Silicon Valley January 2016 Event Roundup

BB Channels: @bootstrappers | LinkedIn Group | Blog | Meetups: SV | SF | East Bay

A roundup of events for January 2016 for Bootstrappers Breakfast

“We’re already being studied by the future.” George Murray

San Francisco Bootstrapper Breakfast Wed-Jan-6 at 9am at Specialty’s on Post St.

Palo Alto Bootstrapper Breakfast Fri-Jan-8 at 7:30am at Hobees
Featured Attendee: Dr. Alastair Hood, PhD CEO of Verdafero A frequent attendee at the Palo Alto breakfast, Dr. Hood will talk about lessons learned bootstrapping Verdafero.

East Bay Bootstrapper Breakfast Tue-Jan-12 at 9am at Rockridge Cafe in Oakland

“Without the resolve to act, reflection and research are only entertainments.”
Beston Jack Abrams

2016 Business Planning for Consultants Thu-Jan-14 at 6pm at Roundtable in Sunnyvale
Sean Murphy of SKMurphy, Inc. will facilitate a peer-to-peer discussion with other experienced PATCA consultants that will help you to look back at 2015 to gather lessons learned and apply them to you plans for 2016. Bring your 2016 plans–and 2015 lessons learned–and let’s get a jump-start on 2016. Cost is $10 includes pizza and drink.

“The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.”
Lynda Barry

SKMurphy Mastermind: Revenue Growth Planning For Your Business in 2016
9:30am Sat-Jan-16 Pacific Business Centers 1250 Oakmead, Suite 210, Sunnyvale, CA
Join us for the upcoming Open House. Bring your 2016 plans–and 2015 lessons learned–and let’s get a jump-start on 2016. This meetup will be most useful for entrepreneurs in technology or expertise enabled businesses.

Sunnyvale Bootstrapper Breakfast Tue-Jan-19 7:30am at Faz (New Venue)
Coco’s closed so this month is at Faz at 1108 North Mathilda Ave. Featured Attendee: George Thomas, CEO of Action Printer Repair A regular attendee, George has offered some share some lessons learned bootstrapping his business, or as he says “some things I did that worked out pretty well and some others that were mistakes.”

Mountain View Bootstrappers Breakfast Fri-Jan-22 9am on 2nd floor of Red Rock Coffee two blocks from Mountain View Train Station.

A heads up for a very interesting breakfast in February

Mountain View Bootstrappers Breakfast Fri-Feb-26 9am at Red Rock Coffee
Featured Attendee: Anne Cohen of Disability Health Access In a valley of innovators, where contacts are a commodity, how do you weave a network that doesn’t just launch your next company but builds a foundation for sustaining your future? Anne Cohen will explain how she carved out a niche in a field dominated by large corporations and government agencies.

Looking for entrepreneurs to share lessons learned: If you know someone who would be a good featured attendee for 2016 we are looking for folks willing to share lessons learned from their entrepreneurial journey. Here are summaries of two recent talks:

Sean Murphy www.skmurphy.com 408-252-9676
See our November 2015 Newsletter on Referrals

Money Saving Tips 2015

money saving tipsRecently, we had an interesting Bootstrappers Breakfast about money saving tips and expense tracking.  Tri Hoang, President at Alpha B Group, kicked off the discussion by sharing her “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned:Expense Tracking Resources“.  A couple of key resources she sees used by many of her clients are:

Others resources around the table shared

Other money saving tips

  • Buying laytops on ebay
  • Review software subscription a couple of times a year
  • Kakak and booking.com for travel savings
  • Usually the best time to book is 6 week out for flights. Flights get more expensive as it gets closer to the date. Hotels are opposite, they become cheaper if demand is low.

