Bethan Palmer Bethan is a Java developer and a Java Champion. She has spoken at conferences including JavaOne/Code One, DevFest and NetBeans days. She has a degree in English Literature.

5 thing I learned from reading Nathan Chan’s Foundr book

2 min read

Foundr bookIf you have ever thought about starting your own business, the new Foundr book is a good place to start. Foundr magazine is something of a phenomenon created Nathan Chan.

Foundr has exploded out of Australia to create a successful global brand and his list of people interviewed reads like a who’s who of the great and the good in business, starting with Richard Branson.  Now he has run a very over-successful crowded-funded campaign on Kickstarter and collected all that knowledge into one volume.

It offers advice on getting started, developing a product, working with people, marketing, branding and finance, as well as how to develop as an entrepreneur. It also gives you a couple of case studies for each section.

These are just some of the key things I learned from reading it.

1. How to build a lean startup

Steve Blank offers some tips on creating a lean startup. He recommends the following 3 steps:

  1. Develop your hypotheses – understand what problem you are trying to solve and why people would use your solution to solve it
  2. Test your hypotheses – talk to lots of people about your product and get their feedback
  3. Show your prototypes – create a ‘minimum viable product’ and adjust it after getting feedback

2. When to give up

It can be tough to decide that an idea you have is not working and should be ditched. But how long do you keep trying for? There is no clearly defined answer to this but questions you should ask yourself are:

  1. Is anyone interested in using your product?
  2. Is your product better than what is out there already?

If the answer is no to both, maybe it is time to rethink. But if your product is useful to some people, or if you are using it and it is solving a problem really well for you, it might be worth persevering.

3. How to build a team

Steve Mehr offers 3 tips for building a team:

  1. Put aside your ego – accept that you do not know everything and will need people to take on things your skill set does not cover
  2. Hire hungry people (we are assuming they mean for success, not their lunch) – don’t be afraid to hire ambitious people
  3. Don’t give too much control to unproven leaders

4. What makes a good brand

Here at IDRsolutions we have recently spent some time thinking about branding, so this section was of particular interest. Shaun Neff first recommends finding out what you stand for. You should work out what the most important things are to your consumers. And then work out what will make them want to choose your product over a competitor’s. Work hard to make your brand unique.

5. Why bootstrapping can be a good idea

Founders have to choose if they want to raise capital or start from scratch and do it all themselves. The upside to this approach is you can get stuck in straight away. Plenty of people use waiting for funding as an excuse not to start, and nothing ever happens. But bootstrapping means that you are forced to make something customers really want or need straight away. This is the idea Seth Godin sets out in The Bootstrapper’s Bible.

These are just a few of the areas covered in the book. What makes it particularly useful is the sections are short and to the point. So in a few minutes you can gain an understanding of a concept or take away useful advice. Definitely worth a read.


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Bethan Palmer Bethan is a Java developer and a Java Champion. She has spoken at conferences including JavaOne/Code One, DevFest and NetBeans days. She has a degree in English Literature.

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