My occasional co-blogger Prasad Thammineni was recently featured on Amex’s OPEN, sharing four intuitive ways that he promotes innovation around the OfficeDrop office. (OPEN Forum is a pretty interesting strategy by American Express to offer their small business card owners a place to share best practices on running their companies.)

Prasad lists a few of the things we try to do at OfficeDrop to be more innovative… As with the OfficeDrop name change process, Prasad makes sure to employ all of the clever minds around the office, not just the over paid ones like mine…

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Innovating on a Shoestring

June is Innovation month in New England and in the spirit of fostering innovation, I have been reading up some books and sharing those ideasVikram Kumar, CTO of  at Pixily, shared a video interview of Scott Anthony, the author of Silver Lining. There are some simple and yet powerful ideas  recommended in the book. Take a look at the video:

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Can I execute on the business idea?

In how to choose the right business idea, I introduced the concept of the Idea Funnel.  Like me, you could use the idea funnel to narrow down a bunch of startup business ideas into few viable ones. I talked about stage 1 of the due diligence process, namely, “Is the idea viable?”. In this post, I will present the second and final stage, namely, “Can I execute on it?”. 

Stage 2: Can I execute on the business idea?

In stage 2, you are focused on things that you need to successfully take your business idea to the market. Here are the few things you need to have:

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How to choose the right business idea?

Last week, I gave a talk on “Starting a Business upon Graduation”  to a group of Harvard Business School students. In addition to sharing my experiences in starting Pixily right after graduating from Wharton, I shared my approach on how one should zero in on a viable business idea. 

I approach the idea development process similar to how one approaches sales leads within a sales funnel (see below). I start of with a number of rough business ideas and put each idea through the due diligence funnel. Some make it through the funnel and some don’t. Ideas that make it through the funnel are more viable and have a higher chance of being successful.

Using the Idea Funnel to choose the right business idea

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How much is my idea worth?

You probably read quite a few articles on how to answer this question. You have heard extreme things like, “your idea is not worth anything unless you implement it” and “this is how you calculate the true value of your idea”. Well, I am not going to spend anytime addressing this question from that perspective. Instead, I want to share my thoughts on what I think an idea is worth during a firm’s lifetime. I believe the value of an idea diminishes as time passes and instead, is replaced by the value of its execution.

Day 1: Firm’s value = The idea’s value

On day one, all of you have is the idea. You do not have a product, customers, revenues and of course profits. Most likely, you don’t have a team either. The firm’s value is same as the value of your idea. It could be $0, $1000, or a $1,000,000. Whatever that number is, your firm’s entire value is the number.

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Stealth startups: To blog or not to blog?

To blog or not to blogShould a startup blog even before they are ready to tell the world about their idea? By blogging will you be giving away your idea? Is there a real benefit to creating a blog and updating it on a regular basis? These are questions I asked myself when we founded Pixily and in the ensuing months when we were in stealth mode.

Reflecting back on these questions, we at Pixily wish we started blogging within the first couple of months of founding Pixily. It would have helped us in a number of ways including acquiring customers, being perceived as an authority in the market and in recruiting employees. In this post, I will cover the benefits and in a following post I will talk about blogging strategies that a stealth mode startup can employ.

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