Computer Guy

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to start a startup: #11 - Hiring and Culture, Part 2

John Collison, and Patrick Collison, founders of Stripe, and
Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest,
are featured in this 11th lecture of How to Start a Startup, talking about Hiring and Culture, part 2.

Here's the link to the video:
And here's the link to the reading materials:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Startup CEO reading list 10.26.2014

A few of my favorites

Trevor Owens:
     How to Sell Companies - audio interview with Jonathan Siegel on his 4th exit.
     Jorge Soto interviews Michael McCafferty: Entrepreneur, Sales, CRM
     7 Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople (repost from
     Business Strategy lessons from fighter pilots - John Boyd was the best of the breed, and he was all business! His big contribution to both is his definition of the OODA loop:
Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

    What are 10 or fewer good habits that changed your life? - an excellent resource! Notice the same habits that are mentioned in many of the answers.

     The 7 financial KPIs that everyone needs to know

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to start a startup: #10 - Culture

Brian Chesky, Founder of Airbnb, and Alfred Lin, Former COO of Zappos and Partner at Sequoia Capital, talk Culture.

Here's the link to the video:
And here's the link to the reading materials:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to start a startup: #9 - How to raise money

Marc Andreessen, Founder of Andreessen Horowitz,
Ron Conway, Founder of SV Angel, and
Parker Conrad, Founder of Zenefits,
take Q&A on the topic of How to Raise Money, in lecture 9 of How to Start a Startup.

Here's the link to the video:
And here's the link to the reading materials:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pitch Deck Why

I see a lot of pitch decks. Most of them are awful. Seriously awful. The good news is that they can all be fixed.

What is fascinating to me is that the quality of the decks has not improved over time generally. How to create a pitch deck for startup investors is certainly a topic that is easily researched and documented on the web. There is no need to re-invent this even if you think you know better, or that your business is an exception. 

There are no exceptions. In that first presentation ("pitch"), you want to follow all the rules. If you want the soup, you gotta follow the soup-Nazi rules, or "No soup for you!"

Every once in a while I get the chance to review the elements of a good pitch deck with a friend. Recently, a very charismatic and successful entrepreneur who I have known for many years came to me with his new business pitch. In his long and storied career, this is the first time he is looking for investment. So he came to me for some advice and included 12 pages of typed documentation, no graphics. He said he figured I didn't want to read the entire 200 pages that he had, so he only sent me 12.

I thought that very considerate of him, and told him so in my reply which was essentially TL;DR.
Included in my reply were helpful links to resources that would give him the best advice on how to do a pitch deck for investors.

His next email had a pitch deck that was 29 slides long. Yikes! This guy is a friend, so I want to be gentle, so here's my reply to him. A lot of resources tell you WHAT to do but they don't explain WHY, so I thought I would do that in my reply and share it with you:

you are moving in the right direction.

cut out even more, and get it down to 10-12 slides.

here's the point:
the longer it takes to explain it,
the more complicated it sounds,
and the more complicated it sounds,
the more you lose them.

another reason it should be short
is because investors have to listen to lots of them,
and they don't want to waste any more time than necessary
on something that they know early on that they don't want to invest in.

they will know very early on, usually within about 2 minutes or less,
whether they are interested in YOU (first), and
your business (second),
and if they aren't, the rest of the 8 minutes of your 10 minute pitch...
well, that's just the investor being nice enough to continue 
to the point where he can cut you off and say that it's just not the kind of deal he does.

review that last email I sent you with the attachment about what should be in the slides
and the link that shows a video about an ideal presentation deck.

keep it short.
you can not get the money after 1 presentation.
the purpose of the presentation is to get them interested enough to take the next step.
what is the next step?
  usually, the next step is to want to know more.
  that's in another meeting, or with additional slides that you have with you, or that you have in reserve, but you do not want to present all the slides, tell all the story, in the initial presentation ("pitch").

pretend you are pitching them like you would some pretty girl who suddenly sits next to you at the bar.
you surely are not going to score on the spot, but you would like it to be as soon as possible.
if you take too much time getting out your story, she will lose interest and move on.
the next move will be up to her, so the best you can hope for is another meeting.

how are you coming with answering these questions that will be posed to you:
 these questions that angels will have are not answered:
     a. barriers to entry?  (competitors, now and future) patents?
     b. financial projections are unclear, need details
     c. do you have working prototype software, now, that you can demo?
     d. what % of the company does the 500k get them?

this whole process of entrepreneurs pitching to investors has progressed quickly over the past few years. it has reached the point now where the "best practices" are known and expected to be followed. the information on how to do these things is out there on the internet, and you are wise to research, know, and execute the process in the accepted ways, all in YOUR best interest so that you get what you want.

that's my best thinking so far.
i'm always enthusiastic about talking with you, 
so let's set up a phone call when you want.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How to start a startup: #8 - How to Get Started, Doing Things That Don't Scale, Press

Three different topics, 3 speakers:

Stanley Tang, Founder of Doordash, covers How to Get Started.
Walker Williams, Founder of Teespring, covers Doing things that Don't Scale.
Justin Kan, Founder of TwitchTV and Partner at Y Combinator, covers Press.

Here's the link to the video:
And here's the link to the reading materials:

Here's a new product idea: A quality rating for video talks, one of the features of which counts the number of times the speaker says "um, like, you know..." and other filler words that really detract from the overall quality.  (check the last speaker, and see if you agree)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to start a startup: #7 - How to Build Products Users Love (*****)

This is one of the best yet!
Watch this video with your programmers and customer support people.
Here's the link to the video:
And here's the link to the reading materials:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vision without execution is hallucination.

