Silicon Valley May 2016 Roundup

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

A roundup of events for May 2016 for Bootstrappers Breakfast

“Make every decision–whether to expand the business, raise money,
promote  someone–according to what’s best for your customers.” Derek Sivers

San Francisco Bootstrapper Breakfast Wed-May-4 at 9am at Specialty’s on 1 Post St.

Palo Alto Bootstrapper Breakfast Fri-May-6 at 7:30am at Hobees eMOBUS acquisition: how boostrappers close the deal. Featured  attendees: Moe Arnaiz, CEO of eMOBUS, and Mathieu Guilmineau, CTO of eMOBUS. They are going to share lessons learned bootstrapping eMOBUS through several evolutions in service model and technology infrastructure to a recent acquisition by Asentinel.

East Bay Bootstrapper Breakfast Tue-May-10 at 9am at Rockridge Cafe in Oakland

“Hindsight is 20/20, but only if you are looking back.” George Murray

Sunnyvale Bootstrapper Breakfast Tue-May 17 7:30am at Specialty’s  (New Venue) 605 Tasman Drive 94089, Sunnyvale, CA across from light rail station. Order at counter, we are at the big table in the back

Mountain View Bootstrappers Breakfast Fri-May-27 9am on 2nd floor of Red Rock Coffee two blocks from Mountain View Train Station. Please arrive early enough to order at the downstairs counter so that we start at 9am upstairs in the Nook area.

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 three recent talks:

We are fortunate to have CJ Lipe as our coordinator for South Bay Bootstrapper Breakfasts, she provides contract administrative support for startups and executives, she can be reached at 510-410-5285

Sean Murphy www.skmurphy.com 408-252-9676
See our March/April 2016 Newsletter on Lead Generation

Chad Leiker on Your First Commercial Lease

Chad S. Leiker is a Vice President at Kidder Mathews who dropped by our Mar-15-2016 Bootstrapper Breakfast in  Sunnyvale.  He joined Kidder Mathews in 2000 and and specializes in sales and leasing of office and R&D spaces throughout the Silicon Valley. I asked him if he would answer a few questions about how firms approach finding the right office space and signing their first lease and he was gracious enough to let me publish them on the blog Continue reading

Anne Cohen on Networking In Silicon Valley

Anne Cohen of Disability Health Access was our featured attendee at the Fri-Feb-26 Bootstrapper Breakfast in Mountain View, CA.  Here is our description from the event:

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 who has carved out a niche in a field dominated by large corporations and government agencies.  Ms. Cohen founded Disability Health Access, LLC, in 2005, advising healthcare organizations on how to improve services for seniors and people with disabilities. She not only develops dynamic solutions for her clients but builds a web of relationships that furthers the mission of her clients, related associates and sustains her own professional and personal needs.
Some topics she will cover

  • How to develop a specialization in your field can make you unique
  • How to create opportunities to help you make connections
  • How to keep in touch and stay connected to people you’ve met
  • How to stand out in a Valley of networkers
  • How to build relationships if remembering names is not your skill?
  • How to take a long-range view and not get caught up in short-term tricks.

It was a great talk and Anne left brought the following handout to help provide context for some of her key points:

Make a Friend to Build a Business: Networking for Life

When times are tough,
a client will leave you,
but a friend won’t.

Anne Cohen, MPH
Disability and Health Policy Consultant,
Disability Health Access, LLC

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? Listen to a speaker who has carved a space in her field dominated by large corporations and government agencies. Ms. Cohen founded Disability Health Access, LLC, in 2005, advising healthcare organizations on how to improve services for seniors and people with disabilities. She not only develops dynamic solutions for her clients but also builds a web of relationships that furthers the mission of her clients, related associates and sustains her own professional and personal needs.

How developing a specialization in your field can make you unique

  • Sets you apart from the sea of experts
  • Turns your knowledge into a product that people will seek out to buy
  • Makes you the center of a network of resources

Standing out in a town of networkers

  • Be seen – frequent presence makes you memorable, missed when your gone and seen as a member of the “Network Family”
  • Never dismiss someone as unimportant; each person is the most fascinating person in the room. But know how to exit and keep moving gracefully
  • What makes you unique a hobby, a skill or something you wear at events shoes, shirt, jewelry, glasses?
  • Be the friendly connector; help make connections at an event without expecting anything in return.
  • Be trustworthy and invest your time, for example offer to provide assistance in planning, hosting, or provide goodies for an event.
    FOLLOW THROUGH WITH ALL PROMISES.
  • Never ever ask for a favor from someone you just met

Sustaining the interest of your connections

  • Treat your contacts as if they are part of your family, or close friends
  • Check in when you haven’t see the person or offer knowledge resources
  • If you lost contact reach out to rekindle the relationship
  • Mutual share happy accomplishments (fun, family, fascinating projects)
  • If they show an interest provide opportunity to join in the fun
  • Provide empathy for their challenges and offer to help
  • You want to be the one people go to when they need something

Can’t Remember Names or Dropping the Ball on Name Dropping

  • In the age of hyper information most people (especially as they age) lose this skill
  • Admit this is not your strength most people are relieved because they aren’t good at it either
  • Blame it on late nights of coding and up with baby (provide humor to defuse the awkward situation)
  • Focus on remembering the face in a crowd and possibly where you meet the person. Most of the time they will acknowledge they recognize you but won’t remember your name and will be forced to ask.
  • Company names “Who can remember any of these strange names. We need a dictionary with information including current status.”

Opportunities to make connections

  • Casual contact networks (networking events or industry mixers and personal passions.)
    • Build relationships through shared interests.
    • When your network is diverse, you’re more likely to know “connectors,” or those who can put you in touch with people you never would have met otherwise.
  • Knowledge networks (professional associations)
  • Strong contact networks (groups that meet frequently specifically to build professional relationships, like Bootstrappers, Women 2.0, National Association of Women Business Owners, BNI, http://womenwhotech.com/resources
  • Online networks (professional social media services, such as LinkedIn)

Some Local Favorites

  • Coffee shops and known hot spot locations
    • Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View
    • Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto
  • Meetup Groups interest areas (Find your passions not just your career)
  • VLAB – VLAB is the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum, connecting entrepreneurs, industry experts, venture capitalists, private investors and technologists https://www.vlab.org/
  • Silicon Valley Leadership Groups Advocates on policy issues that support the goals of companies in Silicon Valley. http://svlg.org/
  • Computer History Museum Events http://www.computerhistory.org/events/upcoming/
  • Silicon Valley Business Journal Events Calendar http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/calendar

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