Here is the handout from Tri’s briefing:

Expense Tracking – Alpha BExpense Tracking - Alpha B

Silicon Valley End of 2015 Event Wrap Up

Community Channels: @bootstrappers | LinkedIn Group | Blog | Meetups: SV | SF | East Bay

Warning: The End (of 2015) is Near

A roundup of events through the end of 2015 for Bootstrappers Breakfast

Thanksgiving Potluck Thu-Nov-26 2pm in San Jose: Don’t have family to visit on Thanksgiving? Join us for Thanksgiving dinner. Bring drinks or your favorite dish to share. We are supplying the turkey and some sides. Please RSVP if you plan to attend so we can get a final headcount. Plan on dropping by around 2pm.

San Francisco Bootstrapper Breakfast Wed-Dec-2 at 9am at Specialty’s on Post St.

Palo Alto Bootstrapper Breakfast Fri-Dec-4 at 7:30am at Hobees

East Bay Bootstrapper Breakfast Tue-Dec-8 at 9am at Rockridge Cafe in Oakland

Sunnyvale Bootstrapper Breakfast Tue-Dec-15 7:30am at Cocos.

Mountain View Bootstrappers Breakfast Fri-Dec-18 9am on 2nd floor of Red Rock Coffee two blocks from Mountain View Train Station. Note we are meeting a week early due to Christmas.

Special End of Year Breakfast in Sunnyvale Tue-Dec-29 9:00am at Cocos

“An optimist stays up to see the New Year in,
A pessimist stays up to make sure the old one leaves.”
Bill Vaughan

“Future: That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.” Ambrose Bierce “The Devil’s Dictionary”

San Francisco Bootstrapper Breakfast Wed-Jan-6 at 9am at Specialty’s on Post St.

Palo Alto Bootstrapper Breakfast is Fri-Jan-8 at Hobbees (slipped a week to avoid New Years)

Looking for 2016 speakers: If you know someone who would be a good speaker for 2016 we are looking for folks willing to share lessons learned from their entrepreneurial journey.

“You know you are in your element when you don’t know who will next walk through the door but you’re confident that whoever it is will be just fine.” George Murray

After 9 years of Bootstrapper Breakfasts I feel this way before the start of a new one. As the Shoveller would say, “We’ve got a blind date with destiny.”

Sean Murphy www.skmurphy.com 408-252-9676
See our October 2015 Newsletter on Customer Interviews

Handout From “Expense Tracking” Sunnyvale Nov-17-2015

At the Sunnyvale Bootstrapper Breakfast on Tue-Nov-17 we had a briefing on “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned: Bring Your Money Saving Tips

We will have a roundtable discussion about money saving tips and tips for tracking business expenses. Tri Hoang, a business owner for over ten years, is our featured guest attendee. She does accounting for her clients, design & marketing for her own firm (Alpha B Group), and is a manager of a small and dedicated team of bookkeepers. Tri will present an overview of different programs used to track expenses, software apps such as QuickBooks, Xero, Expensify, and more!

Here is the one page handout:

Expense Tracking – Alpha BExpense Tracking - Alpha B

A summary of the roundtable discussion is posted in “Money Saving Tips 2015

Silicon Valley November 2015 Event Roundup

Community Channels: Yahoo Group | @bootstrappers | LinkedIn Group | Blog | SV-Meetup | SF-Meetup

Warning End of Year Dates in Calendar May Be Closer Than They Appear

A roundup of events in the last two months of 2015 for Bootstrappers

Providing Fixed Price Consulting Thu-Nov-12 6pm Sunnyvale A briefing by Carl Angotti–a frequent Bootstrapper Breakfast attendee–on how to offer fixed price services, a strategy often used by bootstrappers to bridge from pure consulting to offering a product.

Sunnyvale Bootstrapper Breakfast Tue-Nov-17 7:30am at Cocos: “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned: Bring Your Money Saving Tips” We will have a roundtable discussion about money saving tips and tips for tracking business expenses. Tri Hoang, a business owner for over ten years, is our featured guest attendee. She does accounting for her clients, design & marketing for her own firm (Alpha B Group), and is a manager of a small and dedicated team of bookkeepers. Tri will present an overview of different programs used to track expenses, software apps such as QuickBooks, Xero, Expensify, and more!

