it again on the album.” Although this approach was common in the UK, it ran counter to the then current Conventional Wisdom in the US music industry. However, by the release of Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles had gained complete control over their creative works in the US and curtailed Capital Records’ prior practice of including singles on US albums. This tactic provided the Beatles with a strategic advantage over American musicians, as fans knew that if they purchased a particular single, they would not have to pay for it again on a subsequent album. In essence, the Beatles offered a product with a higher value proposition as compared to their American counterparts.
Messenger: Seth Epstein, Co-Founder and CEO SocialStay, former Founder and CEO of FUEL (acquired by Razorfish), Emmy winner for work on X-Games and re-brander of ESPN’s Sport’s Center. Seth attended UCSB but dropped out to start a denim company. Value Prop Twitter Style: SocialStay is:"An easy to set up & manage mobile platform designed for the hospitality industry. It drives revenue & engages guests."
On September 8, 1965, baseball player Dagoberto Campaneris Blanco became the first major leaguer to play all nine positions in a nine-inning game. Technically, he filled ten roles, as he pitched left handed when facing right-handed batters and right handed with lefties at the plate. Despite his status as an all-star shortstop, Bert proved himself to be a selfless utility player. Over his career, he played all three outfield positions, as well as second and third base. His willingness to add value wherever his coach needed him most, not only helped his teams win three consecutive World Championships, but it also allowed Bert to extend his career by making himself Indispensible. Entrepreneurs should likewise endeavor to maximize their utility by playing as many positions on their startup team as they can effectively master.
In Why Most Business Books (Still) Suck, I discuss why entrepreneurship is best learned experientially. If experiences are the best tools to foster entrepreneurial edification, a natural corollary question is, “How can you get the most out of your startup experiences?”
I recently replied to a Quora entry which asked, “What are the best business-related books?” I shared my humble opinion that entrepreneurs should spend less time reading and more time experiencing reality. I concluded by including a link to an entry I wrote entitled, The Author’s Dilemma - Why Business Books Suck. The person asking the question subsequently replied that I was “ignorant” and missing out on a great learning opportunity by not reading. Although the response was somewhat rude, it was valuable, as it caused me to think a bit more deeply about this issue.
Messenger: Lynda Weinman, Co-Founder and Executive Chair, lynda.com and author of Designing Web Graphics, a world-wide bestseller, translated into 15 languages Value Prop Twitter Style: Lynda.com is: “The best, new, online way to learn how to use your software. Search for a specific answer or learn something new from start to finish. ”
Messenger: Ian Siegel, Co-Founder |CEO ZipRecruiter, Former Executive Product and Technology roles at: MyLife, CitySearch, Stamps.com, Rent.com and Pictage Value Prop Twitter Style: ZipRecruiter enables employers to post to multiple free job boards with one submission - the fastest way to get a job online across the web.
Messenger: Kevin O’Connor, Co-Founder of FindTheBest, former Co-Founder and CEO DoubleClick (sold to Google, $3.1B, seed investor ISS (sold to IBM, $1.3B), Co-Founder ICC (sold to DCA $25mm). Value Prop Twitter Style: FindTheBest is: “An objective, socially curated comparison engine that allows you to find a topic, compare your options and decide what's best for you.”