Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lean Coffee: Culture

Today at Lean Coffee Toronto, we discussed Culture as a Competitive Advantage.

A few of my key takeaways:
  • Culture is: The expression of your values
    • Examples: Mediteranian vs.British vs. German
  • Can be a big advantage for small companies
  • Business was a lifestyle choice
    • Enjoyed work and stuff outside of work
  • Profit not the only motive -- sustainability too
  • Formalized profit-sharing (after setting aside 3 months emerg. money)
  • Working Group working retreat: Amazing ideas, great team building
  • Marked a commitment to the future and to the team
    • Defining the culture was a group effort
  • Building a "post-modern" company: happiness and fulfillment as well as profit
  • Reference: "Drive" (Dan Pink)
  • Even in bad times, continued to do "extra" stuff like team retreats
  • Growth spurts can hurt culture
  • It takes a lot of time to hire people that meet the culture
    • Often creates problems when companies grow quickly
  • Ties into organization, process, procedures, scalability
  • In small companies, culture is based on your personality
    • When you grow, you need to abstract your values
    • Successful models: Zappos, Apple, Google
  • Employees drive culture in subtle ways -- when they show up, conversations, etc
  • Culture defined stronger when founders are very involved in day-to-day ops
  • People want ownership of stuff
  • Is culture like a brand? Difference between reality and what is said/written
Thanks to Andres and Dom from TWG for hosting and facilitating today!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lean Coffee: Pricing and Estimation

Today's Lean Coffee was hosted by Matthew Bertulli at the beautiful Mango Studios.

I managed to jot down a few notes from the session:
  • What is your market?
    • Enterprise pricing very different
  • Your pricing determines what type of customers you'll get
  • Estimating ties into pricing to determine whether a business is viable
  • Estimating your customer acquisition cost if important
  • Price as high as the market will bear
  • Should you price yourself based on cost?
    • Generally not, but should at least be considered a minimum
  • Should never offer a B2B app to businesses for free
  • B2C generally needs to have a free option
  • Estimating is very hard, and you will always underestimate
  • Estimating product costs: How long can you survive on no money?
  • Pricing: What are the alternatives?
    • What is the premium value you're offering?
  • Estimating: At least double it -- there are always unknowns

See you at the next!