Making the Leap from Employee to Entrepreneur (Event)

Join me at Founder Institute OC

Check out the great group of mentors!

Do you want to start your own technology company, but don’t know where to get started? You are not alone. Every day millions of people go to jobs they don’t enjoy, but few do something about it. At the “Employee to Entrepreneur” event, you can hear the stories, tips, and best practices of those who left their jobs to pursue their own startup company. Listen to the experiences of people just like you that have made the transition, and discuss any questions or concerns that you have. How do you know if you have a good idea? What are the first steps in an entrepreneurial journey? Join us for a fun evening!

When:   2015-12-16 on 06:30 to 09:00 PM

Where: CrashLabs
234 E 17th street, #117 Plaza Sereno
Costa Mesa, CA

 

My New Role as CEO of Bound

After over a decade in the game business, I am officially setting my sights on something a little different. I am very excited to turn my focus to a new mobile fiction platform – Bound. Bound started out as an experimental project at echoseven labs and has turned into something that we think it going to shake up how you think about prose fiction.

A Little About Bound

I’ll resist the urge to make the big pitch and just share that we’re taking everything we’ve learned from games and applying it to prose fiction. We’ve designed a new user experience from the ground up around a simple way to experience mobile storytelling. After prototyping for the better part of this year, we have a unique format that combines short sessions, in depth companion material, and integrated community.

Bound has already starting signing authors and content partners. Exciting stuff.

Who’s it for?

So if you love great world-building-though-story (you know books, RPG sourcebooks, maps, comics, etc.) then I think you might like Bound. We are assembling an all-star team including some of the best world-builders around. We will be announcing additions to the Bound team in the coming weeks. We are also hiring so watch our job board and Angel List for details if you think you might want to join our expanding adventure party.

Maybe a Launch Party

If any of this sounds interesting, I hope you’ll keep tabs on our progress or request access to the beta. We’ll probably also have a pretty good launch party complete with some super-special guests – so get your email in there and be sure to get an invite.

Serial Entreprenuer…Is There Any Other Kind Anymore?

I read a bio of someone today described as a “serial entrepreneur”.  I am unsure if that has good or bad connotations. If someone was adding an adjective in front of ‘entrepreneur’ when describing me…I would want something else. Entrepreneurs start multiple ventures (sometimes consecutive, sometime in parallel) these days. It is so commonplace to start multiple companies now, I don’t think using the term adds anything.  Maybe in past generations you started one company and stuck with it for life – thus a need to distinguish.

I guess some others had thoughts on the term as well…

Please don’t call yourself a serial entrepreneur

Why I Hate Being Called a Serial Entrepreneur

We Need to Stop Using the Term “Serial Entrepreneurship”

Kickstarter Alert: “Insert Coin: Inside Midway’s ’90s Revolution”

If you get a chance, check out Joshua Tsui’s Kickstarter project “Insert Coin: Inside Midway’s ’90s Revolution”.

If you like it, think about supporting it.

It’s a cool project and Josh is a solid guy.

I’ll be Speaking at PocketGamer Connects July 7-8th in San Francisco

I’ll be speaking at PocketGamer Connects July 7-8th in San Francisco. I will be sharing my thoughts on the business of running studios.

PocketGamer Connect 25% Speakers Discount: SPEAKER25

From the event page:

Why should you attend? Simply because in the space of 2 days you’ll discover more about the mobile games market than you would in 2 months anywhere else, including:

  • Get essential insight from international experts in the Indie Survival Guide
  • Gain the inside track on the hottest global markets via East Meets West
  • Glimpse future technologies, trends, and more via Future of Mobile Gaming
  • Get career-changing exposure in the Very Big Indie Pitch competition
  • See the latest games or display your own in the Indie Showcase
  • Meet publishers and investors to help take your game to the next level
  • Stacks of useful contacts thanks to our match-making system and after-hours events

Learn more at http://www.pgconnects.com/sanfrancisco/

Again, here is a 25% Speakers Discount: SPEAKER25

 

 

I’ll be Speaking at The Founder Institute Pitch Bootcamp on May 6

Come to Eureka Building on May 6th (tomorrow night) if you want to hear me talk a little bit about Pitching 101.  Brought to you by The Founder Institute Orange County

From FI.co:

Who Should Attend the Pitch Bootcamp?

