Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning



Breaking Down the Barriers that Stop the Start-up…

I asked a question earlier today on Twitter – if you have an idea for a business, big or small idea, what is holding you back from starting that business?  I got a few replies, mostly around money or lack thereof, and also a lack of confidence that he/she could raise enough money to start the business.  The reason I am asking is actually to get to another question – how have people done it?  Starting a business is hard.  There are many hurdles.  How have people successfully addressed those hurdles? 

If you had a money hurdle, what did you change in your life to manage that?  Did you move?  Did you vow to eat ramen?  Did you use your credit cards? 

If you had a confidence problem, what did you change in your life to manage that?

So first, I am trying to get at what holds people back, then I am trying to get at the solutions – boring or even better, creative, that allowed people to move ahead.  It seems to me a lot of folks want to do something on their own, but for a variety of reasons they don't.  I suspect that a lot of issues that typically stop people are shared – and some people say "oh well, I can't do it" and others push through.  In the start up world we talk a lot about what makes a business successful – but we don't as often hear the personal stories behind the people who make it happen – what choices and trade-offs they chose to make to pursue their dream.  People love to say "I can't do it because of [insert excuse]".  Of course you CAN, you are choosing not to for some other reason.  Let's break that down and give people some real life ideas for how to make it happen.

If you have some thoughts on this, comment here or send me an email to  I would love to hear from you.  I meet a lot of people with interesting ideas who STOP.  I would love to help them move past that with some interesting examples of people who pushed ahead.

Great Gift Idea

I meant to write about this a while ago but forgot!  So here we go – if you are looking for a great gift to give new parents, have I got an idea for you.  New parents get many wonderful gifts – books, blankets, clothes.  We got to know our UPS guy personally after Avery was born. 

And then a friend sent us an email basically saying "Call this number, our treat."  So we called the number and wouldn't you know it but it was a personal chef on the other end of the line.  Our friends had hired her to come and cook for us one night, to celebrate the arrival of our daughter.  How fabulous is THAT. 

We talked to her about food likes (many) and dislikes (few), favorite meals of all time, and other particulars to give her some ideas.  And then, she arrived at our house one evening after we had put Avery down and calmly started to set up.  She set the table, arranged the kitchen, and poured us glasses of wine.

She proceeded to serve us a delicious four course meal including watercress soup with white asparagus, red snapper, quail and a rhubarb tart.  She cooked, served the meal and cleaned up the kitchen.  She was quiet as a church mouse and cooked like a fiend. 

It was heaven.  We had not been out in weeks, had a little anxiety about leaving as we had not yet hired a babysitter with whom we were comfortable and were hankering for a nice evening with real food – prepared by someone else. 

I don't think it is the cheapest gift, but I would definitely do this for someone else – maybe go in on it with other people – because it was different, in line with just what we needed, memorable and a huge treat.  Here are a few pictures from the evening:





Very Rough Product Idea

I am playing with an idea.  I think the advertising model needs to be turned on its head, or become more direct to me as a consumer.  Can someone create a service that is like consumer lead generation?  A service where I can create a profile saying what I am shopping for, my budget, my timing, and other preferences and then advertisers can come to me directly?  Example, I was in the market for a stroller a while ago.  I wanted something lightweight, easy to use and not too expensive.  Rather than my having to go out and research strollers, can't I put these and other preferences into a profile and then manufacturers can come to me with relevant products?  Perhaps this would be a un-implementable for advertisers/manufacturers.  I don't know.  Or perhaps I am just being lazy.  But I feel like product researching processes are harder than they should be and with today's targeting technology, I should just be able to say what I want, and have that product presented to me.

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