Tag Archives: ideas

Pipecleaners – Experiments in Risk Management

Pipecleaners are a powerful metaphor and an interesting approach for managing all sorts of risks. I’ve heard it mentioned by my boss a couple of times, but with the boss filter on I hardly knew what he was referring to or where it could ever be applied. Having launched LinkPeelr (in a completely different category of software from what I launch in my day job), I’ve now come to see a more universal applicability of pipecleaners.

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Getting your first convert

I am a skeptic by nature. I seek and find flaws in people logic and arguments. I know this about myself and I fight to keep the criticism on the constructive side. I don’t think there are ever antisocial or egocentric undertones to it, but I can be arrogant and self-righteous when defending my point of view. Nobody is perfect.

When my future co-founder came calling with the original concept and idea, I immediately went to work trying to shred it apart. Not overtly, of course, but more by running through different scenarios in my head. Surprisingly, and this doesn’t happen too often, I was convinced fairly quickly. This was before we started doing research on the competitors, but that’s another story.

In any case, it won me over. There was just this personal belief that a) people needed this, and b) that it could be done easily and cheaply. That’s not a pre-requisite for startup success, mind you, but it was already something I was willing to invest my time in, and more importantly something I would be eager to use once it’s built.

If things didn’t work out, at least we’d still have the system all to ourselves. I think that’s one of the advantages of building something for consumers vs. building something for the enterprise. You can always be your own focus group and your own customer. Yes, the risks for bias are also high, but at least you know if something doesn’t feel right at the gut level it probably isn’t.

It felt right.