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Introducing the Startup Rocket Framework

Based on decades of experience ideating, validating, creating, growing, and funding startups (from both sides of the table), my partners and I are developing a framework to help entrepreneurs with the first critical steps of their journey. Our goal is to help founders build upon the traditional business plan and ideation tools out there to focus on executing what matters: acquiring and retaining happy, paying customers.

How to architect data flow and storage in a new startup

You may think you have a good idea, but it’s data’s job to tell you otherwise. Ironically, in the startup world today where everyone knows they should make “data-driven decisions”, few founders actually setup their data architecture and flow to give them the data they need on a daily basis to make smart choices, let alone facilitate growth.

Five questions to ask when choosing a technology stack for your startup

Almost as dangerous as stating your political or religious opinions online is suggesting software tools and languages for a startup. Software engineers are an opinionated and tribal bunch; say the wrong thing and you’ll be ridiculed and cast out of camp faster than you can say “spaces are better than tabs.”

Why writing a user interface spec (UI spec) is critical for startup teams

Building a software product is hard. While we’ve all heard stories of hero developers cranking out projects in a weekend that go viral, that’s obviously not the norm. For the rest of the world, a smart and diligent approach is needed to build something useful and keep their team (however large or small) on the same page to avoid wasting time.

Evolution toward one-way data flow: A quick introduction to Redux

So you’re starting to wake up and realize that React is seriously winning. Perhaps you’ve also heard about Redux but never bothered to dive in to understand what it is and why you should use it. Well, now is the time to get up to speed and get in the game. I’ll give you a quick back-story then dive into some code.

Data-driven startups: How to design and build smart funnels within your product

The dance between product and growth in a new startup is rarely elegant, especially when founders fail to bake smart funnels into their product.

A quick introduction to React

Although it's easy to roll your eyes at the JavaScript frontier — especially when the next great thing is introduced every week — be careful not to lump React in with “all the other JS frameworks.”

Startups: How to set a realistic timeline when building a software product

“Sure, we'll have that done in three weeks.” says the engineer. The marketer rolls her eyes, of course, and expects it in five. Eleven weeks later, it's delivered (and it's not very good). After an additional seven weeks of ironing out the basic bugs and UX kinks, marketing finally feels comfortable promoting it. Why didn't the engineer just say “about 20 weeks” and aim for delivering a tad early?

Seven reasons why a Rails, Redux, React, and React Native stack is fantastic for new startups

Here are the reasons why I'm all-in with this software stack.

Life Coaching

Most of us — if we are fortunate (and whether we like it or not) — have people in our lives who help point out our blind spots and teach us new things. Significant others, friends, colleagues, kids, parents, sports coaches, teachers, music instructors, etc. are often the people that pour into us and/or remind us that we’re human. (Seriously, we have many people to thank!)

Introducing Prota Ventures

Along with our first set of portfolio projects, my partners and I are excited to unveil Prota Ventures, a venture-building and early-stage investment firm based out of Seattle, Chicago, and Jacksonville.

Adding Webpack with Hot Module Replacement to speed up Redux/React/Sass development within a Rails5-app

Piggy-backing on my previous post "Rails5, ActionCable, Redux, and React: Walking through an example chat application" I was curious how difficult it would be to spin up a webpack server with hot module replacement (HMR) alongside Rails (i.e. firing it up on another port) to speed up development of the Redux/React/Sass parts of the app.

How to conduct free and low-cost experiments to validate your new business idea

Entrepreneurs are always tempted to build their products secretly in a cave. This, however, is rarely the most effective way to succeed. According to common Lean wisdom, the better route is to get the idea in front of customers early and often, smartly collect feedback, and iterate rapidly toward product-market fit. But, as anyone who has ever tried it knows, this is easier said than done. How do you actually validate an idea? How do you best design experiments? Who do you ask to participate in them?

Summarizing the science behind ketogenic (low-carb) diets

After publishing The Science Behind Fat Metabolism a couple weeks ago, I received a tremendous amount of helpful feedback from scientists, medical professionals, and other health experts. Cheers, Internet. I appreciate the feedback and refinement. I’ve updated the article accordingly and will continue to do so as more comments are submitted. I also got a bunch of questions about low-carb dieting, hence my attempt in this article to summarize the underlying science. As always, if you read anything below that needs changing, let me know and I’ll do so quickly.

How (and when) to select advisors for your new venture

Like all entrepreneurs who have been in the game for awhile, I too am forever grateful for advisors who have helped shaped the course of my career and the ventures I've co-founded. However, finding the right advisors and formalizing the relationship properly is often a confusing process. I've fallen into many traps (as both a founder and an advisor) that are avoidable with — you guessed it— the right advice.