Saturday, November 15, 2008

Founder Factory

I spent this past Thursday at the Founder Factory event in Philly; hosted by the MAC Alliance and Philly Startup Leaders. The well-attended event was held at the World Cafe Live (a pretty cool venue) and highlighted local entrepreneurs, advisors, and investors.

A great mix of perspectives was provided by folks like Josh Kopelman, Steve Goodman, Gil Beyda, Lucinda Holt, and Bob Bickel who shared war stories on their most successful and not so successful experiences.

I especially liked the three Fishbowl sessions focused on DuckDuckGo, DropCard, and Basically, the founders of these young companies gave a 5-10 minute overview of the business to the audience and panel of experts. They then ended with a handful of questions for the panel in order to get their thoughts on their business idea, ways to scale their business and/or drive revenue, etc. Lots of great questions, dialog and ideas ensued. Will these businesses succeed? Only time will tell. Kudos to the founders for having the courage to open themselves (and their business babies) to the constructive criticism that these sessions are designed to provide.

Click here for Twitter coverage of the event

Click here for an official recap of the event by Blake Jennelle

I was excited to see the entrepreneurial spirit of Philly alive and well, and I look forward to more of these types of events in the future.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Transfer of Confidence

I learned very early in my career that the key to a successful sales process is:
Transfer of Confidence

Nobody likes feeling foolish. And when purchasing a strategic software solution, people are putting their reputations on the line. So, focusing on making them feel comfortable and confident that they are making the right decision is paramount.

This Transfer of Confidence technique applies much more widely than software sales, however. What is at the heart of the Treasury's rescue package strategy? Transfer of confidence.

To illustrate my point even further...what do you see when you look at the picture below of Barack Obama's first press conference since becoming President Elect?
I see a Transfer of Confidence. Rather than speak at the podium alone, Barack Obama chose to surround himself with his very smart and capable team. His implicit message? The quest for Change will be difficult, but we are not alone in this quest. We will succeed.

Transfer of Confidence is a powerful concept. It is not a gimmick to be toyed with. For it to work properly, you need to use it truthfully and wisely.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Don't Let The Sun [Microsystems] Go Down On Me

I got to thinking about Sun Microsystems after reading a Motley Fool article entitled "Meet the New Sun, Better Than the Old Sun":
"Sun Microsystems ain't what it used to be. Once a premier purveyor of enterprise-class Unix servers with a little bit of software on the side, the new Sun relies on virtualization-friendly blade servers, storage arrays, and open-source software. And that's probably a good thing... Big-iron server sales are dropping like hot potatoes. Sun's workstations haven't been much of factor for years."

I broached the above topic with a buddy of mine and we pondered ways that Sun could change their downward slide. Sun does indeed have an arsenal of hardware and software assets, but how long will it realistically take them to right the ship? Or do they need to be acquired in order to start heading in the right financial direction?

With that said...
what do you think of Apple as Sun's savior?

My initial reaction to this was...Apple's brand is all about shiny, elegant, and easy to use hardware and software objects, so how much of Sun's offerings would be worthy of the Apple brand? Let's assume the virtualization-friendly blade servers, storage arrays, and open-source software that Motley Fool mentioned above are worthy, how would such a move help Apple?

It would help Apple in its fight with Microsoft...on many fronts.

Part of Microsoft's strength has historically come from the sheer number of developers it has creating applications that target its platforms. I still crack up every time I watch the classic "Developers, Developers, Developers" Steve Ballmer video.

BUT...have you noticed the sea change that has happened over the past two years? I see nothing but oceans of Mac laptops at all the developer events going on. Apple has become the new cool for developers.

And if Apple, by acquiring Sun, was to inject some of its MOJO into Java...well that could inflict further pain on Microsoft. Moreover, an acquisition of Sun would position Apple nicely in the emerging cloud-platform market (see Microsoft's Azure Services Platform for where they're headed).

I, like many, would love to see the Sun rise again somehow. In these trying financial times, can they do it on their own, or do they need someone like Apple to get them through the difficult times?