Monday, June 29, 2009

Entrepreneurial work-life balance

One of the things that I like the most about the entrepreneur's life is the "holistic" approach or connectedness with a broad range of realities: resources, relationships, processes, from ideation to implementation...Obviously in order to be consistent with this philosophy of connection, "holistic" should include having a life out of the venture. We need fresh air to come up with new ideas and recharge our batteries.

Along these lines, check out this great post on work-life balance by Steve Blank. For those with a significant other and kids the family rules are worth taking a look at. I also liked the This life isn’t practice for the next one.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Negativity and stickiness

One of the main messages of Strengths Finder 2.0, a book by Gallup's Tom Rath, is that most of the times we focus too hard in solving our shortcomings instead of in boosting our strengths.

First thought:
We focus on the negative -improving defects-, instead of going with the flow -prop up our strengths- which definitely sounds a little bit less strenuous. This reminds me to that martial arts' principle that advises to leverage the force of the opponent instead of wasting our energy opposing him directly.

Second thought:
Tom Rath estates that our culture has created icons out of people who have succeeded thanks to this "you can do anything" approach: underdog, no talent, works hard, faces the challenge and prevails. From Chip and Dan Heath's Made to Stick perspective, this is a perfect example of the "David vs. Goliath" plot. This would be one factor that explains why these icons - or stories at the end of the day- "stick" in our minds. (see other factors, in my previous post mice and books)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

7 random recommendations for a [road] trip

My turn for free advice. I have distilled the following recommendations from my last road trip but I think they are applicable to other situations:
  1. Plan the trip.
  2. Ditch the plan as soon as you hit the road.
  3. Live the present time, go with the flow, seize opportunities as they appear.
  4. Accept. Everything happens for a reason.
  5. Smile. Doors will open.
  6. Wear a hat.
  7. Dance.
In case of doubt - and I am being shamelessly corny here - love and be grateful. I mean it.

Wherever it is that you are going, enjoy your trip!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Startups in 13 Sentences by Paul Graham

I know, there are many tips for entrepreneurs out there and as my friend Javi says, free advice, for what it's worth... but I found Paul Graham's "Startups in 13 Sentences" through Narayan, one of my colleagues at Maestro Market. #2 and #3 resonate louder:

2. Launch fast.

The reason to launch fast is not so much that it's critical to get your product to market early, but that you haven't really started working on it till you've launched. Launching teaches you what you should have been building. Till you know that you're wasting your time. So the main value of whatever you launch with is as a pretext for engaging users.

3. Let your idea evolve.

This is the second half of launching fast. Launch fast and iterate. It's a big mistake to treat a startup as if it were merely a matter of implementing some brilliant initial idea. As in an essay, most of the ideas appear in the implementing.

You can read the rest here. By the way, click on the link to EtherPad and you will see dynamically how the text was written. Cool...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The recurring theme of passion, the flow and happiness in life

In the last 10 days I have been out of town, on a road trip through Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Most of the journey is not just what you see but (1) who you travel with and (2) who do you know along the way.

In relation with (1), I should talk about my travel companion's ability to attract positive interactions and generate unexpected events (she's the best karma magnet I have ever known) but I might leave that for another post.

Regarding (2) In Knoxville we met Kevin Bradley from Yee-Haw Industrial Letterpress & Design Co. and some of his co-workers and friends.

Yee-Haw Industries Headquarters
413 South Gay St. , Knoxville, Tennessee

The firm was was founded in 1997 by Kevin and Julie Belcher. Their work is custom-to-order, designed, set, and pressed by hand. By the way, this is their blog.

T-shirts, grocery totes, exhibition or local musicians posters, calendars...
if it's printable, you name it!

a sample of their wonderful working letterpress collection
most of it is salvaged equipment, bought from retired printers

There is so much I can tell about visiting Kevin's beautiful art - should I say dreams?- factory. Above all I confirmed the power of passion I referred to in my post about Adam from Oakland's very own Linden Street Brewery. A somehow quaint facility that invites to dream and work, generosity, love for even the smallest detail, contagious good mood and smiles, time flying unnoticed...To me that' s how work should look like.

and a sense of humor...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Moderation and alternatives

"Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative."

Dr. Henry Kissinger

Monday, June 15, 2009

Maestro Market, a marketplace for speaking engagements

Are you looking for a public speaker that can deliver an unforgettable mark on your audience? Are you a professional looking for speaking engagements?

If that's the case I would like to talk to you. This summer I will be working with Maestro Market, a marketplace connecting people of talent with customers who can benefit from the talent for events, appearances, and other engagements.

Although being an early stage start up we are all helping out with pretty much anything, I am primarily in charge of Marketing and Product development.

There are two things that get me excited about this project:
  • One is the team. We are five people, coming from very different backgrounds yet passionate about entrepreneurship, high-performance and making better matches between talent providers and talent seekers.
  • The second one is the possibility to put in practice all that I have learned about user-centric design and customer development. In fact right now I am leading our efforts to map our customers needs.
I enjoy the level of excitement and energy we all share. We are definitely off to a great adventure.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bart is on twitter

Not Bart simpson but BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is on twitter. It says a lot about how fast this site is spreading around.

For the moment they are twitting on services updates (such as 10-min. delay between Concord & Pleasant Hill in Pittsburg & SFO directions due to equipment problem. Get all advisories at, other BART news, give-aways and promotions, pics and videos related to BART or trains...You can check it out here.