Whatever you can do, or dream you can, Begin it. Boldness has Genius, Power, and Magic in it. Begin it Now! (Goethe)

March 4, 2015

Shark Tank


I have watched enough episodes to avoid watching any more of it.

I avoid negativity, and Kevin is a bummer.  There is never a reason to put people down.


March 2, 2015

Warren Buffett's 6 Investment Criteria for Berkshire




From the Berkshire annual shareholders' letter, 2014:

Berkshire’s Six Investment Criteria
Berkshire makes a plea to hear directly from principals, as opposed to investment bankers, for new acquisitions. Berkshire mandates the following six criteria: 
1) $75mm of pre-tax earnings unless it is a bolt-on transaction; 
2) Demonstrated consistent earnings (no turnarounds or startups); 
3) A track record of a superior return on equity with little or no debt; 
4) Quality management; 
5) Simple businesses; and, 
6) A clear offering price (this needs to be stated upfront).
What is interesting to me is that nowhere in the criteria does it say what sort of products he is interested in. Could be anything! What is important to him is the business case. Period.

Another aspect of his acquisition strategy is that he prefers to pay Cash, not stock.  The value of cash depreciates over time, the value of his stock appreciates.


March 1, 2015

Startup Reading 3.1.15


Tapping the Power of Your Morning Routine - Jim Citrin, Yahoo Finance
How I Conquered my Inbox with the Trusted Trio - Bob Thordarson

The Daily Routines of Geniuses - Sarah Green, Harvard Business Review

Don't Manage with "What" without "Why" - Berkonomics

3 Lessons learned when developing with the Minimum Viable Product - Lean Startup Circle
10 Painfully Obvious Truths Everyone Forgets Too Soon - ExpandedConsciousness.com



If you think it's expensive to hire a professional,
wait until you hire an amateur!
Red Adair

Those who contribute to the company should own it,
and that ownership should be proportional to that contribution.
J. Robert Beyster, founder SAIC

Think in the morning, 
act in the noon, 
read in the evening, 
and sleep at night.
William Blake

Excess on occasion is exhilarating.
It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.
William Somerset Maugham


Being broke 
brings an incredible amount of discipline and focus.
Brian Chesky, AirBnB


What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is
in the end, of little consequence.
The only consequence is what we do.
John Ruskin


You will be the same person in five years as you are today,
except for the people you meet and the books you read.
Charlie "Tremendous" Jones


One should count each day a separate life.
Seneca


It has been my observation that most people get ahead
during the time that others waste.
Henry Ford


If money is your hope for independence you will never have it.
The only real security that a man will have in this world is
a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.
Henry Ford


Dedicate some of your life to others.
Your dedication will not be a sacrifice.
It will be an exhilarating experience because it is 
an intense effort applied toward a meaningful end.
Dr. Thomas Dooley


Disruptive? (Doonesbury)


February 27, 2015

The happy secret to better work



An excellent TED talk that upsets the generally accepted wisdom that states we will be happy someday when we are more successful.

Enjoy!

Click here for the video: The happy secret to better work


February 21, 2015

Startup Reading, 2.22.15



10 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Biggest Lessons Learned in the Journey - plash.in
Negotiating tactics - James Altucher, on Quora

Do You Tell Your Direct Reports HOW To Do a Job? - Berkonomics
An Addict's Guide to Overcoming the Distraction Habit - Zen Habits

The Daily Routines of Geniuses - Harvard Business Review



Talent hits a target no one else can hit; 
Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer


You were once wild here.
Don't let them tame you.
Isadora Duncan


A purpose is the eternal condition of success.
Theodore T. Munger


Success is the sum of small efforts
repeated day in and day out.
R. Collier

February 17, 2015

The Poster In Jony Ive's Office



There's an article in the New Yorker magazine about Jony Ive, Apple design chief).  It mentions a poster that hangs on his wall, and it's about design principles. Every sentence has one completely unnecessary F-bomb.  Here are those 25 principles, without the redundant verbiage:

Believe in your self.
Stay up all night.

Work outside of your habits.
Know when to speak up.

Collaborate.
Don't procrastinate.

Get over your self.
Keep learning.

Form follows function.
A computer is a Lite-Brite for bad ideas.

Find inspiration everywhere.
Network.

Educate your client.
Trust your gut.

Ask for help.
Make it sustainable.

Question everything.
Have a concept.

Learn to take some criticism.
Make me care.

Use spell check.
Do your research.

Sketch more ideas.
The problem contains the solution.

Think about all the possibilities.

February 15, 2015

Startup reading 2.15.15

When I have a little money, I buy books; if I have any left, I buy food and clothes. (Desiderius Erasmus)

A Dozen Things Learned from Cheryl Sandberg about Management and Business - Tren Griffin
You Are Watched More Closely Than You Think - Berkonomics

No Marketing Isn't As Impressive As You Think - Instagator.com
Hierarchy: Good Thing or Bad Thing - Results.com




Efficiency is doing things right; 
effectiveness is doing the right things.
Peter Drucker

What a man can be, he must be.
Maslow

A man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?

Robert Browning


People overestimate what they can do in a day 
and underestimate what they can do in their whole lives.
Anonymous


Business is like a man rowing a boat upstream.He has no choice; 
he must go ahead or he will go back.

Lewis E. Pierson

February 12, 2015

33 Productivity Tips

1.  Just start.  Starting a task makes it easier to finish; our brains are wired to complete tasks.
2.  Work in short bursts.  You can do more in less time, if you're focused and energized.
3.  Be unavailable during your peak performance hours, so you can use your energy for big projects.
4.  Quit whining.  You don't have to feel like doing something in order to do it.
5.  Forget Perfection.  Get things done.  If you aim for perfection, most tasks will never be completed.

6.  Increase productivity by 15% by taking 20-minute breaks in between 90-minute work sessions.
7.  Take a vacation.  For every 10 hours of vacation, performance improves by 8%.
8.  The best performers across many disciplines work in 90-minute sessions, no more than 4 hrs/day.
9.  Create a productive office space.  Warmth and natural light make us happier and more productive.
10.  Take a nap.  Recommended nap time varies from 10-30 minutes.  Pick a length that energizes you.

11.  Practice meditation.  Studies prove mindful meditation improves concentration and strengthens memory.
12.  Wake up earlier.  Studies suggest that many successful CEOs start their day before 6am.
13.  Go offline.  The Internet, social media, and email are all productivity killers.
14.  Make a to-do list.  It can give you the feeling of accomplishment you need to be more productive.

15.  Plan out your week in advance.  Adding some discipline in your routine will help prioritize what's important.
16.  Have someone keep you accountable.  The pressure may be enough to keep you firmly on track.
17.  Apply some enthusiasm to your task.  It's how Jerry Seinfeld maintains momentum and keeps up his energy.
18.  Finish your least favorite task first.  This will encourage you to get to the stuff you enjoy doing.
19.  If you can, take one day a week work from home. It can be a distraction-free place to work.

20.  Learn to say no. Creating a stricter daily schedule for yourself can help you eliminate distractions.
21.  Turn important tasks into habits. Habitual habitual routine will make The work feel comfortable.
22.  Delegate tasks when possible. Use the extra time to focus on larger goals.
23.  Break up your tasks into chunks, and then work until you've completed one chunk.
24.  Stopping what you're doing and get some sleep

25.  Reduce your to do list to two or three items. keep it simple and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
26.   make some time for wasting time. schedule your brakes so that they don't turn into lengthy procrastinations.
27.  Consider using off-line tools. A whiteboard, a large notepad, or a sheet of printed paper.
28.  Buy a real-life alarm clock to set reminders. The one on your phone will only tempt you into procrastination.
29.  If it's a task that will take five minutes or less tackle it now!

30.  Work where you feel most comfortable, but don't feel confined to one place.
31.  Work in 10 to 15 minutes increments using a timer for bursts of efficiency.
32.  Eat a big breakfast. it's proving to energize you and make you more productive throughout the day.
33.  Turn your to-do list into physical appointments and scheduled events to keep your checklist short.

source: ethos3.com





February 10, 2015

Begin1


With the arrival of my new license plate, I am drawn to the opportunity for low cost advertising, I just ordered a black custom license frame bracket with "BeginItNow.com" printed on the lower space between the screws. On the upper space, the single-word question: "Startup?" (SeaSweet Software is too long)

To compensate for the extra clutter, I should de-badge the rear end, removing the Audi rings and the S5,  darken the tail lights, and paint all black that completely superfluous silver air splitter. That would focus all attention on the message, not the medium.

February 8, 2015

My Why


Why SeaSweet Software? I have always advised entrepreneurs to consider this most important of all questions before they commit to a long term business adventure. See this video. Here's my answer, in 3 parts:

A. The Mission

Make a positive contribution in the world of business, the bigger the better. 
Create a system to improve the odds for success in business. 
To make it fun to be taking care of business.
Add one more successful bold adventure to my Legacy.

B. The Journey

They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.
Dorothy Parker

    I enjoy creating original software product ideas and building a successful growing business to design, code, sell, and support the software. I also enjoy recruiting and managing a team of highly talented, positive, focused people and helping them execute plans to achieve optimum results for everyone in the business adventure. It's important to have fun while working to achieve great goals. The hermit in me seeks solitude to do deep thinking, and my personal social needs are fulfilled by working with team members on common goals.


