Just published on my YouTube channel:
The Difference Between Analytics and Big Data (The Naked analyst Episode 4)
'Getting down to brass tacks' is an American expression that means 'get to the important facts'. This is what I want to do in this post. There are two reasons for this. Firstly I just realized that I have now posted to this blog over 200 times. Secondly, I am about to graduate from the Founder Institute (FI).
Both are milestones I want to celebrate by continuing on from my recent blog entry Helping Hands. In short I want to answer as directly (and as tactfully as I can) the question: How has the Founder Institute really helped me?
On reflection, these are the key insights I have gained:
None of the above is 100% of a surprise to me but what the FI has done is to drive home how vital each is. And maybe that is the most important lesson learnt so far: to rigorously focus on the customer, meet their needs. If you can do that - and 100 other things - then you will make money.
Sounds simple, doesn't it?
One final comment. If you are considering starting your own high-tech startup, then I recommend the FI program as an option.
Before starting the program I did a lot of research on alternatives. I chose the FI because it was very practically focused on building a company, extremely cheap for what they seemed to offer and it was part time.
Now on the cusp of graduation I am happy (and relieved) to confirm that the FI has lived up to its promise. It has been a fantastic experience. One that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Come what may.
Continuing on my YouTube Channel covering everything you wanted to know about being an analyst, business analyst, data scientist, and any other data-using role in business today.
Here is part 2 of my tips on how to land a job in analytics:
As mentioned before, I've also put together a related playlist on YouTube of a few videos that include those made by others on similar topics that I have found on the net. 30 minutes of watching this whole list should give you some insight into how you can go about finding that first job. Good luck!
I've just started a YouTube Channel covering everything you wanted to know about being an analyst, business analyst, data scientist, and any other data-using role in business today.
I'm doing this because I want to give back a little to the analytic community that has given me such a great career. In short, each video will give you (hopefully useful) tips from a 25 year veteran of the analytic profession. My hope is that people will find it a useful way to spend a couple of minutes and that it will compliment this blog.
I may live to regret the name 'The Naked Analyst' but hopefully most viewers will notice that I am, in fact, not broadcasting naked and will move on to more fertile pastures! I chose the name hoping that this will indicate my 'unaligned' status. Unaligned in that I am talking about analytics without any particular bias or influence from the myriad of vendors and consulting companies.
So no hidden agendas and no marketing push to buy the lastest tool from a vendor promising to solve all of the problems in your organisation. Not that this ever happens ...
Here are the first 2 videos. The first is a quick introduction to the channel:
This second video is Part 1 of some tips for people who would like to get their first job as an analyst:
I've also put together a related playlist on YouTube of a few videos that include those made by others on similar topics that I have found on the net. 30 minutes of watching this whole list should give you some insight into how you can go about finding that first job. Good luck!
nanos gigantum humeris insidentes
Regular readers already know the journey I am on with the founding of Six Degrees of Data and our work building a new way to read those documents that we should be reading but don't have the time for.
As a part of this journey I have been completing the Founder Institute's 2014 program in Sydney. The reason for this post is to explain a little about why I decided to follow this program and what the reality has been.
I'm still about 4 weeks away from completing the program, so I can still 'fail' and this should be thought of as an interim report. I will try to write again after the program ends. I may have a different message then.
I chose the Founder Institute (FI) because research showed that it was the startup accelerator that had the following features I wanted:
It may be that your needs are very different from mine, so the FI may not be as good a fit as it has been for me (so far). There are a lot of other programs out there so do your research - and I'm happy to talk to anyone considering their options. Drop me a line.
The reality of actually doing the FI has, of course, been different - but not as different as I'd feared. On the whole the FI has lived up to expectations and this has been a very pleasant surprise for me. After all, teaching entrepreneurship is something a lot of people are very skeptical about. Put like that, I have to agree but I think this misses the point of the FI program.
I agree that you can't teach entrepreneurship as such. It has to come from inside of you - and you have to want it bad because chances are success is going to take a lot more time than you imagine. Just speak to any seasoned entrepreneur if you doubt me.
What you can do is accelerate the progress entrepreneurs are able to make. That's the true wonder of the FI and why it really is an accelerator. With less than a month till I complete the program, I already look back and can see that I am a lot further along than I would have been.
This is partly because of my own endeavours. I have worked hard and the 'part-time' part of the program often feels more like 'full-time'. Beyond this, what has been critically important for me has been then input, feedback and support of the mentors who attend every session. These are all seasoned and successful entrepreneurs who turn up each night and generously share their war stories, wisdom and contacts.
The best parts of the course may be the long sessions in the bar afterwards. The mentors give their time freely and I just hope that they know how appreciated they are by all us program founders.
Their participation is the backbone of the program. It sounds a bit clichéd as I write this, but I have heard more true words of wisdom and been given more business insights in the last few months than during all of the last 5 years I spent working as a senior executive in a global media company.
I can hardly believe it myself, so I won't hold it against anyone who doesn't believe me!
