Boulder BITS Team

Boulder Bits- A New Spin On Starting Up

I’ve often said that startups are like snowflakes; they’re all made of the same components, just arranged in a different configuration. Like startups, startup studios – or venture-builders – are all unique and different. Because there are nearly as many variations of startup studios as there are studios themselves, I’m writing this post to explain as succinctly as possible, why and how Boulder Bits is configured. Boulder Bits in Several Sentences Boulder Bits seeks out problems that real people face.…

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Product-Market fit pitfall

Product-Market Fit: Pitfalls

In early-stage companies you hear the term “product-market fit” all the time. Every startup CEO I meet declares that they have “amazing product-market fit.” A few minutes later they usually tell me why they’re having trouble gaining traction. So which is it, amazing product-market fit? Or weak traction? You shouldn’t have both. I’ve already described two aspects of product-market fit that every entrepreneur should consider: 1. Vet multiple product/market options before choosing one. Starting from a single point is a weak…

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Problem solution alignment

Problem Solution Alignment

I’m often asked when I know that I’ve found “product-market fit”. The answer is simple – I don’t. If anyone says, “We have product-market fit because …” the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I get an involuntary gag reflex. There is no point in any company where they’ve found the holy grail of a product sufficiently awesome that they won’t have to change what their doing for tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Anyone that think’s they’ve found “product-market…

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A duck will never catch a mouse

Iterating The Lean Model

We all know that if you produce the wrong product or service, your startup will quickly become a burnout. But how does one achieve product-market fit? The current viewpoint is iterative hypothesis testing. I agree and unabashedly disagree. In iterative hypothesis testing, you lay out all your assumptions, go out and (in)validate your assumption, tweak your assumptions, and try again. After some number of iterations, voilà you have iterated yourself into the perfect product for your market. In theory this works great. In practice 90%…

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Kids with Marshmallows

The Kindergarten Co-Founder

What does the name “PlaySpace” mean to you? An artist may envision a studio filled with paints, a kiln or a block of stone and a few chisels. A child may imagine a giant pit filled with foam blocks and marshmallows. I envision a place where entrepreneurs assemble imaginary building blocks to create startups. To me, a “PlaySpace” is a beautiful thing. It’s the workbench, where a masterpiece is transformed from a naturally rough gem of an idea into a rough-cut business. It’s a place where entrepreneurs go to find their flow –…

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Trust and Transparency

Jumpstarting Play with Trust

Most people wouldn’t associate the word “play” with “trust”. At Boulder BITS we do, and here is why. Lack of trust changes human behavior completely. One of the reasons kids can play so well with others is an inherent trust they possess. As soon as that trust is lost, the play stops. If you don’t trust the other people around you, it is very hard to play openly with them. For good entrepreneurs, innovative work is play. So, lack of trust…

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Venture Capital

It is hard to argue with the following two facts:   Winning  It’s easier to earn lots of money if you have access to lots of money. Losing  It’s easier to lose lots of money if you have access to lots of money.   Venture Capitalists provide an access point for winning big or losing big. Many of you already know that three out of four venture-backed startups fail. This means that VC’s count on one startup to score a large enough bounty that loosing the other three startups doesn’t matter to them.…

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Devil with duct taped halo

Of Angels and Demons

Angels are a crazy breed of human being that have the means and desire to wager large sums of money on the success of startups. Of course, these crazy and wacky humans aren’t as crazy as the typical gambler. They’re playing a game that’s rigged in their favor (as long as they play it right).   The Odds: Let’s say that ninety percent of angel-funded startups fail – only 10% succeed. That means to break even, an angel must invest in at least ten startups that will each provide…

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Bootstrapped rocket man

Bootstrapped

As an investor, you may find it odd that I encourage entrepreneurs to avoid outside investment as much as possible in favor of bootstrapping. If you’re not familiar, “bootstrapping” a company means starting with very little equity (usually eating away at the entrepreneurs savings), and then building revenue quickly. In the last few decades the paradigm has shifted away from bootstrapping to raising angel investment, private equity or VC. Today’s college grads often don’t know that you can bootstrap a company. In my humble opinion, there is nothing that…

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Leadership Diversity

Nudging the Diversity Dial

Really?! – another privileged white guy talking about diversity. Hold on. Don’t run away just yet. Privileged white guys are just as responsible as everyone else for being part of the solution. I’d like to discuss several opportunities (albeit small) that I’m working on to help increase diversity in my startup community – Boulder, CO.   Background: I am eternally grateful to my parents, who aside from being awesome people are incredible entrepreneurs. My brothers and I were raised as entrepreneurs. When…

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