Bootstrapping a Business Wed-Nov-18 5:30pm in Concord a briefing by Sean Murphy at Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership

Thanksgiving Potluck Thu-Nov-26 2pm in San Jose: Don’t have family to visit on Thanksgiving? Join us for Thanksgiving dinner. Bring drinks or your favorite dish to share. We are supplying the turkey and some sides and are looking forward to our Second Annual Bootstrapper Thanksgiving, Please RSVP if you plan to attend and let us know what you plan to bring so we can get a final headcount. Plan on dropping by around 2pm.

Palo Alto Bootstrapper Breakfast Fri-Dec-4 at 7:30am at Hobees

Sunnyvale Bootstrapper Breakfast Tue-Dec-15 7:30am at Cocos.

Mountain View Bootstrappers Breakfast Fri-Dec-18 9am on 2nd floor of Red Rock Coffee two blocks from Mountain View Train Station. Note we are meeting a week early due to Christmas.

Looking for 2016 speakers: If you know someone who would be a good speaker for 2016 we are looking for folks willing to share lessons learned from their entrepreneurial journey.

“Founders take out the trash. There are easier ways to be happy.”
Adeo Ressi in his StartupFest 2015 keynote

This was an excerpt I selected for additional commentary in “Adeo Ressi: Don’t Lose Your Purpose In A Pivot” I observed, “Leadership as service is not a common theme in Silicon Valley, or at least a reality recognized by many Silicon Valley CEO’s. In the early going you have to sweat the details with your co-founders, then you have to learn how to let go and help the team you have hired do a better job than you could.”

SKMurphy Newsletter: we launched a newsletter this year, you can see our October issue and sign up at October 2015 Newsletter Focus on Customer Interviews

Sean Murphy www.skmurphy.com 408-252-9676

Recap from Palo Alto June 5, 2015

We had a great conversation in Palo Alto this morning in the back room at Hobees. Here are some notes I took.

We talked about the work/work balance that bootstrappers need to manage: working a day job to stay solvent and working mornings, lunchtime, nights and weekends to prospect and do product development for your new startup. In particular, California law provides for an exception to invention assignment that any product or invention developed solely on your own time with your own materials is your property.

The need to focus for effect when you are attacking an established market

We talked about the need for early revenue to keep co-founders motivated, 90 days is a long time to go without revenue; see also “Finding a Co-Founder, 3 Months is a Long Time Without Revenue.”

Normally bootstrappers sell what they have, typically starting with services or an information product and then doing a system integration of existing tools and some custom additions before building a complete product. Tools like Slack, IFTT, and WapWolf make it easier to glue applications together and content management platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal offer a jumpstart for collaboration around content.

You have to name a price and ask for payment, many people who tell you they will pay when the full product is “ready” often do not pay when actually confronted with the opportunity. For many new products the bulk is the risk is related to determining the price, the message, and the attributes of a real prospect.

Books we discussed

Pete Tormey: When To Apply For a Patent

This is a guest blog by Pete Tormey, one of the moderators for our San Francisco and East Bay Bootstrappers Breakfasts. Pete is serial entrepreneur and a patent attorney, his firm is Antero Tormey. Pete is also the author of “Startup Guide to Intellectual Property: Early Stage Protection of IP.” It’s a great primer written in a clear conversational style that is practical and to the point. It answers the the basic intellectual property questions for startup founders. Continue reading

Seffi Kaminitz Advice to Startups

Seffi Kaminitz, Esq. is the founding partner at Kaminitz Law and has also written a number of blog posts intended to provide guidance to technology entrepreneurs, which can be found at www.founderset.com/blog.­  He spoke at our Friday October 24 Bootstrapper Breakfast in Mountain View and graciously provided this summary of his remarks on the key elements in negotiating licensing contracts for startups.

