JFDI 2014A

I am back to trying to focus my efforts outside of Spuul in one place again this year – which is JFDI batch 2014A.


Last Thursday I met with with a few from the list but I think some have already changed their names. I will wait to see who I end up spending the most time with since it is usually up to the teams to ping me for follow up.

For now I have had the most conversations with http://storyroll.co/ and http://stylehunt.com/ . Storyroll is fascinating since it is some guys from Lithuania coming to singapore, frying their asses off, to make a go of the program. I figure I can help a bit given my video and consumer product background. For stylehunt I am always partial to the Thais and it turns out I am from the same part of the world as one of the founders which is cool.

We shall see who continues to bug me as the program rolls on and I will see what kind of impact I can have. Exciting stuff!

Before I get to my tiny advice column I will recall the dinner we had with Werner Vogels and some of what we learned from talking to him. The key takeaway I had was that Amazon is still lots of small teams working on lots of projects. As big as Amazon is today the small team ethos is still going strong. I dig that. The other thing Werner mentioned was how the team still writes the marketing one pager, the FAQ and the press release before any code is written. I love this. I should try to do this at Spuul as well.

It’s good advice to focus on what you want the customer to experience and then work backwards to make it happen. I am sure there are tons of ways to do this or to manage the process but the basics are pretty clear. Don’t code or draw pictures first. Take the time to write out what you hope to build before building.

Obviously this may not work for everyone who has already started making something or is in the program however I think for those who are in the JFDI program there is another way to handle this.

This is the advice I was giving out on Thursday to the companies I met individually with. I have seen a few batches go though the system and generally if one can keep themselves organized and productive leading up to investor day then the odds of success, as far as the program is concerned, are much higher. Fall apart, lose track of time, bicker, try to build too much, or lose sight of the product – will lead you to a bad investor day.

One could hope for breakout success, killer metrics, a sick viral loop or a crazy amount of pr – but pinning your success on the things that may not happen is not very smart. If these things happen consider them a bonus but instead focus on the event. The investor day. Imagine yourself or your team up there presenting, have a vision for what you want to say, make a few slides now that will be the boilerplate for that final day and focus on projecting now what you will accomplish on that stage.

Then work backwards to make it happen. Manage each week precisely enough, don’t go crazy about it, to ensure that you are meeting your weekly milestones that will add up to your successful investor day.

As a member of an accelerator program you are in a time compression chamber. Manage it will and you will succeed.

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