WARNING: This post is long and a bit idealistic. If you are impatient or excessively cynical, this may not be the post for you.

Over the past few years, I have been studying professionals, institutions, and communities as they deal with the emerging realities of significant changes to the nature of work. The world has not seen such significant changes to the structure and nature of work since the mass migration from the fields to the factories which occurred over 100 years ago.

Transitions of this magnitude can be disruptive. In the current transition, these disruptions manifest in underemployment and economic depression leading to a multitude of individual, social, and civic challenges. But the purpose of this post is not to bemoan the state of the world of work, nor to offer some Pollyannish platitudes about simple solutions to a complex and enduring challenge.

This post is an honest attempt to begin an approach to addressing the transitions to the realities of the emerging economy. In short, we need to change the way the world works, and I have developed one framework for making that change a bit less traumatic.

In my travels and conversations, I have seen the impact of the changing nature of work on professionals, institutions, and communities. I have seen un- and underemployment and the erosion of civic pride. I have also seen a number of valiant efforts to address specific elements of these emerging challenges. The rise of the coworking and maker space communities is truly remarkable. The tech community has come together to create an atmosphere of entrepreneurialism and new ventures that just keeps getting more impressive.

Technology and the high-stakes investment that goes with it are important components in the new world of work. So is placemaking and quality of place. Regional economies are important, civic identity is important. These come about when we create great places to work in towns, cities, and neighborhoods that are great places to live. The “framework” is designed to promote an inclusive approach to entrepreneurialism in which billion-dollar tech unicorns and bootstrapped local restaurants and electrical contractors can not only co-incubate, but can support each other as they start, sustain, and scale their businesses.

My goal is to provide the framework that connects these point solutions to make our communities vibrant and exciting again. So, I’m seeking to form a team of people who want to change the way the world works. People who see the possibilities that lie before us and want to be a part of turning the untapped potential that lives in small towns and big cities into the next generation of satisfying, meaningful work.

In short, I’m trying to “put the band together”. In my mind, the players look something like this:

  • Someone who LOVES to write: everything from 120 character social media messages to long-form journalism and books. I’m looking for someone who wants to turn the ramblings of my research and thoughts into coherent and compelling prose – as well as make their own contributions to the emerging framework.
  • Product managers – someone who can turn ideas into products and services. This is a special and rare talent that makes good ideas understandable and consumable by those who need them. As the noise increases in the marketplace, good product management is an increasingly important skill.
  • Media experts – The world has become an increasingly noisy place – breaking through that noise with a clear and consistent signal is a special talent. I believe the most successful person in this role will be someone who understands the spectrum of media and uses multiple channels to send and reinforce a clear message.
  • Media producers – There is more to storytelling than the written word. We’re attempting to launch a movement here – engagement is critical and GREAT media production (across all media) is the key.
  • Learning specialists. The framework needs to be translated into training and support materials. Adult learning is challenging as people have an increasing array of elements competing for their time and attention.
  • Business developers – Making all of this work depends on creating productive relationships with clients, sponsors, grant makers, and other economic entities.

Pros: This is an opportunity to have a major impact on the future of work, to be part of the solution to an increasing set of challenges, and to enter into a collaborative relationship with others committed to changing the way the world works – for the better.

If you want to develop and/or showcase your skills while changing the world for the better, this might be the opportunity for you. If you’re a college student or recent graduate looking to have an impact and showcase your capabilities, this could be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. If you’re retired, under-employed, or “between jobs” and you want to be an architect of the future, not a victim of the past, this is an opportunity worth considering.

Challenges: This effort is completely bootstrapped and unfunded. It will only be sustainable if we work together to make it so.

If you have made it this far, you have probably figured out this post is the product of wide-eyed optimism. But isn’t that what social media is for?

I truly believe this work is important and satisfying. The list above is just a starter list. There are many other roles like community organizers, lawyers, accounts and other professionals … If you want to be part of it – if you have the skills or the willingness to acquire them – contact me.

