Author Archives: Brad Kingsley

How hard is it to give away your product?

I’m going to give the first 1,000 customers a free X [whatever] to start using and spread the word. Since it is free, of course they’ll use it – why wouldn’t they?

MeInRedJacketWell, there are probably a million reasons why. This over-simplified statement, especially as a key part of the go-to-market strategy, is naive and bothersome. Maybe they’ll use it, maybe they won’t. I’m not going to buy into this assumption though – especially a literal buy-in where you are asking for an investment.

Yes, I know, there are plenty of freemium solutions in existence, and some of them extremely popular. Don’t let the freemium model confuse you though – a free product with the ability to purchase upgrades/features/stuff is different from your for-sale product being given away to the first few customers. If you really think that just seeing it in action is going to be enough for them to rave about it, then just show them. Set up a demo site; or maybe a video; or a webcast; or perhaps a prototype if it is a physical product.

I’m skeptical by default. I think most angel investors are. Founders don’t start ventures because they think they’re crappy – they think, often very passionately, that their venture will be a huge success. Part of an early investor’s job is to play the devil’s advocate and poke holes in the idea. And a smart founder is going to want smart people to poke holes in their idea. Sometimes the best feedback a founder can receive is going to be hard to hear.

Cloud Server Performance Metrics

It’s hard to really know what you get when buying cloud services today. Depending on the vendor they might sell their services with set amounts of “cores”, or “compute units”, or “vCPUs”. Storage might be spinning disks in speeds ranging from 7,200 RPM to 15,000 RPM or the storage might be newer solid state drives which come in MLC, SLC, and a large variety of performance levels. RAM quantities are fairly straight forward (though is that gigabyte 1,000 or 1,024 megabytes?) but the speed levels of RAM vary drastically. Read more »

Obama’s Free Community College Idea

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

[I use “I” a lot below, but hey, it works since this is an opinion piece. :>]

I like it, but I also don’t like it. I like it because college level education is very expensive and beyond the reach of some people; or within reach but they wind up with huge college loan debt when they graduate and spend the next 20 years paying off loans. I don’t like it because I’m not sure if a 2-year community college degree is going to be useful enough. Sure, if we are able to accelerate learning, and focus on actual beneficial training, the 2-year degree would be good. Read more »

My Best Thoughts Don’t Happen When I’m Near a Computer

MeInRedJacketI sit here and ponder a good blog post topic. It’s frustrating because it seems that I have all these great ideas that I want to write about, but rarely when I’m actually at a computer and in writing mode.

This tells me two things:

1) My mind is more creative when I’m unplugged. I get a LOT of good thoughts (well, I think they’d be good :>) while I’m running. Part of that might be the “runner’s high” and stimulated by the workout itself. But I also get good ideas while walking in the woods, or out on a boat (fishing or chilling), or sometimes while reading a book. The ideas come at me at all sorts of times, but they definitely come at me more when I’m offline than when I’m online. When I’m online I’m generally focused on a task so I guess that hinders the creative juices.

2) I need to make notes. I get these ideas, then they’re gone. Sometimes they last and I can still recall them when I’m in writing mode, but more often than not – they’re done. I need to figure a good way to take notes on these ideas while I’m offline. Perhaps I need to start a practice of pulling out my phone and dictating a note message to myself; or using a “notes app” to jot down a few ideas. Or maybe I need to go totally old-school and keep my notebook near me (yes, I do have an actual paper notebook that I take to some meetings).

So to maintain my creativity and idea-flow, I need to make sure I’m spending a decent amount of time unplugged, and I need to develop a good practice on taking notes for these ideas.

When do you have your best ideas? And what do you use to take notes of these ideas for later reflection?

Price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio – what is it and why care?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

P/E ratios are a good quick gauge of the value of an investment. It is limited, and there is a ton of additional information to consider when making an investment, but it is a nice quick-view metric.

The P/E ratio of a stock is the stock’s price divided by the earnings per share. So if a stock is priced at $20 per share, and the underlying company most recently earned $1 per share (total earnings divided by the number of shares), then the P/E ratio would be 20 (20/1).

…and so what? Well, a P/E ratio of 20 means Read more »