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Agile Entrepreneurs do it by Osmosis

Entrepreneurs learn best by Osmosis
We need role models we can emulate.
Entrepreneurs we can relate to - in Scale, Time, and Context.
Scale We need people who have succeeded at what we're attempting, but not to such an extent that there's a daunting chasm between us.It's easier to see how we can emulate the success of a peer than that of Steve Jobs.Time The success has to be recent for it to be relevant. - because everything changes: technology, market, consumers, investors, the economy.Many of my advisors who were successful entrepreneurs over a decade ago are now relearning these lessons themselves, - the hard way, while pursuing their next startups.Context If the success is derived from a context foreign to us, it's hard to see how we can emulate that.Factors contributing to success are often either downplayed or exaggerated, for effect. You need to know the story behind the story. Don't get me wrong- I'm sure some of you will figure out the right lessons to l…

User Stories for Product Managers

I've previously said that User Stories are the most powerful construct in Agile methods, more than TDD, in my view.

The challenge in using User Stories though lies in the fact that they shift the responsibility of getting things right - and quite fairly I might add - from the Engineering team onto the Product Owner/Product Manager. And unless you have strong buy-in from management, it's difficult to make it to the end of the Product Management process and to a point where you're cranking out iterations one by one.

The key lies in efficiency in creating and managing User Stories, and tying them effectively to an evolving User Interface even as the product starts coming alive.

I'm planning to share some of my experiences and thoughts on this soon. Meanwhile, I found this interesting article while searching the net for splitting stories along CRUD capabilities.

Ways to split user stories
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Funding an Entrepreneur's Pedigree

I got sucked into this debate with a friend, who is a great person and definitely not the type of investor I'm arguing against. That's why, it would be nice to hear first hand from the type of entrepreneurs I'm talking about - those who know similar startups that got funded because of better pedigree of founders, while they bootstrapped for years without investor support.
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My friend is trying to explain to someone w/ a Harvard MBA why the 90% net income margin in their financial model is not believable.
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Me
... and yet, in the end, most VCs still end up investing in people with degrees from Harvard and Stanford; coz it's takes talent to spot talent, and a lot of work to support and nurture it. If they fail, it's not the VC's fault; if they succeed, the VC made smart investment.
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My Friend
Murali I think that statement might be a bit over the top. I know plenty of unemployed / unfundable ivy league grads. It's not a magi…

The Wise & Persistent (a.k.a. Agile) Entrepreneur

The Wise & Persistent (a.k.a. Agile) Entrepreneur "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand RussellThe Dunning-Kruger effect explains the pervasive and perverse phenomenon where people with less competence rate their ability higher than do people who are relatively more competent.
The successful pursuit of any major goal in life requires many things including the much overrated Luck. In my mind, two qualities stand head and shoulders above everything else as absolutely essential to success:
Your ability to LearnYour Persistence I've previously discussed how to improve your ability to learn.

Today I want to share with my fellow entrepreneurs my thoughts on persistence.

I'm sure you had enough lessons of persistence knocked into your head. And it may even be getting to a point where the word starts to lose its meaning. But the thing is, persistence will lead you to…