There is a big proviso to all of this and that is that success in the FI requires that you are either well prepared (in terms of developing your product) or able to move at the pace the program requires. Laggards will almost always flounder and have to drop out. To be fair to the FI, they warn you of this and the 'rules' are pretty clear up front.
The fact that only 5 companies remain of the 28 people that started the program, attest to this fact. Some dropped because they were simply unprepared for the pace of the program, while others could not satisfy the program mentors that their ideas would be enough to sustain a company.
Add to that the fact that you have to pass tests in order to get into the program in the first place. So the odds of completing the program are against you.
This is all to the FI's credit as the 'real' world is just as harsh, with 90%+ of tech startups failing in their first years. It may bruise your ego, but failing fast has got to be better (cheaper) than failing slowly. Right?
Plus there is the smugness of still being in the program.
That's a nice little boost to the ego at a time of great stress. I can hear Ben's voice in the back of my head: Whoo-hoo as he would say ...
Well I am and that's the whole reason I started Six Degrees of Data - so I really hope that people are overloaded ...
Luckily, just about everyone I talk too agrees with me but I have now finally had the chance to do some original research into this assertion.
But first a little context. I decided to invite 1,300 people on my LinkedIn network to answer a set of questions about their reading habits, needs and strategies. I quickly received over 120 completed responses and the results were (I think) very interesting. Detailed survey results appear below but the headlines are:
Here are the answers to all 21 questions:
If you would like to keep in touch as any further research we do is published or simply want to be kept up to date as we launch our first products, then go to our web site at www.6ddbridger.com or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to our (no-spam) mailing list.
As a part of our pivot to a desktop product we looked around at the options in Australia to grow our idea into a real business. After a month or two researching and asking the advice of a wide range of people, we settled on the Founder Institute (FI).
The Founder Institute is the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program, helping aspiring founders across the globe build enduring technology companies. At its heart is a four-month, part-time program, where you “learn by doing” and launch a company through structured training courses, practical business-building assignments, and expert feedback.
At the Sydney program there are over 40 mentors involved in the current program and the whole thing is being orchestrated by Benjamin Chong of both Right Click Capital and the Sydney Seed Fund. Lets just say that the man is a human dynamo and he brings an energy and intensity that is refreshing after the more staid world of corporate global media.
The simple reason we chose the FI were that they seem to offer a very practical approach to accelerating high tech start-ups. So we applied and were (thankfully) accepted after passing a set of tests.
Well it is now 6 weeks since we were accepted into the Sydney 2014 program. That's about the half-way mark and the pace has been hectic. But Six Degrees of Data is still in the program. Of the 28 founders who started, there are now only 11 left. The reasons for such a big withdrawal rate are:
I'm pretty happy to still be around as the FI is proving true to its word and it is directly helping to build Six Degrees of Data. I can highly recommend the program to anyone who is serious about getting out and building their own dream high tech start-up.
It ain't peaceful, but boy it's fun!
Pivot: (verb) turn on or as if on a pivot. In a startup it is a strategy for iteratively searching for a repeatable and scalable business model
At christmas we reviewed our strategy based on 6 weeks of feedback from our early adopters. The decision was to pivot and change Bridger from a mobile solution to a desktop one. Another 6 weeks have passed and I have learnt a thing or two that I feel it is worth sharing.
The good news is that there is good news. While pivoting is scary, we all feel that we have a better product now emerging. The consensus is that we are gaining:
We think that we will resume beta testing in about 6 weeks time. So the pivot is looking to have taken less than 3 month's to achieve (assuming no hidden disasters). The mobile version of Bridger took about 18 months to develop from the prototype stage. So the pivot will take only a sixth of that time. Is that fast enough to be considered lean? No idea, it is what it is. Certainly we are continuing to operate on the whiff of an oily rag so any progress measured in weeks is a plus.
At the start of this blog, I said that pivoting is scary because the lean books and websites 'pushing' pivots don't deal with the emotional investment you make in the original concept. It is your baby and as any parent will tell you, criticism of your child is hard to take and even harder to act on.
Although at 6DD we are now all hard at work building the new desktop Bridger, there is also a feeling of of inertia that is still to be fully overcome. Maybe inertia is the wrong word. It's more like regaining momentum after stopping the original strategy and switching to the new.
That's what I've learnt so far and I don't think we are unique in this. So if you are considering a pivot then I recommend that you spend a significant effort minimizing the emotional impact on yourself and your team. It is an intangible element that can suck the life out of your venture if you don't manage it well.
After all, if the empirical evidence tells you to change tack, what other options do you have?
We launch today version 1.0 of our new mobile web app. We're hoping to build a community of users that find Bridger a mind blowing new way to explore documents and web pages.
If you are a student, a knowledge worker or anyone who wants to get to the nitty gritty quickly in documents, articles etc., Bridger will change forever the way you look at documents.
Just go to our website http://www.sixdegreesofdata.com from your mobile device. The application is free.
If you enjoy using it, tell your friends!