I hold regular open office hours every week – organized with Nate Westheimer’s fabulous http://ohours.org/thinkstorm.
Most of my interactions are with people who are looking for funding or are feeling the waters of corporate venture capital. These discussions are often tainted, because people try to present themselves in the best light to get my investor’s interest and ultimately my money. I want to learn more about your challenges, your struggles, your catch 22. I like to be more involved with the day-to-day business of early-stage and established startups from a wide variety of markets and industries. I will try and help you with fund raising questions, business models, go-to-market strategies, organizational issues, architecture decisions, etc.
For me this is also an exercise to find a solution, starting point, or develop alternatives within 20 minutes. This is just some informal chat. But I ask from you to:
- Come with a challenge that can be tackled within
- Know your business model — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Model_Canvas — beyond revenue and cost structures as well as the cash flow required along your value creation chain.
- Explain to me the value the end user will get out of your product within 20 seconds, and Understand all different ways, channels, and options end users have to get this value elsewhere or otherwise (because that is your competition!)
There are some Don’ts:
- Don’t pitch me your startup.
- Don’t ask me for introductions into my employer’s organization.
If you’re interested in giving me a pitch or asking me for potential partnership or business engagement with my corporate mothership then there is another date and time for that (look at http://freebusy.thinkstorm.com for my availability).