This is a list of books currently on my To Read shelf... literally. I do not suggest or anti-suggest any of them at this time as I haven't read them yet.
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A couple weeks ago, I wrote "Capturing that Idea" and covered what it takes to capture that idea. It was pretty basic, just a glorified way of saying "write it down!" But then I realized I left out the next step...
How do I clarify my idea?
In the past 3-4 years, I rarely go a week without getting pitched on a "great new idea". The person is passionate, has talked to a bunch of their friends, and is ready to launch a company. Without being completely rude to the friends, family, and random people* who I've spoken with... no, no, and NO. Most likely you are not ready.
I would also disagree that you need a full business plan yet. Before you go any further or pitch anyone else on your idea or even buy a domain name, try this:
In the past few years, I've had the opportunity to review resumes from job candidates, friends, family, and random ones that I find online. Some have been great, some have been good, but the vast majority are boring, worthless crap. Considering the current economic times, I thought I should share some tips.
Disclosure: I didn't come up with these myself. I went to a fantastic undergraduate school - Rose-Hulman - where the Career Services team hammered us on most of them. From there, I've gotten more creative and added a few of my own.
First off, use the spell checker. Spelling mistaces macke yuo look liek a maroon.
Each year as I'm reviewing and closing out books, notes, and documentation for the year, I take the opportunity to make some comparisons. Overall, it's been a momentous year personally, professionally, and industry-wide.
As always, I have some hard metrics to back each of these up, but here's the summary:
In reading Peter Kim's post on "Social Media Predictions 2009", it was interesting to read some similar points to things I said here almost two weeks ago. It means either I'm reading things correctly or the Social Media guys are making the same mistakes that I'm making in my analysis.
After all of that, I realized that there's still a fundamental disconnect in what companies think and how reality works...
I've worked with numerous companies on their [choose one: blogging, Twitter, social media, Facebook, etc] strategy. Many of them still believe that [choice from above] is supposed to be used predominantly to share press releases. More interestingly, the effort is led by the marketing team with oversight from the legal department.
First of all, you don't get [choice from above] entries. You get "content" or "copy". You get things that have been scrubbed through marketing and legal and offer nothing of value to the outside world.
Any and all discussion and information in this post should be taken as professional commentary and analysis for a US-based audience, not legal advice. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. When in doubt, talk to an attorney. When not in doubt, talk to an attorney. Either way, do some research first and have intelligent questions for them. It will save you time, money, and stress.
Every so often in my professional life, I get a Non-compete Agreement across my desk. The vast majority of them are along the lines of "you can't solicit our customers, we can't solicit yours for N months/years". A few are along the lines of "any inside information learned from us cannot be used for anything other than what we authorize".
I find both of these to be reasonable and normally sign them with little - if any - hesitancy.
In the past ten years, I've been involved with a number of startups in roles ranging from Jr developer following a few smart people to CTO when suddenly I'm expected to be the smart person. In addition, I've passed on more "opportunites" than I can count.
To be fair, some opportunities are amazing. They've been put together by sharp people with deep domain understanding and powerful industry contacts. Coming from the right person, these cause me to stop and ponder. Coming from the wrong person, they don't distinguish themselves until much later.
On the flip side, you have... well, you have these people: