Tag: Dr. Who

“You don’t normally get spiders in space.” – Dr. Who

Entrepreneurs have a way of observing what’s going on around them and making associations between things that seem ordinary on the surface and other things that may be related somehow.

One person noticed that more ordinary people were owning computers in their homes.  That same person noticed that advent of a new way to communicate called the Internet and it led to a question, “What if people could buy stuff on their computers using the internet?”

Amazon was born.

There’s nothing unusual about noticing spiders (which are cool creatures by the way), but noticing one in space means something.  What if…



“Good guys don’t have zombie creatures in the basement” – Dr. Who

Somewhere, sometime, someone figured out that if you want to appear on the cutting edge of hip, high energy, innovative startup leadership, you have to be a foul mouthed jerk.  In fact, jerkism seems to be celebrated in large events and a lot of media.  Perhaps it’s because Level 5 leaders are not the kind that get invited to speak at entrepreneurial conferences.  Perhaps jerks portray the type of take-no-prisoner personality some believe it takes to successfully launch and grow a company.

I paid for a webinar once.  It was branded as a great chance to meet the founder of a super successful social media startup.  The introductions were quick and soon it became a contest between the interviewer and the founder as to who could get in the most f-bombs.

No one likes to work for a jerk.  No ones want’s to be in business with a jerk.  No one really wants to invest in a jerk.

You can be determined, focused and to the point without thumping everyone’s nose with your arrogance.  Express yourself as you see fit but realize you won’t get there by yourself.  Eventually you will have more zombies than you can hide in your basement.


BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Anything could happen. For instance, a fez.” – Dr. Who

Customer Discovery can lead you to some unexpected destinations.  One of the companies we work with started life as a really high tech device to monitor radiation in research environments.  While they were trying to figure out how to build the device at scale, they determined there was not a good way to document technical specifications in a way that was easy to update.  So they created their own solution and found out the market need for their creation was huge compared to researchers monitoring radiation.  So they had a big pivot and became a software company.

When you focus on solving customer problems, anything could happen.

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“We’re always on the lookout for enormous boons” – Dr. Who

The GoPro action camera seems to have come out of nowhere.  But it didn’t.

Nick Woodman’s recent interview on Charlie Rose shed some light on the innovator’s process of discovery.  Mr. Woodman was on a surfing pilgrimage and wanted to capture his experiences first hand.  So he crafted a small camera and put it on a wrist band he could wear while on his surfboard.  Before long, other surfers wanted cameras and a company idea was born.  But it didn’t take off at that point.  Woodman went on to drive race cars and the same problem presented itself.  So he took his wrist camera and strapped it to the frame of the roll cage in the car.  Other drivers wanted one.

Stellar success comes from diligent hard work over time.  We tend to hear about it all at once when the media discovers a “new” idea but it usually takes years of slow but steady progress.


BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson



“But times change and so must I” – Dr. Who

Every now and then, Dr. Who regenerates.  That is, he completely changes into a new person with a new body.  It’s happened eleven times now.  Sometimes he’s older, sometimes he’s younger.  Each new Who get’s a new personality but his core being remains the same.  Sometimes he knows it’s coming and sometimes it catches him by surprise.  Each time he has to reinvent himself, and each time it’s a struggle at first.

Your markets don’t stay the same forever.  Sometimes the problem you solve goes away.  The market for buggy whips and saddles changed the day Henry Ford decided we all need cars in our driveway.  How many telegraph operators do you know?  My favorite product of all time, the iPod Classic, went away last week.  I bought the last one in town.  Listening to music is becoming something new.  Apparently we want to rent our music on the web.

When you are at the top of the S-curve, it’s time to look around and find another challenge.  Competition finds you and you become a commodity.

It’s better if you know it’s coming but come it will.


BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Talk very fast, hope something good happens, take the credit” – Dr. Who

For many, this sums up the art of the pitch.  But remember, Dr. Who has a world class group of writers behind the scenes and his witty phrases are the result of many takes and rehearsals.  Plus, he’s a pro.

Getting a great pitch together requires time, preparation, help and practice.  If you do the hard work behind the scenes, you’ll look great, sound great and pull it off with confidence and flair.


Blogging Gazelle is published deadly by Shawn Carson

“I do love a good toggle switch.” – Dr. Who

The two guitar amps I own both have a mechanical toggle switch that powers them up.  Perhaps there’s a good technical reason why these switches were chosen but if you consider the dozens of ways to turn a piece of electronics on, it seems odd that my amps still use mechanical toggles.

But I like them.

To turn on the device, you have to reach out, touch the switch, move it up and then look for the light to come on.  But there’s one more thing.  There is that solid firm sound of the “click”.  I just described an experience that involved three of my senses; sight touch and sound.

When developing new products, you would do well to involve as many senses as possible in the use of the product.  The more the customer can interact with your idea, the more the experience will leave an impression.

There are many examples. Harley Davidson sought legal protection for their classic rumble of the motorcycle engine.  Despite the improvements in automatic transmissions, sports car enthusiasts still prefer shifting gears manually.  Every Apple product I’ve owned not only looked good and sounded good, but they also felt good.  And that click sound you hear when you connect the power cord to the MacBook is not an accident.

Great user experiences may be hard to measure tangibly but they can make all the difference.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“It’s ok. But it sucks to hear it on the phone.” – Dr. Who

If you accept a position of responsibility you have to own it.

  • If you sell a product, you have customers
  • If you hire people, you have employees
  • If you raise venture capital, you have investors
  • If you make a profit, you have the Government

Even though starting your own company lets you be the boss, it does not mean you get to run away from responsibility.  In fact, it amplifies it.

There will be bad news.  You can’t hide it because it doesn’t go away.  The people you’re responsible for deserve to hear it from you; directly and in person.  It’s hard but it’s supposed to be.  Some will understand but many will not.  Bad news can be a shock and you’ll get the blame regardless.

Integrity isn’t defined by the good times.

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson