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November 2006
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January 2007

Fellow believers

The core meme of this blog is a bit unusual, if only because it goes against the grain of so much of the conventional wisdom.

So when there's an exception, it jumps out.

I just today came across this blog post from the amazing gang at 37Signals.com. I missed it first time around, but they included it in their year-end wrap-up. The entry is a critique of an article from a Money Magazine imprint called "Business 2.0" that shows how to build a "bullet-proof startup." 37Signals correctly points out that following the advice would not make you bullet-proof, but instead is more akin to shooting a bullet right through the startup.
They don't go quite as far as I do in this blog; they say there's no reason to spend $20M to get to be a $20M company, and that makes all kinds of sense. They don't say you should startup a company using your credit cards. You'd have to be nuts to advocate that.
I would like to say one thing here that the blog item did not say: Part of the reason it's more possible than ever to build a new idea on the web for less money than ever before is Ruby on Rails, a web application framework that comes from ... 37 Signals. These guys are so good that they didn't even feel the need to pat themselves on the back for being a core part of why it is that the "Business 2.0" pabulum is so wrong, and so dated.

They didn't pat themselves on the back, but I will. Good job 37 Signals!


External Validation

OK. If you are really thinking about CreditCardVC, if you are really thinking that you should take your idea and fund it yourself, there are a few things that you need to have.

Most of them are listed in the CreditCardVC Manifesto, but here's another: External Validation.

This can take many forms. Some of them don't count. For instance, if you tell an old college buddy about it, and he says it sounds like a great idea, and then changes the topic and talks about sports, it doesn't count. If he wants to talk about it for a while, and says, "Good luck with that, man!" it still doesn't count.

If he says, "Awesome, man, you're going to be the next Bill Gates." that is actually a sign that you need new old college buddies.

If he says, "Hey, I love that idea. Can I quit my job and come to work for you with no pay for the first six months?" that counts. Anything short of that does not count.

Also important is feedback in public from someone with nothing to gain or lose one way or another based on what they say. That is, getting a positive mention on the aforementioned college buddy's MySpace page does not count.

I've been hesitant in this space to write too much about my current project because I fear that potential customers will see LgDb as undercapitalized and therefore somehow not trustworthy. But that probably doesn't matter that much. Either LgDb will become the most-used site for state-level legislative information, or it won't. Either LgDb will save them an hour or so of mind-numbing busy work every day, or it won't. Either it will help an association make a meaningful web page, or it won't. I think it will in all cases, which is why I shouldn't worry so much about perceptions of perceptions.

But I want to say in this space that I'm pretty psyched about our first bit of external validation from a serious and respected blog: ColoradoStartups.com. David is usually pretty gentle with his subjects, but is willing to -- correctly I've found -- point out in his helpful way a seriously flawed business model or a glaring technical glitch or user-interface problem.

For LgDb, however, he had a positive, felicitous, and succinct summary. He even increased my base price by $45, which I see as a sign more of his perceived value in the product than a sign of his note-taking skills from a month-old conversation. ;-)
In any case, it sure is better then telling me I'll be the next Bill Gates, so I'm excited for the write-up, and thankful to David.

And I'm looking forward to getting through the holidays so that people will focus on business again and I'll get some more of the best external validation of all: paying customers.


Mark does it again

I haven't been posting much lately -- frankly I've gone a little soft on the concept. Should I really be telling people to load up on credit card debt just before Christmas? Seems like a way to drive financial ruin.

If you are thinking about it, just be sure to follow the rules in the Manifesto.

Also, be sure to follow the advice in this post from Mark Cuban about not losing focus.