"Vision without execution is hallucination".   (Thomas Edison)

Quoted by Walter Isaacson, author of biographies of Steve Jobs, Franklin, Einstein.
Last night, on The Colbert Report.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to start a startup: #6 - Growth

Alex Schultz, VP of Growth, Facebook leads this class on how to grow your startup. Well done, excellent presentation.  

Here's the link to the video:
And here's the link to the reading materials:

Optimum startup CEO work week?

In search of the Optimum Startup CEO Week.  Each day of the week has a unique theme.  Following the outline will make sure the important things are addressed.  The startup week begins on Saturday, when the normal work week is over. The brain work takes place on the weekends, when it is not interrupted by real world events during the week.  The five days of the normal work week are all about Doing: taking Action, according to the plan.  How would you make this better?

Saturday: Think
     Emotion ignites startup creation. Reason takes chaos and optimizes the path from thought to reward. Objectivity is as essential as passion. Think big, start small. The first mistake is to think too little, the second is to think too much. 

Sunday: Plan
     Write your thoughts for clarity. Define the big Why, the strategy, and how to keep score.  Determine who does what, by when, for how much. Document checklists, key performance indicators. timelines and responsibilities.

Monday: Focus
     Limited resources require limited objectives. Prioritize. Concentrate on the top two. Deny shiny objects to give energy to essentials. Make management your competitive advantage. Delegate.

Tuesday: Recruit
     Share the dream to build a 5-star core team, top down: Board of Advisors first. Hire slow, fire fast. Reward superior performance. Always be recruiting.

Wednesday: Sell
     Cash is the lifeblood of the business. Sales solve all problems. Sell value to customers or sell equity to investors. Sell the mission to all. Create, maintain, improve and expand your selling systems.

Thursday: Build
     Expand methodically from a balanced business. Create systems for repeatable success. Create products based on customer feedback. "Do it, Document it, Delegate it." Build a strong body and peaceful mind to endure the journey.

Friday: Test
     Continuous improvement requires continuous experimentation. Feedback is the raw material to build your business. Everything is a prototype. Do good now, make it better later.

(Repeat.  Consistent rhythm creates predictable results.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How to start a startup: #5 - Competition is for losers (re: the joy of monopoly)

This is an excellent lesson in strategy from Peter Thiel, a true contrarian who has made excellent
investments in startups. First outside investor in facebook!

Here's the link to the video:
And here's the link to the reading materials:

All the time I'm watching Peter Thiel give his lesson to the Stanford class, I'm thinking how much he reminds me of Mark Zuckerberg and how their mannerisms are so Asbergerly similar. Thiel saw himself in Zuckerberg, he had to invest. These two are kindred spirits.

As smart as Peter Thiel is, there was no joy in his talk to this class. He was uncomfortable during the entire performance. But what he says is good stuff.

Friday, October 3, 2014

How to start a startup: #4 - Building Product, Talking to Users, and Growing

The 4th in the series "How to start a startup" class given at Stanford. These are not professional speakers; more importantly they are people who have actually done startups. These lessons are well earned.

Here's the link to the video:
And here's the link to the reading materials:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tell your Story

After a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories.

Only 5% remember statistics.

Tell your story!

And, while we are on the subject of Story, get this book and sell lots more.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Contact Michael McCafferty

Call/text:  858.342.6949



424 Stratford Ct. A34
Del Mar, CA  92014

Your Team Library

Your Team Library is a system for communication. The primary job of the CEO is to communicate. Not just the goals of the business, but also how the organization is to work.

The most effective, and efficient, way to do this is with a "Team Library" that contains books, audios, and links to online resources that are usually created by outside experts on the most important aspects of the company's culture and operations.

Some of these volumes are to be consumed by everyone in the organization. Others are for just the members of a particular department, such as Sales or Customer Service. It should be determined by each business those volumes that are to be consumed prior to employment, and after, and even how many times per year these resources are to be reviewed. Repetition is important.

The purpose is to have everyone in the organization be crystal clear when it comes to the basic philosophies of the company, the corporate culture, the goals, and what is required for continued participation in the adventure.

Below is an example of a typical Team Library. Yours will be different. Let us know of your success with these resources, and others that you like.

The Startup Library

Personal Goals, Priorities

First Things First by Stephen R. Covey

Business Thinking

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber

Sales, individual

What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story by Michael Bosworth

Sales, as a system

The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies by Chet Holmes

Business Process Documentation

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Product Development

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Expanded Team Library

Personal Goal Setting

First Things First by Stephen R. Covey
The On-Purpose Person: Making Your Life Make Sense by Kevin McCarthy
Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design by Laurence G. Boldt

Business Philosophy

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
The Law of Success In Sixteen Lessons by Napoleon Hill by Napoleon Hill
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) by Robert B. Cialdini
The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg


High Output Management by Andy Grove
The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn't Work - and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber


Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas by Richard Bayan
What You Say Is What You Get : How to Master Power Talking, the Language of Success by George Walther
Write to the Point! by Fruehling and Oldham
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.


The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market by Treacy & Wiersema
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! by Ries & Trout
Ogilvy on Advertising by Ogilvy, of course :)


The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies by Chet Holmes
SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
Sandler Success Principles : 11 Insights that will change the way you Think and Sell by Mattson and Seidman
The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World's Best Companies by Miller & Heiman


Deal-Breakers & Break-Throughs by John Ilich
You Can Negotiate Anything: The World's Best Negotiator Tells You How To Get What You Want by Herb Cohen,

Customer Service

The Only Thing That Matters: Bringing the Power of the Customer into the Center of Your Business by Karl Albrecht


Phone Power: How to Make the Telephone Your Most Profitable Business Tool by George Walther


The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Research and Development

Developing Products in Half the Time: New Rules, New Tools, 2nd Edition by Smith and Reinertsen