C. The Destination

A man's reach should exceed his grasp,
or what's a heaven for?
Robert Browning

     The rewards. Software products have the potential to quickly produce maximum financial rewards for minimum investment. The idea of using Leverage to create the optimum output from minimum input, is the ultimate fun mental challenge for me. If unicorns can be built, then let's build one! I feel strongly that all team members should share in the rewards of building a great business. 

As for personal rewards, I already live comfortably and debt free near the sea in Del Mar, California. Yet there are a couple of home improvements that are significant enough to get me out of my comfort zone to achieve them:

Home, for the last 12 years, is a small condo one-half block from the edge of a cliff, with good views of the Pacific. It's paid for, serene, and suited to my minimalist lifestyle, although there are a few things I am motivated to improve: 

1. To be one half block closer to the surf, with easier access to the beach for long walks. A detached home, a with a guest room, a small exercise pool, and a garage for a car or two, a pool table and a fireplace. I do miss the warmth of a fire...  Here's a photo of a home that would fill the requirements nicely:





2. A modest nest egg to provide security and comfort for the future for myself and family. 

3. Anything beyond that, I'd follow the example of Buffett and Gates, giving it to others who would do good with it.

My advice to entrepreneurs is to be specific about their goals, with dates and dollars, and
so I'll take my own advice. To achieve the first two personal goals, The Number would be in the middle 8 figures, after taxes, and that seems reasonable for the potential of the SeaSweet adventure. I'd enjoy it if other key team members were to earn even greater rewards, and that all team members share appropriately in the rewards of a job well done. The target date to achieve these two goals would be in the 3-7 year range.

Beyond the financial rewards, it would be a good goal to have the SeaSweet software system taught in introductory business classes, recognizing it as the first and best of a new breed of software for success in business. 

This answer will continue to evolve with more specifics and photos to more effectively communicate my Why.

Startup reading 2.8.15


How to set up a landing page to test a business idea - Medium
Where do most startups fail? - Quora

When should gut override data? - SpikeLab
Every Elon Musk Video - Tumbler


The unexpected common trait of 9 tech billionaires - Inc.
Free Guide to Usability Testing - Uxpin

How to manage highly productive virtual teams - Results.com



You can't change the way people think,
all you can do is give them a tool,
the use of which will change their thinking.
Buckminster Fuller


The time to relax is

when you don't have time for it.
Sidney J. Harris


Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.

Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
Marcus Aurelius


Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.

There are no exceptions to this rule.
Stephen King


We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.
Thomas A. Edison


No one has ever had an idea in a dress suit.
Sir Frederick G. Banting

January 31, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



SeaSweet Software

1.  Who is on the team?

2.  What is the product and the market?

3.  When can we see the product?

4.  Where is this happening?

5.  Why are you doing this?

6.  More FAQs - topics such as Goals, Priorities, Unique Advantage, Money, and more...



Got a question?  Contact me.


What is the product?

Frequently Asked Questions about the product

Q. What is the purpose of the product?
A.  A system that will greatly improve the odds of success in business, and make it easier, even fun.

Q.  Who is the intended user?
A.  The CEO and executive team members. These are the users who have the greatest leverage in the success of the business. Software for them to focus on a common experience in managing the business to achieve common goals.

Q. When can I see the software?
A: The business is in the Pre-Product (idea) stage. Major assumptions need to be validated and improved based on real world testing. It will be several months before a prototype could be available.These next few months will be committed to "getting out of the building", learning as much as possible about the marketplace, the customer, the competition.  Release date unspecified. Subscribe to the free SeaSweet newsletter to learn more as it happens.

Q.  Can you describe the software in general terms?  
A.  Try this: Imagine a software product that runs on PC, Mac, smartphone, tablet, and watch, empowering users to run any business more effectively. Imagine software that is fun to use. Imagine: fingertip control of a simple, proven system that makes it easy to do the right things, according to plans. Only a few minutes a day will build a successful business. It's a wonder why it took so long to do it.   :)  Business made easy.

Q. Tell me more...  
A.  Imagine a simple starter system, that grows as the business grows, a system that is customized and continuously improved for each business and user. The system learns from what users do vs. the success of the teams and the broader community of similar businesses. This learning from what users do even extends to the way they use the software, so that the more they use it, the better it gets.

Q. Feature list? 
A.  There's a long list of future features, but the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) will include a control panel and dashboard including Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) using red-yellow-green indicator lights to display instant identification of the status of priorities. Intra-team communications using integrated features native to the device and operating system. (Contact list, email, text, call, calendar, voicemail, etc).  The software system is structured around a dirt-simple 3-step repeating process, based on 10 principles to guide decision making. Other secret stuff, of course, but we don't want to spoil the fun of the surprise...