  • Anyone who needs practice and expert advice on pitching
  • Anyone who has an idea for a startup or an early-stage company
  • Anyone that is interested in joining a new startup or looking for a co-founder

What are some of the Topics?

  • What are the components of a great startup pitch
  • How do your pitch complex concepts in a simple way
  • What are some mistakes to avoid when pitching
  • How do you know when you pitch is good enough
  • and more…

What is the Agenda?

  • Welcome and Socializing
  • Introduction to the Founder Institute
  • Expert Talks on How to Pitch Your Business
  • Pitch Workshop
  • Speed Pitching
  • Discussion and Drinks at a Local Bar or Restaurant

This event is free to attend. Join us for a fun evening! For more free startup events, visit http://fi.co/events.

What to Do When You Are Working on Something NOT on a16z List of 16 Things

So the smartest people in the world just released a list of the 16 Things they are thinking about…and your startup’s focus is not represented.  What do you do?

You can question yourself or you can say “what the f#ck.”

If you are old enough, you might remember the scene from Risky Business:

Miles: Sometimes you gotta say “What the Fuck”, make your move. Joel, every now and then, saying “What the Fuck”, brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future. So your parents are going out of town. You got the place all to yourself.

Joel Goodson: Yeah.

Miles: What the fuck.

As an entrepreneur, your parents are out of town – so to speak. Joel Goodson learns his lesson and ends up at the same university as the “A” in a16z. (Go Illini)

You really should say “f#ck it.”

Don’t believe Miles and Joel? Watch Ice T get philosophical for your benefit…

The good news is that the smartest people in the world are “what the f#ck/f#ck it” kind of people.  They even make sure to preface the list with, “We don’t invest in themes; we invest in special founders with breakthrough ideas. Which means we don’t make investments based on a pre-existing thesis about a category.”

So go forth and give no fucks. Oh, and definitely read their list.

– h (@mhannus)

Disciplined Entrepreneurship

As an entrepreneur, you sometimes need to have a garage sale for your brain. Get rid of ideas that you won’t pursue – focus and then allocate capital. Assuming you’re not Elon Musk, how do you know if you are pursuing a viable idea?

Recently, a friend recommended reading Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup by Bill Aulet (@BillAulet). I’m knee deep in my annual read of Frederick Bastiat’s The Law so I did the next best thing: I watched a talk by him.

As someone that has been involved in starting lots of companies throughout my life, this is a really solid framework for thinking through any new business concept. Doesn’t matter if you are starting a space exploration company or a hot dog stand. It might seem process heavy but if you have some experience you’ll appreciate the thought put into it.  Works very well with all lean startup concepts. I don’t tend to think in this linear a path, but it is useful to check my thoughts against this framework.

The great Steve Jobs famously said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.” I think all entrepreneurs should take that to heart. In my early days in consulting, one of my mentors favorite lines to open up client meeting was, “strategy is as much about what we are not going to do as it is about what we decide to do.” Bill’s talk (and book which I will read) serves as very functional tool for me to eliminate ideas.

Give it a view.

Why Start Another Company?

It’s been a while but I’ll soon be starting another company.

I talk to lots of entrepreneurs as an advisor, investor, and consultant.  I like to spend time with them to understand what they want out of their businesses.  However, it had been a while since I evaluated this for myself.

So, before I started my next entrepreneurial venture, I challenged myself to take time to really think about the upcoming journey. Really get my hippie on, you know? I forced myself to use my days on the beach to consider my own motives for wanting another journey.

Why do it?

Why start a new venture?

Why not find a good union job?

What do you want from the experience, personally and professionally?

Well, it’s been a few months of Southern California inspired introspection. I have my answers. I am pretty sure they only matter to me. However, I think all entrepreneurs would benefit from some time spent thinking about these questions as well. Understanding your non-monetary motivations will help lift you up from low-points and keep you humbled when you are outperforming.

Project Tomorrow 2014 5th Annual Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science

I’ll be speaking this Saturday, October 25th, at the Project Tomorrow’s 2014 5th Annual Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science.  This is my third year speaking at a Project Tomorrow event.  I love speaking to students, although I think they just like hearing game industry stories.

You can learn more about the program at www.tomorrow.org.