Author Archives: Brad Kingsley

Momentum is the key

Demonstrate Your Startup's Momentum

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I meet with a lot of startup founders on a regular basis. Sometimes these discussions take place at pitch events and sometimes at a more informal coffee or lunch. Since the point of the talk usually has something to do with their venture, the founder gives some basic information about their status. How many staff they have; How long they’ve been working on the venture; How many customers they have; How much revenue they have; etc.

Information about startups is most often presented as a snapshot in time – and the data being as recent as possible because those are usually the more appealing numbers. Even if you go to a site like AngelList, Microventures, or Wefunder, the data is mainly presented as a snapshot in time of where they stand as of that most recent data reporting period.

Snapshot data is only useful though for that short period in time. It shows what the venture looks like “today”. To most investors, and reputable mentors/coaches, this has very little value in really understanding the business. With a single snapshot you have no idea how likely the business is to fail or succeed. You have no idea what the business might be worth. You have no idea if the founders are executing well or not. Why do I say that? Read more »

Margin, Business and Personal

Finances

Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I think of and use the term “margin” I think of the additional beyond the minimum requirement.

In a business sense the margin is the difference between the income and the expenses. (*That difference isn’t always cash-in-hand “profit” by the way.) The margin is often reflected as a percentage and you can easily see from public records what the margin percentage is for publicly traded companies by looking at their quarterly financial reports.

*The reason margin, even “profit margin”, isn’t cash-in-hand money is generally due to things like taxes, capital investments that are depreciated versus expensed, and other reinvestments back into the business. In fact, a certain amount of margin is often necessary just to break even from a cashflow perspective.

In a personal sense margin is very similar. It’s the “extra” you have remaining from your income once your expenses are paid out. If you live paycheck-to-paycheck and have to defer certain expenses until the next check arrives, you likely have little or any margin. But if you stash money into savings or investments on a regular basis, then that represents a level of positive margin for you.

In either business or personal, margin is important. Read more »

ASP.NET 5 and MVC 6

ASP.NET5I’m super-excited about ASP.NET 5 and MVC 6!

I first taught myself to program in the early 80s. I taught myself again in the mid-90s. Then I started OrcsWeb and spent more time do “systems stuff” (I’m both an MCSE and RHCSA) and “business stuff” (yeah, it takes a lot of time to run a business!). Now that I’m no longer running OrcsWeb, I’ve toyed with the idea of teaching myself programming again.

My first tinker into the space so far has been Swift for iOS development. I’ve also been kicking around the idea of learning Ruby on Rails. But honestly I’d love to (re)learn .NET. I’ve looked into it, then I abandon the idea. Then I look into it again, then I abandon the idea. Why? Well, it’s just so freaking complex. The nice thing about RoR or Swift is that it-is-what-it-is. You learn it and go. With .NET there is always the question of Webforms, or MVC? Or maybe Razor? Do I use ADO.NET, LINQ, or maybe Entity Framework? Or something else? And those questions are just the tip of the iceberg. Some might say “just pick one and learn it” but I’d hate to invest time and energy into something that might go the way of Silverlight.

But, now it seems that many of my concerns have been addressed with ASP.NET 5 and MV 6. According to the almost-always-red-shirt-wearing Scott Guthrie, the latest version of .NET is a huge step forward on many fronts – including the concerns that I just mentioned and that have keep me from embracing the stack. I can’t wait to see how things play out as the technologies continue to move through their development cycles and into production-ready format.

I also need to determine the best way to learn it now. I’ve always been a tinker-with-it-until-you-learn-it kind of person, but it would also be nice to find a good bootcamp option to just quickly ramp up within a couple of weeks and hit the ground running. If any of you know of any good .NET5/MVC6 bootcamp options, let me know in the comments section.

Happy coding!

Cloud Server Flexibility

Rise about the cloud server hosting restrictions

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been in the industry for a long time, so I understand why the big cloud players want to lock users into predefined configurations of compute, memory, and storage. It helps balance and maximize resources, which optimizes their platform density, and of course brings them higher margins.

But this isn’t best for customers. If I have a cloud server with 2 cores, 4 GB of RAM, and 100 GB of disk, I might just want/need to upgrade one of those resources without upgrading the others. Why would I, as a customer, want to pay 2x more and double all of my resources if I just needed a bit more RAM? This lack of flexibility comes at a cost to consumers and I think it’s beyond time to push back a bit. Don’t settle for the predefined packages that some providers are trying to force on you.

There are other options of course. Look at the cloud server hosting options from OrcsWeb – they’re totally flexible and you can adjust any single resource to fit your needs. Or if you prefer to pay post-use, check out the Performance Cloud hosting solution from SherWeb. BTW – another nice things about the SherWeb solution, beyond flexibility, is their transparency in publishing performance metrics and comparisons so you can not only compare price and configurations, but real-world performance expectations of the platform.

Cloud server consumers – it’s time to stand up for your rights. :)

Happy hosting!

Friends and Family “Round” Investing

MeInRedJacketA lot of people who approach angel investors are – or think they are – at a point that they’ve got most of their problems solved and they want a bunch of money to accelerate their plans.

I want to clarify for my social followers though – Read more »