Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Ideation Imagination

November 5th, 2009

I was watching a brief video of David Kelley, Founder of IDEO, speak about how to design a product that I thought was insightful. He preaches that the best way to design a new product is in fact to design how the consumer or user will experience the product. Not only does it make it easier to sell but you come to better understand what the customer really wants. Your idea can then solve for that problem.

Another great way to find ideas is to help Paul Graham with ideas “that blow away evil old monopolies.” Or you can look to science fiction like Star Trek’s replicator which some folks at NASA have tried to duplicate with moderate success.

We had originally worked on creating scattegories-type game that would randomize hot Google trends and leave you with a limited time to come up with new business ideas involving the different topics. Maybe we can throw up the mock up on another tab for fun. Another game to stimulate creative thoughts is a board game approach to a similar idea called ThinkCube. I would love to see an online version of that. Any other different ways to generate ideas out there?

Developing a business in the open

October 6th, 2009

As I’ve pondered the idea of what would make for a successful environment where “BrainHuddle”ing can take place, I remembered a blog post from earlier this year by Paul Allen (founder of Ancestry.com). In his post he addresses the conflict he feels between publicizing ideas in order to generate discussion versus building ideas in stealth mode to preserve a competitive advantage. This seems to be a polarizing argument.

Apple may be the ultimate example of stealth mode product development – where secrecy is “ruthlessly enforced”. If their success is any indication, we should all immediately pull down the blinds and eliminate contact with the outside world. And yet, the same article mentions that such secrecy comes at a cost, often creating “an impediment to actually getting one’s work done”. Still, Apple does a phenomenal job of creating a product that a wide swath of people are fanatic about with little to no feedback cycle.

On the other side of the fence, many companies today seem to be successfully developing products on a more open basis. Google, for example, seems to tend towards releasing beta products and using feedback to evolve features and resolve issues. After some hard knocks, Facebook has begun soliciting direction and feedback as it attempts to preserve its dominant position.

So which is it – will bringing your closely held idea out into the open give away any advantage to the competition? Or will you be able to successfully develop the perfect product without any public feedback or input? Neither option seems perfect to me which is why I’m throwing this out for debate. Personally, I’m straddling the fence. I believe the BrainHuddle team is committed to developing useful functionality with as much input as possible from users. At the same time, I’m working on other projects that as for now are outside of the public sphere. I’ll be sure to document my findings but in the meantime, what experiences have you had?

Intelligent Design: The Ultimate Project Management

October 6th, 2009

A frequent recommendation for those wanting to be entrepreneurs is to study the lives of other successful entrepreneurs and seek to model their behaviors or steps. So as I contemplated who would be someone good to model after that really knows how to do it all I realized I should start at the top. Certainly the creation of the world has some lessons to teach about creating a business.

These views are obviously filtered through my own lens of belief but I wanted to share because I think it still demonstrates the value of looking at things from a different perspective even to the agnostic individual.

I believe God started with purpose or meaning. He wanted his children (Acts 17:29) to progress and learn giving them opportunities to advance and use the gifts with which they had been blessed. He rallied a team to the cause or idea. A value proposition was laid out as he explained the plan to an excited customer group (Job 38:7). If they bought into the plan they would receive a body and an opportunity to progress. If the customers continued to subscribe they were promised eternal glory and continual opportunity to have all that their Father had.

At this point decisions were made about who did what within the organization to implement the plan. There were those who did not agree with the methods or roles thinking they had a better idea and appealed to the potential customer group an alternative way of doing things for those not comfortable with the risk or price associated with the proposed plan. So sadly at the day of decision the customer group became more focused as a significant portion of the “market” opted out of the plan or service and certain members of the team got off the bus. (Rev 12:7-9)

So now that the basic idea had been pitched, the customer had been identified, and roles had been assigned the team began to organize, strategize, and execute ways to achieve the proposed purpose. The work was segmented by task or purpose into 7 set time periods. During each task it was made sure that everyone knew what was to be done even to the point of clarifying what words meant and the why’s or what individual processes had to accomplish.

Day 1-Heaven and Earth created-Earth without form-Light separated from the Darkness.

The heaven and formless earth equates to acquiring space. Whether that is a domain name and storage or a physical place you need some place to work. The separation of the light and darkness is the separation of good, value-add ideas and waste or unclear ideas.

Day 2-Firmament or expanse was formed-Atmosphere and water.

 The 2nd time period was spent creating the environment for success and/ or an underlying business structure (Inc or LLC?).

Day 3-Dry land brought forth-Seed bearing plants created.

Next further structure was created as the waters were gathered to gather and the land was brought up. During this time period supporting and self-sustaining systems were put in place though it wasn’t an all in one system but rather modules or plug-ins to the main system. Each process (seed) did one specific thing (brought forth herb or fruit after its own kind).

Day 4-Sun, moon, and stars put in place.

Time started to be accounted for and a sequence of events began. On the 4th day timelines were organized and time keepers were assigned for signaling deadlines or pending events. These time keepers were also responsible for a short and long term focus—moving things along so that they happened at the right time.

I’ve looked up and realized I’m lacking in conciseness again so I lump the rest into a general gist. In the preceding days fishes, fowls, and other animal life was added to the system—complex specialist organisms or programs—each one connecting to the whole.

 During the execution there was continual follow up until a task had been accomplished. Resources were set up for the customers (who had helped create it) and then a limited beta was tested by select users (Adam & Eve) in a controlled environment before introducing it to everyone (The Fall).  It should be noted that opposition or competition was noticed during the beta testing. The customer base then grew through referrals and a wiki was used by customers to pass on initial instructions though updates were and continue to be provided with a great customer service model of personal revelation.

Bottom line: Look for different ways that the existing success of others can be modeled. Everyone has to start some where…even God.

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