Newsletter for week of Feb 22

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Life Beyond Code Newsletter
Issue for the week of Feb 22, 2009
Hello All,

Hope you had a great start for this year.

Honestly, I have been struggling with what to share in the newsletter.

Now, that’s not a great way to start a newsletter relationship, isn’t it?
Thinking about it, even if I spend a few more weeks deciding on the topic, I might not be satisfied with the answer. The best way is to start somewhere.

I will keep this newsletter part personal and part education. I know some of you on this list but I probably don’t know hundreds of you. Over the next few weeks and months, my goal is to get to know you and start building a relationship.

This week let me share a few lessons with examples from my own life.

1. No threat, no action:

Yes, if there is no threat, there is no trigger to take action. over the last few months, we have been trying to negotiate a deal (let’s say with a company A) at in one of my portfolio companies. Discussions seem to move forward but they would vaporize into thin air every now and then. Last week was different. One of the investors in this portfolio company talked to us and mentioned that he would be able to connect us to the competitor of company A.

Long story short, things started moving swiftly with Company A when they learned about the potential competition. There was a clear threat for Company A and that was clear to them 🙂

What didn’t move for weeks started moving in a matter of few hours. That is the power of a threat.

Of course,  this is hindsight 20-20. We didn’t plan this but it happened in a way to provide us an advantage.

Now, what’s the lesson: In your own situations, think about what is the threat for people to NOT accept what you are offering. If there is none, either re-create what you are offering or go to some other customers.

2. Unreasonable deadlines spark creativity

I am involved in another business that had literally NOTHING a few months ago – except a plan in the back of the napkin.

Since this was a bootstrapped project, there was no way it could have had the momentum of a funded project. So it was going on at a slower pace.

Last week, I talked to a VC friend to validate the idea. I had clarified to the VC friend that I was not interested in raising money now as we were not ready. The day before the call with the VC, magically an overview document was ready. One week ago, there was no document – most of the stuff was in our heads. And the day before the call, it appeared from nowhere 🙂

Then something else happened. The VC friend said, this is interesting enough to warrant a meeting with his partner two days later. Obviously we were not ready to have that conversation so pushed the meeting back by one week.

Now, from that day onwards things are “magically” happening at a breathtaking speed. We only have a week to put several things on paper. So we are asking for more HELP, reaching out to more people and just simply “walking the extra mile.” Without that deadline, things would not have moved this fast.

Now, whatever may happen in the funding situation, the amount of work that will get done before the next meeting will be HUGE for us.

Here is the quick lesson: Set an unreasonable deadline for one of your projects and watch miracles happen.
That’s it for this edition.
All of you have a great week ahead.