Saturday, July 08, 2017

Tampa firm FOUND a rock star coder tired of making others wealthy

UPDATE:  I have found my rock star.  The moral of the story for you founders out there that are looking for someone to own the product side of your vision is to stay firm on finding precisely what you are looking for.  As I now read the blog below, I can't believe that it describes EXACTLY the person that is my new VP of Design and Development.  

Stay tuned for more information about my new venture.  I can't wait to introduce you to him.  


I just got back from spending two days at Tampa Bay Startup Week.  I was encouraged by what I heard about the startup ecosystem.

There is still a missing link to the ecosystem though, a true matchmaker of co-founders.  Yes, I've spent time on Founder Dating, I've been to Million Cups (and even presented) and I have talked to everyone that I know locally to let them know what I need.

But here I am, still in search of someone amazing to partner with me in a journey to turn the travel industry on its head.

Make no mistake, I won't give up until I find the right person.

I am a "special snowflake" and as you read this, you know exactly what that means and want to know what I'm up to and want to get in on the game.

I have already funded this company to the launch of a minimum viable product.  We have been in production for over a year and are on our 3rd version of the product.  In fact, we are just releasing a self-service portal.

I need a tech partner to own the product for the rest of the ride.

In the dictionary, the word DETERMINED has your picture next to it.  You:
  • Hate the status quo as much as I do
  • Were programming as a child before it was fashionable
  • Can't believe that people have been putting up with hotel searches near city centers and airports for multiple decades versus getting where they are really going
  • Are an incredibly talented architect and developer yet humble with a giving heart - you really mean it when you say that you want to leave a legacy
  • Are able to leap tall challenges in a single bound
  • Are in a position to take the biggest but most sure risk of your life
  • You want and need and are driven by innovation and differentiation
  • Have never met an API that you couldn't conquer
  • Vision that has a 40k foot orientation, but able to create a practical and powerful architecture to get the job done
  • Have always dreamed of living in a place with palm trees and sand
  • Want to have a meaningful piece of the company that you help build. but appreciate that you aren't starting from a blank sheet of paper or having to come up with the "idea"
  • Ability to attract other talented people that share your vision and believe in your talent and leadership
  • Can make other people laugh at will and having fun at work is a top priority
We've been around as a company since 1996 and this is our 10th startup venture in 20 years.  We:
  • Are based in Tampa, Florida and enjoy 330 days of sunshine each year
  • Are a part of an industry leading advisory firm that was founded 20 years ago and has serviced many companies that you have heard of and admired
  • Have already pivoted multiple times based on real world learning about client needs and business model
  • Embrace the Startup Owners Manual and Slicing Pie for equity 
  • Want to change the world, one trip at the time and our business model makes that happen in a measurable way
  • Are committed to innovation and put our money where our mouth is
  • Have already launched minimum viable product and are monetizing that now
  • Have just signed 3 new client contracts that will drive repeatable, transactional revenues
  • Has already designed the next phase of the product, but are just waiting for your input on our planned approach
  • Need your vision and passion

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spring break is a HORRIBLE time to do a crowdfunding campaign (and other lessons learned)

I am excited to announce that my new allegorical business novel, the Game Changer, is about to be released. 

By early June, it should be available for pre-order on electronic channels and by the end of June the ebook should be ready for sale.  The book will make its debut in bookstores on January 25th, 2018. 

Here is the backstory of how a strategist and podcaster turns author.  Watch this short video, then I'll tell you what I learned about crowdfunding.

Getting a publisher to bring your dream to life, while a truly wonderful thing, is only a small piece in the author puzzle.

You may not know that it is totally up to the author to promote the book.  And that takes not only a great network and amazing connections, it takes money.

In March, I tried my hand at Kickstarter™ and I was excited.  I was drawn into their special offer of a one week campaign, which they promised to heavily promote (...NOT).  That sounded great to me, as then I would not have to obsess for a month as to whether my business colleagues were supporting me.  That was the smartest part of the Kickstarter decision. 

Lessons learned included:
  • Spring break is a horrible time to do crowdfunding, especially for a one week campaign
  • One week is too short, as your own network will need time to digest it and decide how to support you (notice I didn't say IF)
  • Your network will support YOU if you ask - you don't need a crowdfunding campaign for that
  • The underbelly of the online marketing world will bombard you with promises of making your campaign successful, but have absolutely NO way to deliver on that promise
After getting halfway to my goal in the first day, I was encouraged.  Then the onslaught of marketing firms began.  Don't fall for it, no matter how good it sounds, as they prey on those that are fearful that they won't raise the money, catching you on day 2, when support generally drops from the day 1 excitement.

At the end of the week, I had not gotten much more traction and the marketing firms disappeared.  Then I realized that 99.9% of those that promised support were my friends. So, I admitted defeat on Kickstarter, but those that know me know that I NEVER give up.

Here is what I did:
  1. I communicated with all of my supporters to tell them what I had learned and to thank them for believing in me.
  2. I created a series of pages on the Game Changer Network site to allow my network to continue to support me (including mirroring the commitment they had made on the failed Kickstarter campaign).
  3. I sent a personal email to each one of my supporters telling about the new approach and asking once again for their support.
  4. I made it easy for them by accepting credit cards on Paypal.  You don't have to be an ecommerce genius to do this.  If you need help, don't hesitate to ask.
So here it comes, the ASK.  

Please check out our pre-order offers HERE.  We have put together some unique packages for you and your team.  Whether you can only afford $15 or you want to take advantage of getting a 50% discount on my advisory services for our Game Changer discovery session, we have something for you.

Thank you in advance for your support.  There IS life after crowdfunding.

Stay tuned.

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