Computer Guy

Computer Guy
Sunset at DoubleM Systems (, Del Mar, California

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bootstrap: Primary Focus: Sales!

A bootstrapped startup is a multitude of constantly changing variables along the path to only one goal: profitability day by day. Without this focus on Sales, it is all too easy to be distracted by one of many other shiny objects that masquerade as Important.

This focus on Sales is necessitated by the decision to Bootstrap the startup as much as possible. The more you bootstrap your startup the less control you give up in the way of equity to investors and others, and the less money you will have when/if you Exit.

The bootstrapping CEO will focus on Sales every day, and will know whether the day's sales will be in the Green, Yellow, or Red.  Sales per day will be posted on a graph by day, week and month.  The CEO will always know the Sales figures.  Per day, week to date, and month to date.

Green: sales are above the Target Sales per day.
Yellow: sales are below Target and above Break Even
Red: sales are below Break Even

If Sales are in the Green zone, you will have the resources to work on other Priorities.

If Sales are in the Yellow zone, you must be working on your plan to get them to Green (hiring additional/replacement sales people, email campaigns, adwords, etc). Other non-sales activities may be done, but only as a second Priority.

If Sales are in the Red zone, all other activities cease and total focus must be put on Sales.

The CEO who gets this will greatly increase probability of success.

Monday, February 17, 2014

On Being a Leader

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams


If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Elevator Story

The Elevator Story

The Elevator Story is the elemental creation of the startup business.  It is foundational.  You must have an Elevator Story. It is intended to be a Habit, able to be told as a reflex, a Go To definition of the business.  It is the standard answer to the question "What do you do?" (and Why do you do it.) However, it is seldom delivered frequently enough to become a habit, and over time falls into disuse and is abandoned. The focused startup CEO will have a powerful Elevator Story for all occasions.

Pitch or Story?

Some call it an Elevator Pitch rather than an Elevator Story. I recommend Story. A pitch is what you hear from a used car salesman, or on late night TV commercials for a set of steak knives. Calling your story a pitch cheapens and demeans it in your thoughts. It lacks sincerity and integrity. A story is a sharing event.

The Magic of the Elevator Story

By design it is the finest distillation of everything you are all about, focused into the fewest and most powerful words, delivered with great impact and results.  By definition, delivering your Elevator Story is one of your greatest Opportunities in Life. Your shining moment.
A story that is crafted to be delivered verbally from one person to another, or a group of others, that describes the startup business.

The Spirituality of the Elevator Story

The Elevator Story is an Extraordinary Opportunity.
Sometimes the delivery of the Elevator Story will be a pre-planned event, such as at the beginning of a presentation before potential investors.  This setting allows for the maximum preparation and customizing the Elevator Story to the circumstances.  In the moments just prior to the start of the story, you should go to a Place of great personal Power.  Breathe.  Be grateful for the Opportunity. Start smiling.  Engage your Core Energy. Enthusiasm is contagious.

The Physicality of the Elevator Story

Breathe - to generate Energy, and Pause
Smile -  Human Interaction 101
Eye Contact -  Human Interaction 101
Tone - appropriate for the audience
Posture - project confidence
Gestures - hands, arms...
Pace - mirror the pace of the audience, moving to increase the Pace.

Pauses - the Pause gives Power to the previous, and creates attention to what comes next.
Energy - Enthusiasm is contagious.
The Surprise Gift - your card. The gift that keeps on giving.  Karma.
Duration - the shorter the better, less than 30 seconds. Add Chunks as the opportunity presents.

The Introduction

The first instants of the delivery are critical in getting attention.  Consider the framework: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

The Call To Action

The Elevator Story is a meaningless waste of time unless there is some Call to Action.  Examples of a Call to Action would be to ask the listener to contact you, or to check out your website, or order your book on

A basic tenet of Sales is to Assume The Sale, so it will be better to Assume the Call to Action. The Call to Action is an Invitation to join you in your Adventure.

Other Forms of the Elevator Story

Website - the home page, or "about" page
Video -  add great Leverage to the Power of the story
Key Team Members - customize the Elevator Story for each key team member (CTO, Biz Dev, etc)

Additional resources

What Great Salespeople Do: the power of Story

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Focus: Prevention of Random Events

Prevent Random Events. Distractions slow us down on our way to the goal. Shiny objects drain energy and consume bandwidth. Beware The Shiny Object. Prevent Random Events.

As CEO, your job is to Delegate, to create a Reality through the Actions of Others. Your focus must be clear. Your focus must be like a laser.

As CEO, you must come to your business as one who is working a plan rather than one who is wondering what's going to happen next, or grasping at straws, or reacting to Random Events.

You are either In Control, or Out of Control.

Choose.  Commit.  Act.  Learn.  Repeat.

I Am = My Business = Me

One of my favorite Emerson quotations:

An institution (business) is the lengthened shadow of one man.

There is one person in every business who sets the tone, the mission, the character of the business. Success or failure is in one person's hands.

If you want to know how well a business is really doing, look beyond their website and even their financial statements, beyond anything anyone tells you about the business.

Look to the person behind the business, the founder, the CEO who will attract team members with like character.  And together that team will grow, or destroy, the business.

When I take on a new Protege, I first evaluate the person's character, without regard to the business. Where there is a strong character, I can add value. Where the character is weak, I will keep looking.

For more practical advice on this matter, check this link: