2 mins read
June 22, 2011

Opening an event with wide scope of participants can be tricky. Perhaps it’s similar with creating curatorial text for art exhibition, the opening needs to be able to cover the entire theme and provide inspiration. Of course we need to avoid too many formalities because it is not a speech.

Echelon 2011 was opened by presentation or Talk session by Derek Sivers, representing CD Baby. CD Baby is one of internet industry’s milestone in 1999- 2000 that provided record store as their main service. The business went very well, it grew very fast, but Derek decided to sell it away and pursued other dream. He now lives in Singapore to prepare his new startups, MuckWork.

There are two things Derek “talked” about that I’d like to share with you here. Focus and Version 1.0.

Focus with period. Yes this article’s title is intentional. Focus with a period means to emphasize the word itself. In his presentation, Derek emphasized this, where we (startup founder/entrepreneur) should ask ourselves what we want. Do we want to get rich, to get famous, or to continuously manage our business? After deciding what we want, FOCUS. Stay on that path you’ve chosen. Don’t look anywhere else. It may sound simple, but with your best and greatest effort, you can be focusing more on developing whatever it is you’re doing.

Derek did run his business -a very successfull one at that too- without any planning. It just went flowing and developing organically. This may not be applicable to every business, and each founder has their own specialty, but one lesson we can get out of it is when we know what we want, what we are aiming for and focus on that, achievements are just around the corner.

You will find a lot of challenges and opportunities in developing startup. You might have to take the opportunities passing by, or often time you need to postpone them. The most important thing is to know what you want for your startup/company. If you can identified this, you won’t find any problem identifying other options and to decide which one you’d choose.

Another important thing is Version 1.0. As startup doer or enthusiast, you might have heard of ‘release early release often’, version 1.0 is basically other form of the phrase.

Derek said he doesn’t like over exposed idea, execution is more important. Get your products ready, turn it into version 1.0. Another important thing Derek said is when a product/service is launched, find what people think of it, what their experience with it.

In the process, other important thing is not to create something other people won’t like. Startup can do pivoting, turning service/product’s course into likeable or useable. One of startup positive point is its ability to adapt with circumstances, and that makes pivoting one of startup strategy.

As above mentined, some of the things Derek did and explained are probably not doable for all startup, but those two things can be important consideration in managing startup is Focus dan Version 1.0. Determine what you want and execute the idea, see what development it will bring and listen to what users/consumers say.

Derek also mentioned one quote other panelists and speakers often use, that nobody knows what product will turn out the best in the future. He said, ‘Nobody knows the answer. Ask Instead of answer. Learn instead of preach.’

Disclosure: DailySocial is one of Echelon 2011’s media partner.

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