David Allen on GTD for Startup Founders

Just posted the interview that Patrick and I did with David Allen, founder of GTD. You’ll find it at startupsuccesspodcast.com.

Speaking of things GTD, I’m now switching back to Things from OmniFocus. I just found myself too distracted by OmniFocus and its intricacies and not focusing on the actual things I want to get done. Now that Things has become Things2 and added cloud synchronization, I’m giving it another try, going with a lightweight approach, and will see how that works out. You might want to do the same.

Startup Idea Stuck? Spend a buck!

If you’re stuck for an idea to build your startup on, then I’ve got just what you need – and it will cost you a single dollar. Rene Andreasi-Bassi is one of those rare people who throw off great ideas like way sparks fly when molten steel gets poured. His day job is in the television industry where a thousand ideas live and die before lunch. And he’s done what every good founder does in the age of the Internet – design/define a way to monetize that uniqueness, reach out to build an audience and then a market and disrupt the status quo.

Rene built and is very effectively marketing BuyMyIdea.com, where you can go, browse his ideas and if you find one that makes you jump, buy it for a dollar and up. Pure genius, a clean intellectual property provenance and well worth a visit. Check it out.

Keeper emails from 21times.org

For the past week or so I’ve been getting these absolutely great startup advise emails from 21times. First there was Spencer Fry on How to Bootstrap, then awesome Patrick McKenzie on Running a Software Business on 5 Hours a Week, and then today Jason Baptiste on going from idea to launch in 8 steps. First person, detailed, great stuff. The kind of content you seldom see. Highly recommended.

Startups, chickens, and eggs

Nick Brewer wrote in last week asking for suggestions dealing with a very common challenge he’s having with his startup: Tradeomics:

How do we encourage users to add items even though they may not find what they want right now?

Our biggest challenge is the chicken before the egg problem. We have been trying to get coverage on various blogs, to little luck. We’ve gained almost 400 members and only about 200 items (60% of our items are from friends or ourselves).

Though everyone tells us it’s such an awesome idea and service. Our biggest feedback on the item issue is that they are not seeing what they want so are apathetic about adding their own.

Nick, I think there’s (at least) three ways to beat this problem:

Get stuff out where people will see it. Right now you’re like a small store where people walk by, glance through your window and keep going. You need to get the stuff your selling out and visible. I’d replace the content below the very first graphics of how Tradeomics works on the home page with your Items page, and move the social badges into the footer. Let people shop without a cover fee of figuring out where on your site they need to go to see the goods. No one in their right mind keeps a mental list of everything they might want to buy (or in your site’s case, trade) – seeing is triggering.

Focus down. What are you trading? Creating several landing pages with just one kind of item (video games would be a good start) and then promoting each landing page to the people who care about that item is a proven strategy – just visit any mall.

Reach out to people who will care. You mentioned you’re trying to get various blogs to cover you, with little luck. Are you answering the question, “Your readers will get…” for them? Forget about the tech blogs for the moment – you want customers, not adoration. For example, I’ve got a nephew who’s very much into ATVs, and there’s stuff he’d like to trade off and stuff he’d like to get for less than retail. Find out what blogs he reads. Talk to those bloggers, give them credits to give away, give them a dedicated landing page for just the ATV market. Rinse, lather, repeat.

One other point – I read through your pricing – don’t understand it. It needs to be simplified – maybe a credit to post an item, one to buy an item. Three subpoints. Usually in a market one kind of participant pays – not both. If you’re going to make value for both buyers and sellers, add more punch to the buyer side with easy to customize alerts. And third, think about where in the shopping hierarchy your site fits (somewhere above Craigslist and below Amazon) and whose already at that level and how you can offer something people want that existing solutions don’t.

Thanks for the question Nick – readers, any suggestions for Nick?


Positioning your startup

Posted this morning #145 of the Startup Success Podcast - which was show #52 from January, 2010.

Pat and I interviewed again Sramana Mitra, this time about here excellent book, Positioning: How To Test, Validate, And Bring Your Idea To Market.

Figuring out the what do I build?/Who’s my market? problem is a must have if your startup is going to succeed. In this interview, Sramana shares her experience on this issue and digs deep into the process of positioning your startup.

Give it a listen – what do you think?

Think Apps not Books

Years ago, on my first podcast, I interviewed Ned Hallowell, M.D. about his then bestseller, CrazyBusy. Ned’s in the business of helping harried professionals get some sanity back into their lives. The book was a great read, the interview a great listen, but content in doesn’t equate to action out.

Ned’s now launched CrazyBusy Tips (free) with CrazyBusy Pro as an in-app purchase ($1.99) for iOS. Looks awesome – downloading it now, and will post about it in a week or so.

Ned is one smart doctor – I recommend his app sight unseen. But the point here – the conclusion CrazyBusy the App cements in my mind – is the world doesn’t need more passive content – it needs more content designed, structured and delivered for action. Content that people can grab cheap, get into, and get specific measurable results from – be it getting the crazy out of their lives or moving their startups forward.

A visionary in the true meaning of the word…

Posted Friday #144 of the Startup Success Podcast - which was show #28 from June, 2009.

It’s an interview Pat and I did with Sramana Mitra, one of the most successful and sought-after funded startup consultants out there.

Sramana’s consults, books and online roundtables would make her a “person of interest” to startup founders. But it’s here One Million by One Million program and vision that set her apart:

One Million by One Million is a global initiative that aims to nurture a million entrepreneurs to reach a million dollars each in annual revenue and beyond by 2020, thereby creating a trillion dollars in global GDP and ten million jobs.

That’s a Big Goal – no messing around.

Give it a listen – what do you think?

An interview with Seth Godin…

Just posted #143 of the Startup Success Podcast - which was show #57 from Febrary, 2010. It’s an interview with one of the smartest people in the world when it comes to succeeding in the Internet Age: Seth Godin.

Seth over the last few years has been focusing on a highly relevant question for startup founders: How do you break through the noise, the sameness, the 10,000 other apps out there? If you are a fan of Seth Godin, and you’re looking for an answer to that question, don’t miss this interview!

Give it a listen – what do you think?

An interview with Jason Fried…

Just posted #142 of the Startup Success Podcast - which was show #63 from April, 2010. It’s an interview I did with Jason Fried, co-founder of 37signals.

Jason’s advice to startup founders is anything but the usual conventional wisdom and I thought it would make a good start to the rerun season now that Patrick has left the show.

Give it a listen – what do you think?


Just posted show number 141 of the Startup Success Podcast – a great interview with Marc Nager, CEO of Startup Weekend and Pat’s last show as cohost as he goes on to founding his own startup, Tribbon. It feels really weird to stop doing something we’ve done together for pushing four years.

I just wanted to say thanks Pat! For sharing a dream, for countless hours whipping our raw interviews into shows, for putting up with me, for contributing above and beyond the call to the startup community. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun.

Next week, I’ll be putting the Startup Success Podcast into reruns, re-issuing some our best interviews over the past years. Pat and I did some really good interviews, and I think you’ll enjoy them. And stay tuned, there’s more changes coming!