BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus - 10 August 2017
There is a relationship between time and money that is more complex than most managers think. Fixed overhead for salaries, rent, equipment leases and more make up the majority of the “burn rate” (monthly expenses) for most companies. Since this number is budgeted and pre-authorized, managers tend to focus upon other things such as sales, marketing and product development issues.
BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus - 3 August 2017
There is so much history behind this insight, and so many stories that illustrate this point. Your first customers for any product or service form your reference base, the important group of allies that your marketing and sales people rely upon when attempting to create buzz and make a mass market for a new product. If you’ve been involved in the launch stage of any product in the past, you should recognize the overwhelming feeling of panic when initial customers make first contact with complaints about quality, functionality, speed of service or other critical part of the new release.
BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus - 2 August 2017
Well, if you’ve had a computer long enough, it has certainly happened to you. Power surges, power outages, surges upon reinstatement of power, low or high voltage from your utility (brownouts or surges.) I’ve had all of these over the years and lost equipment from motherboards to microcells. And I’ve lost data due to sudden power loss. I have worried over every wind storm or thunderstorm.
BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus - 27 July 2017
This week’s insight came from personal experience and from a good friend who advanced the notion of the “teacher-customer” years ago. I internalized this phrase, recalling the many times I had partnered with customers to design new feature-functionality into my hotel computer system back when such systems were brand new to the industry. It was an ideal partnership between my growing company, as it approached one hundred employees on the way to almost two hundred fifty, and selected special customers anxious and willing to spend time telling us of their pain points.
BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus - 20 July 2017
You can take this headline as a rule, not an exception. You’ll recognize the truism, “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy” first stated by German Field Marshall von Moltke way back in the 19th century. Our variant of the “battle plan” truism is important to internalize. A product at the concept stage contains feature-functionality that customers may not want or be willing to pay for, or which just might not work well enough for release to the public.
BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus - 13 July 2017
But what have you done to test the concept against the realities of the marketplace? Have you developed a prototype, alternate pricing schemes, even a PowerPoint mock-up to show to potential buyers? I would be very, very nervous without testing the product in the market as early as possible, ready to make changes and enhancements before committing to production and release.
BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus - 29 June 2017
If you have been following our recent insights, you’ll be up to speed knowing that professional investors negotiate tough terms, from provisions of control over asset acquisition, eventual sale of the company, future investments, forced co-sale when others attempt to sell their shares and more. And yet, in an earlier post, we spoke of the problems that come when taking unstructured investments from friends and family. So how does the statement above fit into this sandwich of alternatives?
BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus - 22 June 2017
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. “My job as a (newspaper publisher telephone installer, stockbroker, travel agent, retail store manager) is safe as this economy continues to grow.” Yup. Thought so. We are in a decade of creative destruction that will affect most everybody. And the prime motivators of this massive destruction are the same class of entrepreneurs and innovators that have done it before. This time they are aided by tail winds brought on by the rapid spread of access to the Internet. In 1995, thirty-five million people used the Internet. That is six-tenths of one percent of the world’s population. And only one percent of these who had access also had mobile phones.
BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus - 15 June 2017
Taking in angel or venture money requires a setting of an entrepreneur’s expectations that may come as a shock at least at first. From the moment such an investor looks seriously at your company, the investor or VC partner is thinking of the end game, the ultimate sale of the company or even of an eventual initial public offering. There is no middle ground.