WTF!?, I cried as I discovered that half of all the company’s cash equivalents had been withdrawn from its bank account. But when I found out who had made the withdrawal, I realized we had not been screwed. We had been robbed. The investors’ money, my face. It was gone.
A short week earlier the company had held a board meeting. The director of the board and my partner (who I will keep anonymous) had naturally resigned, arguing that he wanted to focus on private matters. The board had been discussing the change of board seats and settlements, but disagreed. I have never ever witnessed such an unprofessional behavior from anyone I’ve trusted in business.
Business Model Press is based on Business Model Canvas by Alex Osterwalder, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.
Blogging is not only useful for introducing ideas. It’s also the primary way many companies communicate with and get feedback from their customers – making blogging a killer opportunity for business model- and customer development.
After having more than 100 students and 20 startup teams doing exactly that – blog their business model – I learned that it helped the teams systemize collaboration, speed up the learning process, get going with customer development and more quickly take action on their business model assumptions.
Yet, the teams still had to download the business model canvas, convert it into a picture, upload it to PowerPoint, take notes on top of it, and store it as a new picture. Following, they had to upload, resize, and import it to the editorial before finally publishing – and repeat for each and every iteration of the business model. Not very efficient.
TechCrunch recently published a timely article questioning if Norway is leaving its tech startups out in the cold. Here’s why the discussion needs another angle and the problem in fact is the problem.
Mike Butcher starts out comparing the ones of Spotify, Rovio, Tradeshift, and Everbread to the lack of evidence of successful startups from Norway, even pondering upon Opera as a half-fledged success. The arguments are as half the truth as pointing at Bipper and Wonderloop (both Norwegian semi-expats) as examples of the opposite.
You already know that getting your value proposition right is critical to your business model. You can have the best features, the most perfectly executed presentation, the most stunning price, but no one will ever know of it if they don’t get past your high-level value proposition. But how do you craft such a pitch?
Continuously looking to perfect your value proposition you’d consult lengthy articles only to find that there’s a jungle of advise out there. What you need are applicable templates from entrepreneurs and investors who have successfully given and taken thousands of pitches, right?
So I’ve put together 7 proven templates that are designed to help you create a clear, compelling value proposition in minutes.
#1 Geoff Moore’s Value Positioning Statement
Probably the most recognized one – in his seminal book Crossing the Chasm – Geoff Moore suggests a specific template for creating your value positioning. In addition to the first part below he also introduces a second statement focused on competitive positioning (see for your self).
For ____________ (target customer)
who ____________ (statement of the need or opportunity)
our (product/service name) is ____________ (product category)
that (statement of benefit) ____________ .
For non-technical marketers
who struggle to find return on investment in social media
our product is a web-based analytics software that translates engagement metrics into actionable revenue metrics.
This collection includes the early websites of Facebook (still with the The), 37signals, LinkedIn (not that bad in fact), eBay (without the pictures I’m afraid), Twitter (probably the first sketch), and more. Note that some may miss CSS and therefore may not display identical to the original.
If “preach what you teach” still holds, this better be a minimum viable blog post. As far as I put the slide deck together in under 1o minutes, did the research for it during a quick train trip this morning, and publish this as soon as possible (even if it’s a bad time to post), it would need iterations..
As inventors of the object-oriented programming language and the modern GSM technology, you would expect Norway to have the perfect ingredients for a vibrant startup scene. If you, however, search this or any other notable tech blog for news on early-stage Norwegian startups, you would find next to nothing.
While Nordic and Baltic startups seems to thrive, why don’t we see any ventures emerging out of Norway, several Nordic and European professionals questioned me. After talking to a handful of entrepreneurs, investors, and scholars about why this is the case, I discovered seven symptoms of the Norwegian start-up ecosystem that might explain why Norway’s tech innovation is lagging behind that of its neighbors.
Found and lost
Called “black gold” the Norwegian oil imperium is the usual suspect and by long the cliché. But it is still the most used argument in explaining why Norway lags behind its Nordic counterparts. As Finnish Travelling Salesman (Kristoffer Lawson) reports from his visit to Norway in autumn 2010: “Software is not at Norway’s heart”. That needs a closer look.
As mentioned above, Norwegian researchers developed the object-oriented programming language back in 1960, which was later used for creating Java and many of today’s popular web application frameworks. In fact, oil & energy industry is still dependent on specialized software to work its magic. Similarly, this industry needs communication systems and infrastructure. That is why today many Norwegian software developers work and have their customers in this space.
The problem, however, is that this space is pretty much owned by large service providers and consulting companies, and much of supply and demand exists inside of Norway. Although the oil & energy industry might not have a direct impact on tech startup scene, it plays a substantial role on the industry structure that makes up the startup ecosystem.
Hi. Tor Grønsund here. I'm the founder of Lingo and a lecturer of entrepreneurship at the University of Oslo. Currently I'm writing Startup Vikings, a book series that features Nordic entrepreneurs and their lessons learned from building successful tech companies. Other attributions and references include Stanford University, UC Berkeley, INSEAD, Wall Street Journal blog, and leading national publications. Continue ...