At Logika we believe that pitch competitions are an important part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Pitch competitions give entrepreneurs a chance to be seen by the community, practice and improve their pitches, and get exposure to potential investors.

We also know that organizing and running a pitch competition is hard. So, we want to offer a little help. Between organizing the event, recruiting entrepreneurs to pitch, and getting judges to show up, sometimes there’s just no time to create clear judging criteria.

This pitch guide is designed to solve that problem. Specifically, it is:

  • A transparent process that gives participants, judges, and audience members a shared, clear understanding of how the competition will be run
  • Based on best practices for developing and running a startup
  • Designed to improve the quality of pitches and make companies more successful

Download Files

Full-color Guide

Greyscale Judges Scoring Sheet

Permission to use

Be sure to check the latest version of the guide for the “official version” all of the details. In general, you may use this guide, without charge, for your event under the following conditions:

  • The guide is used in its entirety, without deletions or modifications
  • The guide is made available to all judges and participants
  • Optional, but highly encouraged, the guide is made available to all audience members (suggestion: distribute electronically on the website for your event)
  • Your event does not produce more than $10,000 in revenue including ticket sales, entry fees, sponsorships, and all other sources including in-kind support

Contact us to discuss permission to use under other conditions.

Eye see you

getting bigger

Joe Albano

Just about every new business has dreams of growing and making it into the “big time”. Yet, after an initial period of growth, many businesses require a different strategy.

Startups are not miniature versions of big businesses. The strategies, tactics, and actions they need to take to get things off the ground are not the same as those needed to get to scale. Remember that your startup is not your business. A startup is a search for the model that will eventually become the business that is the intersection of what you set out to create and what the market demands.

Many businesses want to go from idea to unicorn – and who wouldn’t. But for most, it doesn’t work that way.

We’ve found that most successful companies go through three–frequently overlapping– phases: start, sustain, and scale. Skip any phase at your own risk/peril. Here’s a quick overview:

start

Startups are about validation. A startup is a machine that turns your idea into a product and then wraps it in a business.

In a small startup, everyone does whatever is needed to get the business started and to bring in new business. In short, you do EVERYTHING required to get customers, make sales, and keep the business running. You ARE the business and the business is constantly changing. You’re making and testing assumptions about all of the key elements of your business.

You have successfully started when you can:

  • reliably create demand for your product
  • predictably meet that demand
  • manage the money to expectations

sustain

Sustaining is about giving your business its own identity – not just an extension of yourself. Frequently the first employees a new business brings on are hired to increase the capabilities of the founders – not those of the business. There is no distinct differentiation between the identity of the owner(s) and the identity of the business.

Sustaining is the process of turning the business into its own entity: separate and distinct from the founder(s).

We’ve found the following guidelines useful for assessing progress in the sustain phase. Can you:

  • take an extended vacation – say 6 months – from your business
  • not check email, voicemail, or other communications from the business during that vacation
  • return to a thriving business

Sustain does the “heavy lifting” of establishing the foundation for scale. One of the great ironies we’ve observed is that founders in start want to give away as much as they can (but often can’t afford to) and founders in sustain often resist delegating (even though they need to if they want to get to scale).

scale

The primary purpose of the scale phase is to reliably and consistently increase revenues faster than expenses. Beyond this purpose, scale is really about reaping the rewards of the hard work of start and sustain. For some that will mean exit planning. For others, continuing to grow the business or passing it on to future generations. Whatever your plan for your business, it’s important to make sure your plans align with those of your business partners … but that’s a subject for another post.

 


This is just an overview. There are decisions about instability, equity, transition and exit planning, as well as many other critical decision points that must be considered, and reconsidered as the business and its founders grow. At Logika we see ourselves as travel agents for the entrepreneurial journey.

Click here to upgrade your entrepreneurial journey!


Photo credit: Flickr user Christine Schmidt