Seed-Stage IoT VC, Author of The Dragonfly Effect. Mentor to The Lean Launchpad at Berkeley and Columbia.
Marketer, brand guy, geek, and metaphor mixologist.
Advising, investing in useful enterprises. Past: Intel, Dolby, PwC,
Getting the story across that engages others and causes them to act.
The things that, done well, make selling unnecessary.
Lots of great guidance so far. Here's what I will add/reinforce:
1) There's no substitute for talking to folks in-person. Their eyes dilate when they talk about what matters to them. You need to be there to see it happen.
2) When you're first talking to people, make sure you focus on them, not on your product. Understand their problems first before you even try to tell them about what you think might solve them.
3) Numbers are your friend. Talk to as many people as possible. Be methodical about it, test hypotheses systematically (see Steve Blank's stuff on this) and avoid leading questions.
4) Make sure you close every interview with an open-ended question like "What's the question I should have asked you, but didn't?"
5) As for finding ways to talk to people, personal connections are gold. Be shameless in asking friends through Facebook, Twitter and email for introductions to people that you want to talk to. Everyone wants to help a friend or a friend of a friend. No one wants to be pitched. Be clear and concise and clearly listening and always ask interviewees "Who else should I speak with to understand this problem?" If any person you talk to doesn't give you at least one new name and hopefully a handful, you messed something up (target market, interview style, interview length, or they felt it was a pitch).
Problems fall into two broad areas:
1) compared to my phone or my car, my house is not very smart, so forgetfulness on my part (not locking a door or turning off an oven) can be a problem - particularly when I'm away for a day or a week.
2) it's a complex place and it takes a village to keep it running and properly maintained. It would be great to have the equivalent of a building superintendent that could very regularly check to make sure everything is working and up do date and get things done as needed (painting, gardening, sprinkler repair, lightbulb changes, etc.)
Andy was a great manager and mentor at BIGWORDS. He was productive at all times and always made sure we never lost focus during the chaotic times. I very much enjoyed working with him.
Andy is exceptionally well versed in all aspects of creating, maintaining and growing a global brand. Among his greatest strengths is his ability to identify and stay true to the larger strategy across channels.
Andy is a consumate professional. He's an extremely sharp practitioner and, more importantly, is an excellent manager and mentor of people. He gives his direct reports the freedom to excel and the guidance to improve.
Andy is a very bright and capable individual; a very good thinker with tremendous strategic skills. Andy and I worked very closely together to create and develop the Audistry (TM) by Dolby (R) brand, aa new ingredient brand and product offering for consumer electronics and mobile infotainment products. Andy is very easy to work with, objective in his approach and extremely professional.
Andy's an insightful, hard-working, and enjoyable member of any team. We took our company through some good times and some bad, and Andy could always be counted on to make the most of it. I'd work with him again if the opportunity arose.
A business-savvy mentor, Andy offered insight, instruction, and purpose to his team. His wry wit and willingness to listen made/make him the type of department leader us working-schmoes can respect, admire, and ultimately emulate. A solid connection to have and a good person to know.
Andy was an energetic team player, willing to push the envelope. His professionalism always impressed me. He is fun to work with and has a great personality. I would enjoy having the opportunity to work with Andy again.
For the past 18 months, I worked with Andy to help launch and promote The Dragonfly Effect. From launching the re-designed website to reaching out to bloggers to coming up with interesting, updated content, I've had the pleasure of working with Andy on several different projects. He has been consistently supportive, positive, and helpful through it all.
Working with Andy has been wonderful. I highly recommend him!
I had the great fortune of doing business with Andy while he was Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Dolby. He approached me with an offer to help the webseries I was producing grow in quality while furthering the Dolby brand. Andy saw the opportunity to really make a difference in Tiki Bar TV in a way that set me apart from all producers. More than just the executive sponsor of the program, Andy worked with swiftness and dedication to do what it took to make Tiki Bar TV the first ever webseries delivered in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. It was a groundbreaking project and Andy’s passion for innovation, technology and creativity made it all happen. His strong grasp of emerging media platforms and innovative marketing strategies focused on creating impact through social technology is expertly displayed in his book ‘The Dragonfly Effect’.
Andy has been an advisor to me and my company, Everywun, since just after I founded the company in August, 2008. At every critical point in our growth and development, I've called Andy and asked for his advice. Each time, he has provided me with the grounded, thoughtful perspective that I needed to make the best decision with the information that we had. Andy's selfless insight and dedication to helping me to navigate the choppy waters of a startup has been critical to our continued growth, and I feel so lucky to have him as part of our team!