Negotiating Licensing Contracts

I. USE A CORPORATION

  1. When to Incorporate
    1. It is best to incorporate before starting any transaction, in order to protect your personal liability. Incorporation is often a fast process. Make sure to keep your personal and business assets separate to protect your liability.
    2. After sending the documents, incorporation in Delaware is processed quickly (48 hours) and in CA slightly slower (a week or two).
  2. Where to incorporate
    1. Delaware is the industry standard and has the best corporate infrastructure. You will have to pay a DE finance tax. DE is recommended for companies anticipating large growth, VC financing, or acquisitions.
    2. If you run your business in CA, regardless of where you incorporate, you will be subject to CA taxes. If you plan If you plan to stay smaller and more within CA, CA incorporation is a good option.

II. TERMINATION

  1. Convenience
    1. Often the other party will include in a contract that they may terminate for convenience at any time with no liability or penalty.
    2. If you have given them pricing based on a committed term, you must make sure to change this language so that they are locked in for pricing for the full term and are locked for the entire contract term. Otherwise, they can walk away despite the discount they received.

III. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OWNERSHIP

  1. Importance:
    1. IP Ownership is extremely important, and one of the few clauses that can kill a new business if executed incorrectly.
    2. If you “sell” them your base IP when you only intended to license it to them, they can claim ownership based on the contract and you will lose your product.
  2. Business Argument:
    1. When a customer pays for customizations, they sometime expect to have ownership in the deliverables; If the other party argues that they are paying for this IP, remind them that they are paying a much lower cost than they would pay to receive the IP exclusively.
    2. If you are dealing with a difficult party, you can offer limited time exclusivity (6 months or a year) or contract not to deal with their competitors for a limited time.

IV. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY (LOL)

  1. Purpose: The purpose of an LoL is to limit the liability of your company to a certain amount in case of a breach of contract.
  2. Parts:
    1. Base Cap: The base cap is the general cap, which is usually fees paid, or x2, x3 fees paid, as negotiated.
    2. Carve-outs: The other party will seek to carve out some items from your base cap, leaving these with unlimited liability. These usually include: Fraud, willful misconduct, gross negligence, infringement on a 3rd party’s IP, breach of confidentiality and breach of security. Instead of leaving these items unlimited, push back with a new cap just for those items that is higher than your base cap.
    3. Example: “IN NO EVENT SHALL OUR AGGREGATE LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT OR UNDER ANY OTHER THEORY OF LIABILITY, EXCEED THE TOTAL FEES PAID TO US BY YOU FOR USE OF THE SERVICES DURING THE PRECEDING TWELVE MONTH PERIOD, [? base cap] PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT WITH RESPECT TO (i) AN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INFRINGMENT CLAIM AGAINST OUR SERVICES, OR (ii) OUR BREACH OF OUR CONFIDENTIALITY OBLIGATIONS HEREUNDER, OUR TOTAL LIABILITY TO YOU WOULD BE LIMITED TO THREE MILLION US DOLLARS (US $3,000,000) [? higher cap for carve-outs].

V. ASSIGNMENT

  1. Assignment will usually state that you cannot assign the agreement without the other party’s consent.
  2. Since you may wish to sell your startup, you must carve out this possibility from assignment. Otherwise, you will have to gain the consent of every person you contract with before you can sell.
  3. Example clause: “Notwithstanding the foregoing, either party may assign this Agreement in its entirety, without consent of the other party, to its Affiliate or in connection with a merger, acquisition, corporate reorganization, or sale of all or substantially all of its assets.”

 

About Seffi Kaminitz
Seffi has been representing technology companies and investors in a wide range of corporate and commercial matters over more than fifteen years. Working closely with serial entrepreneurs and investors for many years, both at a large law firm and as in house counsel at a VC firm, Seffi has developed a unique perspective on strategic business matters that mixes a unique legal perspective, business considerations, and technology. Before founding Kaminitz Law, Seffi was a senior member at a large law firm where Seffi had the opportunity to lead many transactions, including complex technology licensing deals, Venture Capital financing, and M&A transactions, representing companies such as AOL and Motorola and negotiating transactions with major VC funds such as Sequoia Capital.  Seffi is admitted to practice in the State of California, the State of New York. Seffi is also admitted to practice in Israel; LL.M graduate of the University of Pennsylvania; LL.B College of Management Academic Studies in Israel.