Here is the “Mood Board” for AnyFu that outlines the basic concept of the brand.
We’re very happy with this working version of the logo. The orange circle is an asterisk. In coding this is a wildcard and means the same as any.
If you’ve been listening to TechZing you’ll know that I’m starting a new company with Jason Roberts called AnyFu.
We just got our finalized character created by the magical genius of Scotty.
We’re stoked about this awesome artwork!
I was rummaging around my Hard Disk and found this song. It’s the last full song that I wrote and recorded before I gave up trying to be a professional musician. It makes me think that one day, if I can get some free time, I’ll make “that album” that I’ve always wanted to make. One day…
Shine (Needs a decent set of headphones to be heard as intended.)
When someone calls and leaves me a message, Vonage tries to transcribe it… and then emails it to me. Here’s one I got today:
Hello this message is for Justin Benson, this is leave it out I’ve been on the eighth seminar from putting shelves in the school. I just called to remind your appointment for today at 145. I’ll do your home 212, 3B Star rolls of how the height, 2123 at least I will know how the heights. Please call me at xxx-xxx and this is for your birthday Michelle, it’s Sharon blood in her urine testing. Okay thank you. bye bye
I never thought I would see the day that Internet Explorer had less than a 10% browser share for any web property I built.
I assumed it wouldn’t be possible for the other browsers to to topple such a large market share.
I was wrong.
CiviliNation’s mission is to foster an online culture where individuals can fully engage and contribute without fear or threat of abuse.
I am no stranger to this issue and created my “I’m A Real Person” page specifically to deal with this.
I encourage you to check out CiviliNation and support the cause if you feel inclined. It’s one of the few internet causes that can actually have an effect because it is trying to change the internet – not the real world.
Start Small, Get Big – No Investment Required
When I posted I had no idea the amount of interest it would generate. Viewed over 50,000 times, I received a flood of emails from people supporting the main thesis and calling for action.
The massive interest in the post served to solidify in my mind that there is need for one (or more) systems that can facilitate many thousands of entrepreneurs to “start small, get big” without the requirement to chase limited VC funding or incubator placements.
My idea is to create a system called The Startup Guild that is somewhat like a distributed and virtual version of YCombinator. The Startup Guild would use game mechanics to help track and match up participants into self supporting mastermind groups. As an analogy, if YCombinator were client-server, the Startup Guild would be a torrent tracker.
The main premise of the guild would be to help entrepreneurs build their first profitable business via the unfunded route of bootstrapping, however there would be nothing about the guild to exclude participants from seeking funding or placement at an incubator.
Problems The Guild Would Try To Solve
- How can I build a start-up with no investment?
- How can I meet like minded entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off?
- How can I keep motivated and be held accountable?
- How can I find a business partner?
- How can I build a startup if I’m not based in Silicon Valley?
The Startup Guild – Potential Components
news.startupguild.net – A reddit style link rating & comment system dedicated to articles related to “no-investment, start small, get big”
blog.startupguild.net – A “guest post” blog with articles from people who have had success with “start small, get big” approach
toolkit.startupguild.net – A toolkit with information & resources about “start small, get big”
tracker.startupguild.net – A system to publicly track entrepreneurs progress and match up mastermind groups
In my mind the key to making a distributed human network like this become successful would be to facilitate the creation of self supporting micro-groups. Mastermind groups.
The entrepreneur tracker would use game mechanics to match up mastermind groups and ensure that each group had a spread of experience. For example, it wouldn’t make sense for a group to consist of 1 person making $100k/month and 6 others just starting out. I had in mind the idea of each person within the system having a current status badge. Using game mechanics the system could also encourage competition between mastermind groups and individual entrepreneurs.
Here is a very rough example of what I’m talking about:
- Apprentice – Just starting out (A1)
- Novice – Have 100 registered users (N1)
- Mentor Level 1 – Already earning $1000/month (ML1)
- Mentor Level 2 – Already earning $5000/month (Ml2)
The tracker would match up a group like: A1, A1, A1, N1, N1, ML1 – The group might then be called “The Big Lebowski” and be tracked against performance. Think baseball league.
If you would like to follow the progress of the Startup Guild as it pops into existence sign-up to this mailing list. If you would like to help build the tracker or curate the toolkit please send me your ideas, passion level, commitment level & experience.
After the Entreporn controversy, I was mildly insulted by the readers that took my words to mean “be a micro-entrepreneur and have no ambition”.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The truth is I’ve “swung for the fences” all my life.
My arrogance always lead me to believe I was too good for anything smaller.
I’ve tried to build a venture backed Google/Facebook/Groupon 4 times in my career.
- All Channels, a human powered search engine (2000)
- NanoFlirt, a real world meets virtual world dating system (2006)
- Woyano, Mahalo meets wikipedia meets digital content marketplace (2007)
- MashAPI, a cloud based programming language combined with metered transport layer (2009)
During the ride I also built an open source PHP database layer that is the backbone of WordPress, and prior to my startup career I spent 5 years trying to be a world famous rock star, with burning passion to be as big as the Smashing Pumpkins.
Repeatedly “swinging for the fences” has been the most costly entrepreneurial mistake I’ve ever made.
It wasted huge amounts of my life and delayed my ability to be a self sustaining businessman. I was so focused on big exits, and grand ideas, that I never learned the fundamentals of building a profitable business.
If I had been less big headed, and the very first thing I had done was to built a sensible micro business instead of – “swinging for the fences” – I would have had a better chance of fulfilling all my entrepreneurial goals.
- I would have had a more rounded understanding of “business”
- I would have been financially free sooner (and able to pursue my larger high risk ventures)
- I would have proven my business chops and been more likely to get funding
- I would have retained more control of any deals I tried to initiate
My delusions of grandeur, mixed with Entreporn’s promise of glory, kept me on that 0.001% path.
Of course that’s my story. You may be one of the 0.001% who “swings for the fences” and gets it right first time.
If that’s your story, more power to you.
But don’t, for one second, think that I don’t have the intention of building a $100m+ company.
A lot of people have responded to my article about the merits of building a lifestyle business looking for answers on how to get started.
Here’s a hastily compiled list of resources to help you get started on your journey:
- How to Start a Successful Bootstrapped Web App Business
- DHH Talk – Startup School 2008
- Amy Hoy – Thoroughly non-magical advice for creating and selling your own products
- Rob Walling – Lessons Learned by a Solo Entrepreneur
- MicroISV on a Shoestring
- The Micropreneur Academy – Startups For the Rest of Us
- Andrew Warner – Mixergy
- TechZing (My Weekly Podcast with Jason Roberts)
- Startups For The Rest of us Podcast