5 Books to help you discover successful business models

When I was in the thick of it as an entrepreneur I was fortunate to learn about the customer development methodology pioneered by Steve Blank. One of the benefits of Coworking is being around a lot of smart people you can learn from. Fellow coworker Dante Cassanego told me about Steve Blank’s book The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Reading that book and learning about the new concepts of Lean Startup totally changed my perspectives on business. There really are clear paths to success. It’s not that they are any easier just more logical.

So last night I had a great conversation with a friend. I recommended using customer development ideas to create a business model hypothesis and to test it. I sent him part of this list of books. So I figured I should share it here for others and to augment my poor memory.

(The words in all caps are my short descriptions of what these books are. There are no affiliate links in this post.)

Thanks again Dante!

BIG PICTURE
The Lean Startup, Eric Ries

A PRACTICAL HOW-TO
Running Lean, Ash Maurya

ORIGIN STORY – “Customer Development methodology, [book] which launched the Lean Startup movement.”
The Four Steps to the Epiphany, Steve Blank

A VISUAL MANUAL
Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers, by Alexander Osterwalder

LOOKS AMAZING haven’t read it …
The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company, Steve Blank

My Best Photos

Izzy and his Microbus
My son playing with his VW bus.

In college I spent a lot of time shooting 16mm motion picture film and still 35mm film. Mostly for documenting the art I was making. Recently I’ve been developing my own black and white negatives. (Thanks for being a good teacher Holden.) Plus taking advantage of the great local color film development at South Eastern Camera in Carrboro. Digital cameras are part of my arsenal too.

Yesh.carbonmade.com is a selection of my best photography. It’s where I show what I’m most proud of. If you’d like a head shot taken or maybe a family portrait of you and your kids drop me a line.

Handmade small batch products rock!

A few weeks ago I saw a awesome video about Raleigh Denim. They’re a small company in Raleigh, NC who makes high quality jeans. Even though I haven’t tried on their product, yet, I’m sold. Maybe it was the story telling craft of the short documentary. But it’s also my love of products that are handmade and done in small batches.

Of course there are many other factors that sell you on something. But as a social entrepreneur I’m enthralled with a return to quality. Globalization and greed has destroyed the viable economics of making small batch products. North Carolina is one of the hardest hit States in the US in this regard. Our furniture and fiber arts are now a fraction of the state economy it once was. The effect is a loss of thousands of jobs. A serious problem for many many people.

My mother’s father Lester was a huge influence on me. Not just because of his kindness but because of his craftsmanship. He worked most of his adult life making furniture. While he was a manufacturer he had pride in craft.

Granddad helped me learn to love making things. It didn’t hurt he gave me all kinds of tools and showed me how to use them. I expect its because of him I love things like Raleigh Denim. Its fascinating how people, long after their death, can have profound effects on their children. I wonder what lasting effects I will have on my son?

Raleigh Denim isn’t the only example. Here’s a video about Oxxford Clothes, who claim to be, the last hand crafted suit tailor in the United States.

As I work to create new businesses with awesome products and services I will remember these companies. May all the things I sell be as special.

The face and future

Internet search giant Google held a official press conference in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina today. You can read more about it in these news stories.
Herald-Sun
News and Observer
Triangle Business Journal

If I may I’d like to add a bit of personal commentary to this story. I feel Orange County, ALL OF IT, is well suited for the future of doing business. Especially on-line. A major reason I feel this way is because we’ve heavily invested in knowledge, quality of life, and creativity.

The Research Triangle Park blog wrote about this event today. They have a pretty good description of the event. Better than the pro-media press coverage in my humble opinion. But the part that most interested me was their last paragraph.

“But still, why choose Chapel Hill for the big unveiling? [Google Vice President for Global Agency and Industry Development] Penry Price had an answer: “We looked at the way business is growing in North Carolina.” He said they wanted a fair representation of the face and future of all the types of US cities Google works with, and Chapel Hill fit that bill.

This is says to me that from an economic development perspective we should stick with our strengths and stop trying to be like the rest of the Triangle. i.e. building new shopping malls and office parks

I’m also crossing my fingers that this event hints at some Google Fiber coming our way… 🙂