Q. What about support?
A.  Optional Premium support is available through a network of authorized local trainers who can work 1-1 to help businesses get started and get maximum value from continued use of the system. Online support available via video learning library, email, forum, and phone with real human beings who remember customers' special needs. 





When?

Q. When can I see the software?
A: Since the product is still in the idea/research stage. It will be several months before early wireframes would be available.These next few months will be committed to learning as much as possible about the marketplace, the customer, the competition.  Release date unspecified. Subscribe to the free SeaSweet newsletter to learn more as it happens.

Who is on the team?


Key Team Members:

Michael McCafferty, Founder/CEO
Carol Soria, assistant since 1986
Rand MulfordAdvisor - Strategy
Mitch RussoAdvisor - Sales and Marketing
Michael J. McCafferty, Advisor - Hosting and Cloud
Mark Kalina, MD, Medical Director
Alex WenzRecruiting
Akore Berliner, CPA, Accounting


More FAQs



Q.  What is the Goal?
A.  The goal is 4-fold:
1. To grow a most extraordinary software company,
creating and selling software essential to our customers' success in business.
2. To recruit a first class team to the adventure.
3. To share the financial rewards with all team members.
4. To enjoy the journey.

Q.  What are the barriers to entry?
A.  Time. We need to move more quickly than competitors with products our customers want.

Q.  How much money are you looking to raise?
A.  Zero, at this time.  My first responsibility is to maximize shareholder value, and in the early stages of a startup, that means minimizing the percentage of stock in other hands. Remembering Commandment #2: Travel Light. My job for the immediate future is to build value without needing to sell shares.

Q.  What help do you need right now?
A.  Do you know a successful CEO who will welcome the opportunity to participate in our software survey? Want to make the introduction? Thank you!

Q.  What are the Priorities, near term (90 - 180 days)?
A.  
1. Major Premise Validation.  Research the target customers and the software products they use. 3 months. Produce a report at the end that can be used as the basis for assumptions going forward.
2. Recruit technical talent to help build the product.
3. Business model.

Q.  What is your Unique Advantage?
A.  Experience. Serial entrepreneur with track record of several successful startups based on original software products and services. Experience as CEO/founder, co-founder. Experience designing and programming the initial products. Experience building sales forces to bootstrap growth. The unique aspect of my experience is the combination of many key skills:  creative, technical, entrepreneurial, sales and marketing and financial. I have the confidence I can do this because I have done it several times before.

Q.  What is your Unique Disadvantage?
A.  Experience. Some might say there's too much of it, or at least too many years of it. I do have a few more miles than many typical startup founders. That's the tradeoff: you want Experience, it comes with Age.



Startup Reading 2.1.15



Designing the Hiring Process - Medium
Notes on Self Awareness - Medium

The Illusion of Product / Market Fit - Brad Feld
The Best Way to Qualify a Lead - SalesLoft

The One Essential Habit - Vern Harnish
If Teams are so great, Why do we have so much trouble with them? - Medium

Apple, the Oil Company? - Medium


People who smile tend to manage, teach, and sell more effectively, 
and to raise happier children.
Dale Carnegie

Chance favors only a prepared mind.
Louis Pasteur

The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive.
The great opportunity is where you are.
John Burroughs

Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them,
and they flew...
Guillaume Apollinaire

The monotony and solitude of a quiet life
stimulates the creative mind.
Albert Einstein

Wit makes its own welcome, and levels all distinctions.
No dignity, no learning, no force of character
can make any stand against good wit.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

People choose the paths that grant them the greatest rewards
for the least amount of effort.
David Mike Shore

It's not the strongest who survive,
nor the most intelligent,
but the most adaptable to change!
Darwin

They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.
Dorothy Parker

Strive for excellence, not perfection.
H. Jackson Brown Jr.

I have never met a man so ignorant
that I couldn't learn something from him.
Galileo Galilei


Where?



January 24, 2015

Addiction: essential to startup success


a state characterized by compulsive 
engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.


It is an addiction to change, movement, action, continuous improvement. Relentless energy for growing, testing, learning.

Without this drive, it seems unlikely that great success will come.

This addiction grows to consume the founder(s), taking over other previously important aspects of life, including relationships, health, and other interests.

Do you seriously see yourself becoming so addicted? If not, then your success, if any, will be limited.

Humans are typically wired to relax after a certain level of comfort has been achieved. The addicted few are driven beyond this point.

Once addicted, few recover. They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.  (Dorothy Parker)

Do you seriously see yourself being so addicted for at least the next 3 to 7 years? 

Sobering thoughts as the first month of 2015 draws to a close.