“Do you have these symptoms? Here is the problem I think you have and here is how I can help you solve it.”

According to Sean Murphy in “Three Sales Pitches That Never Really Work”

Approaching Early Customers

  • Poor: “Would you like to play with this?”
  • Poor:  “Would you like to use this?”
  • Poor:  “Would you feel bad if our free product was discontinued?”
  • Poor:  “You would be really stupid not to try our product.”
  • Better:  “Do you have these symptoms? Here is the problem we think you have and here is how we can help you solve it.”

Marketing is “Identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”

According to Sean Murphy

For the record I like the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s definition of Marketing: “Identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”

Beware of outreach calls from VC’s

According to Sean Murphy

At a basic level venture capitalists are arbitrageurs: they have access to more information than those with the capital, and access to more capital than those with information, and they profit by exploiting the mismatch.

Ben Thompson in Venture Capital and the Internet’s Impact

One implication that many startups take a while to realize is that VC’s are always gathering information about emerging technologies and products to maintain their advantage. Much of the time an outreach call, especially from a junior associate, is to validate a potential investment in one of your competitors.

“Thousands of semiconductor professionals will be looking for work,” says Daniel Nenni

According to Daniel Nenni

Daniel, aren’t we at a different time, where silicon startups don’t even get funding, etc ?

Yes, that is true. What the VCs do not realize is that without semiconductors there would be no Uber, AirBnB, or the other billion dollar tech unicorns that they have poured their money into.

New semiconductor companies will come from small groups of engineers that use personal investments and seed money to start. Many of them will begin as IP companies or services groups. As I mentioned before, thousands of semiconductor professionals will be looking for work due to the industry consolidation. They will either create new companies or go hungry, my opinion.

Reversify your product offerings

According to Carmine Gallo

“Do you have any advice?” [Nike CEO Mark] Parker asked [Apple CEO Steve] Jobs.

“Well, just one thing,” said Jobs. “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. Absolutely beautiful, stunning products. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”


Tim Cook once commented that a traditional management philosophy taught in business schools is to reduce risk by diversifying your product offerings. Apple, he said, represents the anti–business school philosophy. Apple’s approach is to put its resources behind a few products and commit to making those products exceptionally well.

Ask for the hardest problems

According to Daniel Nenni, regarding the acquisition of Berkeley Design Automation by Mentor Graphics,

BDA built its business by literally asking leading-edge analog/mixed-signal (A/MS) design teams for the problems that no other simulator can handle and providing the solution. BDA would then move “downstream” to run circuit simulations that other simulators could run, but BDA’s Analog FastSPICE simulator would run them 5x-10x faster than any other foundry-certified simulator. They take the same approach to this day. (See BDA History)

To recruit experienced tech workers, preserve their vacation accrual rate

I’m convinced that the retention tool with the most powerful binding force on experienced Silicon Valley engineers is the acceleration of vacation accrual with each year of service.

Eventually it hits a plateau, but it takes a long time to reach that limit.

Smart, ambitious people that are feeling totally uninspired and want to try something new keep coming back to “but I’d have to start over on vacation days!”

They treasure the time they can spend with retired parents, with children who will who soon be off to college, and with a spouse in the same life stage (including the vacation accrual bind).

If you want to recruit experienced tech workers, the key compensation benefit to offer and boast about is that you won’t make them start over on vacation accrual. They aren’t looking for a raise in salary, they are looking for a raise in novelty. But if that means sacrificing special time with family, it’s not worth the price of admission.

Hire the stars you’ve already got

According to Aaron Shapiro

Performance evaluations for managers should include assessment of the volume and quality of new ideas they brought to the table.

But instead there is usually no significant reward for teaching the wider organization new and better ways. And no employee smart enough to have a “secret sauce” is stupid enough to give a company the recipe for free. If the only way to profit from an idea or insight is to keep it a personal trade secret, then that’s what smart people will do.

If CEOs really want their companies to be innovative, they need to pay for it, and translate the spreading of great ideas into significant cold hard cash.

Why not approach your most effective people, who are getting the most measurable results, and offer them a 100% bonus for the year if they teach their methods to everybody?

Would you hire one person for a year if they could greatly increase the effectiveness of the organization? Well, why not just hire the stars you’ve already got?