Are You a Connector—or a Party Crasher?

Written by on January 17, 2014

Most of us want to be a “connector”; that is, someone who knows good people and brings them together. Certainly, there are many times when that’s a good thing to do, both socially and professionally. However, I’ve also encountered a lot of “party crashers”: those who introduce me to people unexpectedly.

The Entrepreneur’s Essential Bookshelf

Written by on January 10, 2014

When we first started our company, Software Advice, I knew nothing about starting or building a company. But Don had a big library of business books. If I couldn’t hike or ski, I didn’t have much else to do on weekends in Montana. So I started reading.

Networking is Overrated

Written by on December 17, 2013

While conventional wisdom says to network aggressively, I don’t necessarily agree. There will most likely be periods during which networking is not your highest-value activity. Every hour has an opportunity cost, and early in the life of your business, you don’t have a lot of hours to burn.

Burning the Ships

Written by on December 3, 2013

So if you give up on being a bootstrapped entrepreneur, what are your options? They will depend on whether or not you have “burned the ships.” Hailing back to Cortes’ conquest of the Aztec empire, this phrase refers to when soldiers of a vanquishing army would sail to a foreign land, and burn the ships behind them so they couldn’t retreat from battle.

It’s Not Every Day You Get to Save a Five-Year-Old’s Life

Written by on November 21, 2013

Today’s employees, especially Gen Y, are increasingly focused on finding a greater purpose in their work. Unlike prior generations who were focused simply on being employed or growing their income, this generation wants something more meaningful. But what if your business is primarily commercial and not, well, saving the world?

Why Boring is Awesome

Written by on November 20, 2013

Interestingly, one of the most reliable ways to be successful is to be, well, boring. Boring industries are home to some very successful companies, and they are typically not home to fierce competitors like Jobs, Page or Zuckerberg. Of course, the entrepreneurial path you choose will depend upon your ambitions. So if you’re thinking of starting a business, start by asking yourself: What kind of entrepreneur do I want to be?

Bill Yourself Out at $1,000 an Hour

Written by on September 20, 2013

As an entrepreneur, you have a lot of things competing for your attention, from big-picture strategy to product development to human resources. So how do you decide what’s worth your time? In this post, I’m not writing about how to weigh the merits of one strategic project versus another. Instead, I’ll write about prioritizing the frustrating little battles we’re drawn into that distract us from our strategic projects.

A Leading Venture Capitalist on the Virtues of Bootstrapping

Written by on September 17, 2013

If you’re an entrepreneur thinking of starting a business, there are a lot of questions you’re probably asking yourself. One question in particular tops the list: Should you bootstrap your business, or seek funding for your company from venture capital investors? To answer this question, I spoke with Greg Goldfarb, a Managing Director at Summit Partners, a growth equity firm that has invested in more than 380 companies over 30 years.

Collaborative, Custom Workstations That You Can Have, Too

Written by on August 16, 2013

A couple years ago, Software Advice started out-growing its office space. When we decided to move to our current location, we had to think about the environment we wanted to create for our employees. We wanted to foster a spirit of openness and collaboration – so sticking people in cubicles seemed counter-intuitive. In search of a viable alternative to the cube, I sought the counsel of architect Wendy Dunnam Tita at Dunnam Tita Architecture + Interiors.

Our Bad-Ass Execution Principles: A Prescription for Effectiveness

Written by on July 22, 2013

At most companies, personal organization is considered, well, personal. It’s something that a lot of managers don’t feel they should be intruding on; besides, they assume their employees must already have their act together. Well, personal organization isn’t something they teach you in college, and it turns out that most people don’t have a sophisticated process for prioritizing their work.