Frederick Schiller Faust is a nobody. His face evokes no recognition; his name conjures no associations, nor do eighteen of his nineteen pseudonyms. However, one of his aliases elicits widespread recognition. Nearly 65 years after Frederick’s death on the front lines during World War II, his celebrated penname remains an enduring brand that invokes a spirit of adventure and escape. Frederick and his publishers fostered his renowned nom de plume into a vibrant and meaningful brand. Many of the maxims utilized to create that lasting brand can be applied to your startup.
Standing on the courthouse steps, moments after receiving his permanent residency Green Card, John Lennon was asked if he harbored a grudge against the Nixon Administration for tapping his phone, putting him under surveillance and mounting a multi-year attempt to deport him. Without missing a beat, John smiled and said, “Time wounds all heels.” Given the manner in which history has depicted Nixon and his Administration, truer words were never spoken.
You have been planning to ask your long-time girlfriend to marry you for months and the big day has finally arrived. In order to reduce your risk of failure, you ask your roommate, who has proposed to several women previously, to pop the question on your behalf. Sound crazy? This is the approach many startups take when they communicate their story to the market. Rather than directly explaining their value proposition with all the passion and heartfelt stridency that only an entrepreneur can deliver, they outsource this communication to a Public Relations (PR) firm. PR agencies are expensive versions of Cyrano de Bergerac. Their best attempts to woo the media will never equal your ability to sing your own praises. Startup PR does not stand for “Public Relations.” Rather, it translates into “Passionate Relationships” and passion cannot be outsourced.
No doubt about it, most Hollywood screenwriters disdain entrepreneurs. The negative depiction of entrepreneurs arguably reached its nadir in the film Wall Street. In one scene, Michael Douglas’s character proclaims, “Greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works.” He goes on to rationalize why it is OK to screw everyone on your way to the top. The Hollywood screenwriters were close. The words they should have put in Michael Douglas’s mouth are, “Creed is good. Creed is right. Creed works.” The best antidote to greed is a strong Corporate Creed. Your adVenture’s Corporate Creed should be established early and be well understood by all of your employees, as it is the foundation of your corporate culture and ultimately your success.
"Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee, "If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic." -Lewis Carroll Entrepreneurs often must take counter-intuitive, contrarian positions in order to succeed. One of the first steps required to move out of The Herd is to see the world from a slightly different vantage point. This often requires rejecting what is conveniently termed: "Conventional Wisdom."
Investors are way overrated. Who needs them?As a proud dropout from the Founderitis Ten-Step Recovery Program, you realize that you are far better off without investors meddling in your business. However, other members of your Core Team are pressuring you to seek outside funding. No problem. If you follow the tips outlined in this entry, you will be guaranteed to suffer absolutely no dilution, as there is zero chance that any reasonable investor will be compelled to purchase any of your equity. With a bit of effort, your pitch will cause the audience to walk away with no empathy for you, a vague, disinterested understanding of your adVenture's value proposition and absolutely no desire to fork over their dough into your sweaty hands. Bootstrapping may limit your adVenture's ultimate chance of success, but at least you will never have to deal with pesky institutional investors. Pop Quiz: What are the top five phobias?
The joys of competition. Let's face it. Life would be pretty boring without the Darwinian struggle for survival. Without external forces pushing organisms to adapt in order to ensure their continued survival, you would be swimming in a primordial goop, along with the other single-cell creatures, rather than reading this enlightening article.
On April 14th, 1865, while hanging around Ford's Theatre reading his mail, Booth learned that Lincoln would be attending that evening's performance of Our American Cousin. At that moment, Booth decided to carry out his assignation plot.Once the exhilaration of successfully executing the initial phase of his plan passed, Booth quickly realized that his script had no Second Act. Much like an entrepreneur who orchestrates a successful product launch or pivotal partnership which subsequently fails due to poor execution, Booth had not planned how he would capitalize on his initial success.
There were once two brothers whose father owned a large ranch in Northern California, in an area that would one day be known as the Silicon Valley. AdVenture ranch had been passed down intact through multiple generations and the boys' father wanted to ensure it would pass to his heirs undivided. As such, he devised a test by which he would determine which son was worthy of inheriting the entire adVenture ranch. To this end, he gathered a large bundle of sticks and bound them with a thick rawhide cord that had been soaked in brine and dried in the sun, forming an iron bond.
Bro - abbreviation of "Brother", meaning friend or dude. A term of endearment used to denote a familiarity beyond a casual friendship. In the world of Big Dumb Companies ("BDC"), there is little likelihood you will establish a professional relationship with someone outside of your company that goes beyond a casual friendship. At large companies, such behavior is often discouraged and in many organizations, it is even considered unprofessional. However, in the world of startups, relationships that go beyond a casual acquaintance can provide your adVenture with a significant competitive advantage.