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Sunday, July 8th, 2012

12 Simple Outlines For Writing A Business Plan

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If you need to write a business plan I recommend you start with an outline.  I found a dozen free templates and have included them below with links to dig deeper. Good luck!

1) Ongig’s Business Plan Outline

The business plan outline I wrote for Ongig (below) was geared towards raising an angel round of funding.The 3 biggest sections were Business Model, Sales & Distribution and Financials.

  1. Why Should Someone Care (“The Grab” or Executive Summary)
  2. Company Purpose (In one sentence: the vision/mission stuff)
  3. The Problem You Are Addressing
  4. The Solution You Provide
  5. Why Is This Important Right Now?
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Friday, April 20th, 2012

A Quick Evaluation Of 9 CRM Tools


A small business I’m involved in did an evaluation of some CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) tools. I like to share such learnings to save you or your pals time if you’re in the same boat.

Just to be clear, it was just two of us who spent about 10 hours total looking at demos online and trying trial versions where possible. And we excluded — the market leader — because we had used it before and while it worked great, we wanted to try some new CRMs. Here’s the quick list:

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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Integrity Expert Al Watts On Penn State, BP & More


I recently met Al Watts, author of Navigating Integrity: Transforming Business As Usual Into Business At Its Best.

Al was kind enough to do a quick Q&A (between sailing trips) with me on the topic of business integrity.

Captain Al on his sloop LOON on Lake Superior

Q: Hi Al. Would you give a quick definition of each of your “4 Pillars Of Integrity”

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Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Which Bands & Songs Steve Jobs Kept On His Own Personal iPod


Steve Jobs favorite Grateful Dead song was Uncle John’s Band; and his favorite band was Bob Dylan, followed by the Beatles and then the Stones, according to Isaacson’s Steve Jobs book.

Isaacson outlines the below songs/bands that were on Steve Jobs’s own personal iPod.

Bono's U2 made the cut on Steve Jobs's personal iPod.

Here they are, roughly in order of which artist he had the most albums of:

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Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

“The Top 7 Reasons Hiring Is Being Invented…Right Now!”


If you care about hiring or being hired, I recommend you check out an in-depth article in which I offered some detailed thoughts on these 7 trends:

  1. A Hire Is A Million Dollar Transaction — There’s a cool quote from Facebook’s head of acquisitions on how much a hire is worth to them when they buy companies!
  2. Hiring Managers Need To Show Themselves — I believe job postings should require the name of the hiring manager — Craigslist does not!
  3. The Power Is Shifting From The Organization To The Individual — Transparency is one key here!
  4. Video & Pictures Are Ubiquitous — We give a shout-out to one SF startup.
  5. Job Opportunities Will Become Alive — More data please!
  6. We Are All Now One Click Away From Each Other — Duh.
  7. Third-Party Recruiters Will Go The Way Of Other Middlemen — We predict the marginalization of third-party recruiters.

Go check out The Top 7 Reasons Hiring Is Being Reinvented…Right Now! for the full article — it’s hosted by Ongig, a new business I’m part of.

I invited third-party recruiters to comment on section #7 and a couple of them disagree with me — it’s great to have an open dialogue on this important topic.


+ Rob

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Monday, October 10th, 2011

99Designs: One Of The Best Web Apps I’ve Ever Used

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I’m on the Web all the time — I estimate I’ve looked at more than 50,000 Web sites in my lifetime

When one of them stands out, I like to spread the word.

99Designs is one such Web site.

99Designs solves a common problem in an unusual way: it allows you to submit your design requirements to their audience of designers who compete to win your project (or “contest” as they call it).

I tested them out for a logo I needed for a personality type site I do in my spare time. It hasn’t launched yet but it’s going to be called “TopTypes.”

Since real-life examples are more useful, I took screen shots of the experience I had running a design contest on 99Designs for the TopTypes logo I needed.

Step 1: Pick What You Want Designed

You can choose from such categories as:

  • Logos (that’s what I chose)
  • Web Design
  • Stationary
  • T-Shirt Design
  • Other
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Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The Cool Secret Steve Jobs Asked My Friend Gary To Keep


I’m sad today like millions of others, that the top inventor of our time, Steve Jobs, has died.

I feel very lucky that I got to interview Steve Jobs for an article I wrote early in my career (I can remember how excited I got when he called me directly to chat!). I more recently got to ask Steve and Bill Gates a question about entrepreneurship (see Bill Gates, Steve Jobs & Me).

But, I have a cooler Steve Jobs item to tell you about.

I want to share a story that Steve Jobs asked my friend Gary Brickman to keep secret years ago.

This is my old buddy Gary Brickman at CMP's/TechWeb's China Basin, San Francisco offices circa 1997 -- Steve Jobs asked him to keep a cool secret.

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Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

The 50 Best Product Taglines By Industry


After naming a product, the tagline may be the most important marketing lever you can pull.

Afterall, the name of the product opens up the conversation with your customer…but the tagline can immediately tell them what it is that you do — and what makes you unique.

You’ve probably seen how much I love lists.

So I’ve compiled a list of 50+ of my favorite taglines. Enjoy!


  • Avis — “We’re #2, so we try harder”
  • BMW — “The ultimate driving machine”
  • Volkswagon — “Think small”
  • Zipcar — “Wheels when you want them”
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