Startup expertise and negotiating power

  • Agenda: self-promotion
  • subject: expertise as a source of power
  • scenario: startup negotiating for expertise

Every startup founder – and their original team – goes into the world mostly not knowing anything about their “business”.

Many of them are acutely aware of their lack of expert knowledge. In response, they seek expertise outside the firm to supplement their team’s capabilities. To fill the “gaps” in their knowledge.

This seeking help, support, is a sign of self-awareness, a key trait of leaders and terms that can get better.

One consequence for founders and teams of this acutely felt ignorance of “business” knowledge is unconfidence. In a way, this lack of confidence is a positive quality: signifying self-awareness, healthy, durable self-esteem, modesty and respect for others’ distinctive value.

So, why am I writing? What’s my point? To praise mature adults?

I see this, and it doesn’t serve the team, not their nascent business’ future strength: the founder’s unconfidence …

New Deal: New Bets

FDR did make a “deal” with the American people, that’s true and the name, “New Deal”, is apt.*

I ask, How did he do the supporting programs and reforms that were his side of his deal with Americans? The dynamic and trade-offs of the deal he struck are interesting. And why they worked is interesting history of policy and political science. But more interesting to me is how he manifested the outcomes he promised to deliver. You could say my question is, how did he govern? Or a better word, how did he administer?

In large part, the answer is: his administration experimented.

I find the fact that this great reform vision was achieved by – making bets and seeing which ones worked and which ones’ didn’t and calling that his New Deal governing.

In his New York Times Opinion column of July 30, 2020, “The Future of American Liberalism“, David Brooks writes these characterizations of the FDR adminitration:
People … want a leader, like F.D.R., who demonstrates optimistic fearlessness.
…willing to try anything that met the specific emergencies of the moment.
…a wanton willingness to experiment.
…a populist revolt that…F.D.R. …mostly he just outperformed them with talent.
If you want to unleash a torrent of action you have to let individual members of Congress drive their own initiatives…
F.D.R. …was so shifting and pragmatic…
…it’s possible to get a lot done…if you are willing to be…openly experimental.


* Stuart Chase, an economist and member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “brain trust” who coined the term “New Deal,” died Saturday [November 16, 1985] … his most famous work, “A New Deal,” published in 1932…

Los Angeles Times Nov. 18, 1985 Chase, Roosevelt Adviser Who Coined Term ‘New Deal,’ Dies

All My UXs are in Texas

  • My Agenda: self-promotion
  • My Role: Information architect
  • The Stage of the Business: Mature
  • Who I work with: CEO & the team
  • How they found me and engaged me: Word-of-mouth

One current client engaged me to provide information architecture advice to it’s client.

The client’s site has a vast number of pages, as well as vast numbers of other sorts of files – mainly written reports, articles, and booklets in PDF form.

They see themselves as a resource. And one implied meaning there is: they are place to go to DO something, take action, make progress. Get what you need.

Pitching to any old investor

This week I attended a set of pitches for capital to investors. Anyone was invited to attend, not just registered investors.

I’ve been working with a number of startups – including helping them prepare their pitch for investors.

I studied this week’s performances with an eye to how they are different from and similar to those I’m helping draft.

The Unknown

I prefer the unknown.

This is pretty simple. Pretty clear. This occurred to me the other day. I couldn’t think of an exception.

Sure, I like to know. I like having knowledge. I’m not a proponent of staying ignorant. I respect knowledge of others.

I am drawn to, I see, I prefer to put myself into the unknown.

I like learning what I haven’t known before.

I seek new people.

I seek new experience.

I seek unfamiliar points of view.

In my work, I operate large amidst the unknown. New ideas. New business models. Unknown markets. Unknown threats. Unknown skills. Unknown rewards.