Monthly Archives: May 2014

Nuvation

It’s Velocity Dinner May 29 2014 and the guest speaker is Michael Worry from Nuvation.
When he graduated from uWaterloo in ‘97, he and his cofounders moved to California to do a startup, which led to Nuvation. Today we have him as a guest speaker and he’ll talk about his startup experience. Here are some things I found interesting.

Flinch price

This negotiation strategy focuses on trying to get the most money for the seller. How it works is, as a seller, ideally you want to name a price that is so high that the buyer flinches at the thought of buying it at that price. The buyer needs that product — but at that price, it is painful to think about. Starting a sale like this maximizes the amount you can sell.

Decision made on information

Make decisions based on information. If there are no new information, do not change the decision.
Opinions are not information; but may lead to new information.

Crab bucket mentality

The story goes that if you put one crab in a bucket, it’ll attempt to climb out. But if you have two crabs, when one tries to climb out, the other would pull on its legs and try to prevent it from leaving.
This is analogous to one trying to do a startup — when you want to get somewhere, you’ll have people drag you back. I.e. your parents want the best for you and they want that to be a safe and secure route, which typically is a steady job for steady income.

Fundamentally different skills

Engineers, management, sales are different skills. Those who are good at being engineers may not be good at the others. Michael’s story is that when he initally wanted to scale, he naively promoted his three best engineers to become managers. This was a poor decision in hindsight.

CEO gets the blame

As ceo, when things are going well then my staff gets the credit. When things go poorly, it’s ceo fault.

Stanford Technologies Ventures Program

 My notes on the 2004 Guy Kawasaki video lectures.

Make meaning in your company

Companies that succeed are those that make meaning. If you set out to make money you probably won’t succeed.

Key motivations to start a great organization:

  • Increase the quality of life
  • Right a wrong
  • Prevent the end of something good

Don’t write a mission statement

Make a mantra - three or four words that capture the essence of your organization.

E.g.
Wendy’s “healthy fast food”
FedeEx “Peace of mind”
Nike “Authentic athletic performance”
Mary Kay “Enriching women’s lives”
Kawasaki “Empowering entrepreneurs”

Dilbert mission statement generator website for mission statements.

Get up and get going

Think different, build the product/service that you love.
The best source of entrepreneurial spirit are people under 30 years old and solving a personal problem.
Think different.

Do not be afraid to polarize people. Ideally some people love your product, some people hate your product.

Find a few soul mates. When one person is down, you need the other person to pick you up and help you. Keep you warm.

The new business model

A specific person. Not “we’ll capture millions of eyeballs”. Not “enterprise software”, but “what size, who, and what they do”.

Keep it simple. We want innovate products/technologies.
Fundamentally, you make something, you sell it, you make money — that’s the model a VC can handle.

Ask women. Men has the “killer gene”. Start company to kill another company. Men are predisposed to want to kill things. Women don’t have this predisposition. Don’t waste your time asking men.

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