Startup Product Roadmap, Phase 1 – Product Discovery

The Product Discovery phase is about determining that you’re solving the right problem, along with starting to validate and de-risk your solution.

This phase of effort is arguably the most difficult of your product’s lifecycle. Each day can be an emotional rollercoaster of extreme excitement and frustrating lows. Read more on Startup Product Roadmap, Phase 1 – Product Discovery…

The Startup Product Roadmap – Maturing your Software Idea into a Scalable Product

Planning to launch a startup around a new software product? The Software Product Roadmap will help you ask the right questions, talk to the right people, and make the right moves every step of the way. Read more on The Startup Product Roadmap – Maturing your Software Idea into a Scalable Product…

Creating a Software Company? 9 Decisions You Have to Make

So, you have decided to sell software. Congratulations, you are now a software company!

Maybe your building the next big new product that is going to change the world, or perhaps you are re-purposing an internal piece of software that has really helped your company. Either way, it doesn’t matter. There is a lot of strategy and implementation work that needs to be done (maybe more than you realized!).
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Drawing Your Business Ecosystem

We first read about business ecosystems in the Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development.

Over the last year we have added a business ecosystem drawing exercise to our project kickoff practices. This exercise is designed to quickly give our development team a high-level understanding of our client’s business.

A business ecosystem drawing shows high-level value exchanges for the entities that participate in an offering.

To better understand how to draw a business ecosystem, let’s investigate Atomic Object’s simple product development consulting business.
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What We Expect Startups to Know

Ten years of working with entrepreneurs has given us some insights into what’s necessary to increase the odds of their success. While there is no magic formula you can follow to create a successful product or company, there are some things you can do to increase your odds, or, put another way, there are some things you can ignore that almost certainly introduce risk and decrease your odds.

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A Venture Capital Cheat Sheet

Lately I’ve found myself in many conversations about startups and sources of funding. It’s a natural part of the work we do at Atomic; we build software products for other people’s businesses, and many of the new clients who reach out to us are part of startups. Locally, the Momentum program and 5×5 night have sparked conversation and excitement around the Grand Rapids entrepreneurial community. The Michigan chapter of the Lean Startup Circle is kicking off soon. Globally we’re in the wake of several new tech IPOs (Linked-In, Pandora, & Zynga).

In these conversations I’ve observed and experienced a little hesitancy in defining or making distinctions between different terms in the venture capital space. For instance, one common misconception is that different types of funding relate directly to specific dollar ranges, rather than company stage.

Here I’d like to lay out a basic outline of the terms of venture capital, keeping in mind the sometimes loose colloquial uses that make rigorous distinctions impossible.

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Lean Startup Is about More than Shoestring Web Startups

The Michigan Lean Startup Conference brought some of the thought leaders of lean startup to Grand Rapids a few weeks ago. The talks were excellent. I particularly enjoyed listening to Eric Ries on the lean startup concept and William Pietri’s perspective on temporary versus sustainable code. Jeffrey Schox explained the complicated business of IP in a refreshingly clear fashion.

Unfortunately, some of the comments I heard from the audience, the tweet stream, and at the after-party made me think there were two big misunderstandings common in the audience:

1. Lean startup just means shoestring budgets.

2. Lean startup is for web businesses only.

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