Flipping the Script: My Inspiring Interview with Peter

Peter Cauton, Founder of Juan Great Leap, sharing a father-son moment with his son, Wakeen

This past Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, I sat down with Peter to experience Startup Saturdays first-hand. Initially, my initial vision for the interview was to ask as many thought-provoking questions as I could to get the insider's scoop on the person behind Juan Great Leap. I sought to reveal a different side of Peter that showcased him as not just the inspiring founder behind Juan Great Leap, but also as an ordinary fellow. However, as I was playing back the interview and transcribing his words something really clicked (it sometimes takes me a while to process things), I realized that Peter isn't ordinary, and that we already know him. He's already poured out his heart and soul to those that … [Read more...]

STEP 1: Pick a Product and a Market

pick

This is the 2nd of a series of 7 posts about the steps to launching a product. You can find the introductory post here. Step 2 is here.  So you want to launch a startup. First thing to do is to pick out an idea. Its sounds simple, but I do know that for a lot of us, this can be pretty challenging - its either we have too many ideas or none at all. The secret is to choose to commit. If you have too many ideas, and its already bogging you down, force yourself to commit to a few ideas and eliminate those you feel lukewarm about. For those who feel "none of my ideas are exciting," I find that this is usually a confidence thing. You have to take a deep breathe, box out all the negative … [Read more...]

Pick your startup idea using the 3 circles

hedgehog

A long time ago, I read the bestselling book by Jim Collins, a book which a lot of you are probably familiar with, Good to Great. I have forgotten everything about the book except his 3 circles framework. Jim illustrates that for good companies to become great, they have to exist in the "sweet spot" of 3 overlapping circles. While the book was really made for large corporations, and used data mainly from large corporations, I realized how applicable the "3-circle" framework is for startups. I use this framework extensively in startup product development. My simplified version of the framework looks like this: So let's say you're deliberating on what startup idea you'd like to … [Read more...]

The only shoe that will fit perfectly is yours

if-the-shoe-fits

Each individual is unique. From our fingerprints, our view of the world, our biases, our histories - we are each truly unique. Our uniqueness extends to what exactly satisfies us at work. Some of us prefer sales, some research, some human resources, some supply chain management, some finance, some technology. Some of us prefer to work at night, some mid-afternoon, some are morning folk. Some of us prefer working with people, while some prefer to work alone, for some "it depends." Some of crave simplicity, while others desire sophistication. Some of us get a thrill out of talking to someone new everyday, while some of us want to a correspond with more an intimate set of … [Read more...]

The ONE TRUE RISK I faced in taking the startup leap

TAKE ONE!

One of these days, I'll post the full-blown story of what exactly happened when I took the leap and kissed my corporate career goodbye. It was truly a Faith-Leap for me. Till then, kindly make do with this super abridged version: I was a 33-year old corporate lifer with a wife and a newborn son I was supporting. It was the middle of the 2008 recession. The startup firm I was working part-time putting up was struggling mightily, partly because I wasn't giving it the time it deserved. I had two paths to take. One was to continue on my 12-year corporate career as a line HR director, continue receiving my comfortable salary, continue with the peace of mind that my family would be ok. … [Read more...]

7 WAYS TO ENSURE YOUR STARTUP IDEA DOESN’T SUCK, Part 1

startup idea

Ok, while ideas ARE overrated, they are still important. Let's talk about the process of evaluating, and ultimately choosing, which startup idea to commit to. This will be a long one, so I will cut it up into 2-3 posts. Remember, the criteria I will be using here will be for startups, not necessarily for lifestyle or small businesses. For a small business, sometimes all it takes is a good franchise and a good location. It's a little more complicated for a startup with big dreams. Let's start with some career advice cliche. 1.Go after a passion It's cliche for a reason: its extremely important. A lot of entrepreneurs get into the game motivated by money, and that is fine. But it is only a … [Read more...]

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