Category Archive: entrepreneurship

Working for Free as Promotion

Could working for free be one of the best promotional tools available to an individual or SME?

37signals believes so, saying that their 37Better Project was “one of the best promotional things [they] ever did”. To illustrate their point they also take a look at R.BIRD’s excellent consumer packaging patterns, stating:

If you’re looking to hire a brand design firm, wouldn’t you want to consider a company that likes this stuff enough to do it for free?

And doesn’t this apply to much more than just design (I’m thinking of open source projects, etc.)?

Ben Casnocha goes one further, saying that if you’re looking for work why not reach out and offer to work for free with an idol/hero?

What Should I Do With My Life?

In a follow-up to his previous article on the same subject, Po Bonson asks, ‘What should I do with my life, now?’

Don’t tell me you don’t know what you want from your life. Don’t ever say that, don’t ever fool yourself into that stupor. Of course you know what you want — you know the feeling you desire — fulfillment, connection, responsibility, and some excitement. The real problem is figuring out how to get it — how to find a path that doesn’t suffocate those natural feelings in you. Which is hard. Of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it weren’t hard, you wouldn’t learn anything along the way, and thus you would never get there. If you don’t know how to make the best of a bad situation, you will never get there. If you are not willing to put up with some shit work, you will never recognize that a good opportunity is staring you in the face. If you are not willing to be humble and repeatedly be a beginner in new areas and learn the details faster than the next guy, you are not capable of transformation.

via Link Banana

Overnight Success Takes Years

Paul Buchheit—original developer of Gmail and Google AdSense, founder of FriendFeed—discusses how projects can obtain ‘overnight success’.

This notion of overnight success is very misleading, and rather harmful. If you’re starting something new, expect a long journey. That’s no excuse to move slow though. To the contrary, you must move very fast, otherwise you will never arrive, because it’s a long journey! This is also why it’s important to be frugal — you don’t want to starve to death half the way up the mountain.

He has also written another excellent post on a number of important development aspects he learnt while writing Gmail.

via Coding Horror (itself, an excellent post)

Work on Stuff that Matters

Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, implores business owners (and everyone else) not to follow the money, but to ‘work on stuff that matters’ by following these three principles:

  1. Work on something that matters to you more than money
  2. Create more value than you capture
  3. Take the long view

I want to make clear that ‘work on stuff that matters’ does not mean focusing on non-profit work, causes, or any other form of ‘do-goodism.’ Non-profit projects often do matter a great deal, and people with tech skills can make important contributions, but it’s essential to get beyond that narrow box. I’m a strong believer in the social value of business done right. We need to build an economy in which the important things are paid for in self-sustaining ways rather than as charities to be funded out of the goodness of our hearts.

via Kottke

Executing Your Idea

Serial entrepreneur Alex Mann implores us to take action, in this series of posts on executing your business idea:

  1. Be An Executioner
  2. Who’s Your Market
  3. Building Your Team
  4. Gaining Momentum
  5. Develop Your Moat

As Alex reiterates in Gaining Momentum, this advice that originally appeared in the comments section of the introduction (written by friend and millionaire entrepreneur Derek Sivers) is important, if not imperative:

MAKE it, even if you don’t have the massive programming-skill available, then make a super lo-fi or no-fi version and just get started with a couple friends and volunteers.

It’s SO much more impressive to hear someone say, “There’s this thing that I’ve started doing that a lot of people seem to like.”