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Open for business


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This was part of a 3-person talk about “open” for Refresh – a group of designers, developers and creatives. The Triangle NC group is experimenting with doing 3-person talks (one design, one development, one business) this year, and I represented the business perspective. The talks are supposed to be jumping off points for a larger conversation, and I knew the other people would outdo me on slide design, so I embraced the ugly. The other speakers were Ben Scofield and Akira Morita

Published in: Business
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Open for business

  1. 1. Open for Business Jeff Stern’s thoughts (actually, mostly other people’s) on openness and transparency 3/24/11 for Refresh the Triangle @jeffreymstern (or that @gmail)
  2. 2. Let’s be honest from the start <ul><li>These slides will suck </li></ul><ul><li>I like bullets (I’m an MBA, sorry) </li></ul><ul><li>I’ll be done in 10 min (persevere) </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Martin Hall: </li></ul><ul><li>“ You only need to worry about your album leaking if it sucks” </li></ul><ul><li>Disclaimer: Quote may not be 100% accurate. Martin is not famous, just this guy I know who used to work at Merge. </li></ul><ul><li>But c’mon. You know this is true. You can feel it in your bones. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Other stuff you already know <ul><li>There’s huge business potential in openness. </li></ul><ul><li>A few examples: </li></ul><ul><li>Craigslist </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>Ebay/Etsy </li></ul><ul><li>Plentyoffish/OkCupid </li></ul><ul><li>Metafilter/Reddit/Digg/etc. </li></ul><ul><li>You get the point. I don’t really need to drive home the power of crowds/users, do I? </li></ul>
  5. 5. I have a bias towards open <ul><li>Allows for feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Allows others to get excited and spread that excitement </li></ul><ul><li>Helps keep you honest and oriented toward customers </li></ul><ul><li>Helps you avoid mistakes before you make them </li></ul>
  6. 6. Your idea doesn’t matter <ul><li>Here’s what does matter: </li></ul><ul><li>Execution/Implementation </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting customer needs (and exceeding their expectations) </li></ul><ul><li>Perseverance </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility and ability to iterate </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of team and product/service </li></ul>
  7. 7. An NDA won’t help you <ul><li>“ When you ask me to sign an NDA, I hear you saying you think someone else will out-execute you.” </li></ul><ul><li>-someone smart (quote approximated) </li></ul><ul><li>“ I have been in this business for 20 years and to my knowledge, I have never signed one. </li></ul><ul><li>-Fred Wilson </li></ul><ul><li>at talking about Brad Feld’s post that references Guy Kawasaki </li></ul>
  8. 8. More from @fredwilson <ul><li>“ At Union Square Ventures , we pride ourselves on our transparency and openness. Wednesday's Airbnb post and Paul Graham's followup posting of our email thread on that opportunity is a good example of where being open benefits everyone involved, from Airbnb, to Y Combinator, to Union Square Ventures, and mostly to entrepreneurs out there who have always been curious what really goes on. </li></ul><ul><li>But there are plenty of times when we are not open…We prefer to be open and transparent, but that is not always the appropriate or desired posture. And when we are expected to be discreet, we are fully able to do that.” </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  9. 9. Example: Facebook & Friendfeed <ul><li>My take: </li></ul><ul><li>Friendfeed was better, but listened to the echo chamber too much </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook was smarter about forcing power users to educate the masses </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing matters. First to market, not so much. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Be open inside and out