Category: Value Creation

“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.” – Billy Graham

We talk of vitamins and pain killers.  If you have an idea for a new messaging app to post your selfies, that’s great.  You should go create your tribe and lead them.

But if you could come up with a way to diagnose ebola before symptoms appear, you could change lives across the planet.

We don’t lack good ideas; there are plenty of problems to solve.  What we need is awareness of the problems and innovations to eliminate them.


BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“Customers buy products, not technology, science, or research findings.” – Guy Kawasaki

I work a lot with scientists and researchers.  They are very smart and work really hard following their passions.  They spend years proving their theories.  The end game is publishing the results which releases their discovery to the world. A brave few dare to ask the question, “Can we make this a business?”

I don’t have a job if these researchers don’t ask this question.  But as soon as they do, we have to have a deep discussion about value.  To the inventor, value is derived by their personal investment of time and treasure.  They have proven something new is possible and they invested in patents to protect it.  They have every right to believe that.  But the brutal reality is the value they created is validated only by them and their peers.  In order to have a business, you have to have a customer.  Once you file the paperwork with the state to open the business, it’s the customer who determines value.

It’s a harsh reality when investors pass on an investment in a technology that took years to develop.  It’s because they can’t see a pathway from the research to a profitable business.  In other words, it has no value.  It’s even worse to release a great product no one wants to buy because it’s too expensive or too complicated.  It has no value.

Value comes from solving a problem at a price a customer is willing to pay.


BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship…the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” – Peter Drucker

Wealth is an outcome, not a mission.  It is a result of the creation of value.  Money is one way to measure value but there are others.

The creation of value consumes resources.  Money is a resource but there are others.

Innovation creates value that did not exist before, which is a powerful tool of the entrepreneur.  But equally powerful, and necessary, is the ability of the entrepreneur to gather the necessary resources to bring that value into being.  These include money, people, partnerships, advisors, investors and early customers.  We call these validations.

If you measure anything at all, measure your validations.  They are the leading indicator for the Startup.  They lead to success in the business.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

My son is now an ‘entrepreneur’. That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job. – Ted Turner

Strange comment coming from an iconic entrepreneur…

Thankfully, we are living in the post industrial age when success is not tied to a lifelong career with a corporation.  But the cliche is true: “Along with freedom comes great responsibility.”  Entrepreneurs embrace the fact that their destiny is in their hands and not dependent on the prescribed rules of the corporate career ladder.

In the startup stage, your boss is not the shareholders.  Your boss is the customer.  This changes as you grow and take on investors and other stakeholders but a least in the early days, you have the singular focus of satisfying one group.  This is the stage where value is created.  Embrace it and work maniacally toward getting note customers.

As for Mr. Turner’s opinion, you’ll work harder than any job you ever had enriching someone else.

Blogging Gazelle is publish daily by Shawn Carson


“The economy isn’t broken. It’s different.” – Seth Godin

Times of changing cultures,  societies and economies are opportunities.  A whole new set of problems and needs that no one has thought of.  Problems that scream for solutions.

The music business has changed forever leaving musicians scrambling to figure out how to make a living.  New apps and services to assist them in this change are popping up.  Musicians now have to be entrepreneurs; learning how to be marketers and promoters and … well, business people.  The barriers to the audience are now obliterated. There are now numerous channels to distribute your music to your fans and the good thing is you can keep more of the money you make. The challenge is how to build the audience without the marketing and distribution channels of the record companies.  The cool thing is, you have the tools.

The same is true for a host of other businesses.  New challenges, new customers, new markets, new tools…

Those that try to hold on the the past will be left behind.  That’s why we need to embrace the change and relearn everything.

People still have problems and will pay for solutions.  Look around.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Entrepreneurship is NOT predictable.” – Rob Wiltbank

There are some great resources available now for Entrepreneurs:

  • “The Startup Owner’s Manual” by Steve Blank
  • “Business Model Generation” by Alex Osterwalder
  • “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

…and many others.

They all are based on one fundamental premise – All Startups are outliers.  They are a  new creation when they are formed.  Traditional business frameworks and management tools are all based on having data, which means having history.  If a Startup is brand new, with a brand new product, in perhaps a brand new market, how can it be predictable?

It is impossible for anyone to predict the success or failure of a new innovation.  That must mean the potential for success is infinite.  But so is the potential for failure.  Every time Apple releases a new product, there are those who predict their demise along with those who fInd miracles.  So what?

None of this matters to the entrepreneur.  It only matters to the hopeless masses standing on the sideline trying to gain attention by predicting the success of an outlier.

Go make meaning!

Rob WIltbank spoke at the 2013 SSTI Conference in Portland

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosbey


It’s interesting how often people predict the doom of Apple because of the iPhone.  Every version had quirks and bugs and yet we are on the 6th (?) version and Apple continues to set the standard.

Startups have plenty of “advisors” and critics.  The community is being overrun now with entrepreneurial service providers, accelerators, mentoring programs and the like.  Angels groups are growing and now we have crowd funding for investors.  All of these interests have their value in helping to shape entrepreneurs for success.

But there’s really only one measure…

Are your customers buying your product?

If the advice you’re getting does not point you to that, then it’s bad advice and a likely key to failure.