InsightStudios Is Off To An Great Start

I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on what we've accomplished in 2016. As we wrap up the year, I find myself incredibly excited for what 2017 will bring. Our plan for InsightStudios is coming into focus, and it's a beautiful thing. We are changing the enterprise innovation market and the startup ecosystem at the same time. It's incredible when you stop and think about it.

Insights From CIO West

I recently attended the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in San Francisco on May 18 & 19. The conference was worthwhile for me as I met a number of serious innovators, particularly in the audience and during the networking events. 

For those of you who couldn't make it, I thought it might be useful to summarize some of the themes I heard over and over again during the two day event.

How The Insanely Great Standard Is Embedded In Our Development Process

Everything in startups follows a power law function. The reality for most early-stage portfolios, returns are not linear.

"People are uncomfortable talking about inequality, so they either ignore it or rationalize it away. It is psychologically difficult for investors to admit that their best investment is worth more than the rest of their portfolio companies combined. So they ignore or hide that fact, and it becomes a secret." - Peter Thiel, class notes from CS183.

In one of our startups, Acquisition Science, our biggest customer accounts for 90% of total revenue. This is normal especially when you are an early stage company trying to find and validate product-market fit. This doesn't make me sleep well at night, but it's often the reality when building a startup. The 80/20 rule, or 90/10 rule in this case, exists naturally in all kinds of systems.

We think the power law function applies to ideas as well. This is something that is difficult for traditional startups to get their minds around.

Let's say you have a killer idea and you've found inspiration to start and startup. You just quit your job and are willing to risk it all to change the world. But what if you find out there isn't a viable market for your idea? What does it take for you to realize and accept this?

Cultural Barriers To Enterprise Innovation (Part 3 of 3)

In two previous posts, I outlined several cultural barriers to innovation. The first post covers fear of failure and expected value bias. These cultural barriers are alone sufficient to stifle innovation. In the second post, I describe the business case bias and execution bias which both prevent new, innovative ideas from taking root in the enterprise. 

In this third post, I’m going to complete the analysis of cultural barriers by covering alignment bias, retirement bias and strategic fit bias. 

Why We Spin Up & Spin Out

Helen Fisher - Explorer vs Builder and how it relates to this chart. 

I like to do new things. It's my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.

Steve Blank talks about this in the context of his entrepreneurial career. In his assessment, he believes he is a "creative CEO." It took him eight startups to realize this. Being a creative CEO means you are good at inventing new ways of solving problems. This is a great asset. But here's the rub: creative CEO's suck at getting the company to scale.

Cultural Barriers To Enterprise Innovation (Part 1 of 3)

I recently wrote a blog post that is a critical review of lean startup training programs from companies like Moves the Needle. In this post, I mentioned deeply-rooted cultural and structural barriers that destroy innovation in large enterprises. I'd like to explore these barriers in more detail, so we can better understand what they are and how they destroy innovation in the enterprise. 

This post is the first of two posts exploring cultural barriers that exist in large enterprises. A subsequent post will describe structural barriers.