Category: Experience

“Why is there never a big red button?” – Dr. Who

We all want the obvious answer.  We want all the customers to agree.  We want the big bold sign to tell us which direction to take.  We want to know in advance what will happen.

When it’s big decision time, we want the big red button; partly because of the fact that we need rituals to emphasize the importance of the moment, but mostly because we want the clear binary, black and white scenario where we know what happens if we push the big red button.

But it’s never that way.  You can’t know the outcomes, one choice over another and you can’t collect enough data to make you comfortable making the decision.

The best you can do is be true to your core values and make the decision based on the best data you have available.  Then you have to own it. If you’re wrong, fix it or pivot, but don’t sit around assigning blame.  Move on.

You’re going to be wrong a lot.  That’s the way it is.  You probably won’t even be right half the time but that’s usually good enough.  Sailing never follows a straight line.  It’s a series of moves and counter moves that gets you where you are going.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson



“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

I’m reading an interesting book by Chris Guillebeau called “The $100 Startup”.  Chris is encouraging all of us to consider starting a business around a hobby or passion that could help other people.  Among the points he makes are that it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money to get started, nor does it require any highly specific skills.  Just the willingness to try and learn.

Our culture has less patience for people who do not adapt than ever in history.  This is no doubt fueled by technology’s rapid advancement and the globalization of our society.

The good news is that there is more information at hand… just a few milliseconds away…that can provide guidance and access to education through online training and mentoring through social networks; in many cases for absolutely free.  This will have profound consequences for our traditional forms of education.  The resume will be judged by how many startups you’ve done rather than the letters behind your name.

Meanwhile, there’s no reason for any of us to be hindered from pursuing a startup opportunity merely because of a lack of knowledge.  Your customers will tell what they want and that will lead you down the right path.  All the rest is a search engine or a phone call away.



Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“There’s no bad weather. Only bad clothing.” – Shawn Carson

The message is for backpackers.  It’s built on the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared”.

You can’t anticipate, nor can you control, everything.  You can identify risk and execute to mitigate it.  You can’t eliminate it.

When things change unexpectedly, you adjust, or you stay put and wait it out.  SOmetimes you pull out.

Benchmarks and milestones can help.

So can being extremely frugal with your resources.

“In the majority of cases, the CEO serves as the externally facing leader. The COO serves as the internally facing leader.” – David Thomson

There are a few key roles you need to fill in your startup.  What you call them is up to you.  Whether you fill them with fewer people is also.

  •  You need the the person that is the face of the company and sells to the market, investors, partners, board members. (CEO)
  • You need the person that gets things done.  (COO)
  • You need the person looking for the next big thing (CTO)
  • You need a rainmaker.  The one that finds customers and closes deals. (VP Biz Dev.)
  • …and you need good advisors.

A lot of technology starts get heavy on one end.  Launching a company is not the time to develop new business skills.  Find the right people.

Read “Blueprint to a Billion” by David Thomson

“Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.” – Jim Horning

Failure is a risk.

I’ve heard that in Silicon Valley, you’re not going to score an investment unless you have had at least one meteoric failure.  The thinks of the proverb is that unless you have had some failures in your experience, you haven’t truly learned enough lessons to be successful in the future.  This was certainly true in my electronics class.  I learned a lot more when my radio didn’t work.  The best electronics people are the ones who can figure out why things don’t work.

The other implication is that investors want you to learn on someone else’s nickel.

Regardless, you’ll never know everything in time to get started.  So go ahead and get started.  You’ll figure it out.