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Current time:0:00Total duration:3:35

Video transcript

- I'm T.A. McCann. I was the founder and CEO of Gist, which was acquired by BlackBerry about a year ago. So Gist is sort of a next-generation address book. So all of us are connected to so many different people in so many different places. So Gist's primary function is to bring all those address books together. So bring my inbox, my contacts manager, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, all those contacts into one place. But it's really about harnessing the power of your network and understanding the context of the people you're interacting with. I think for most entrepreneurs, they want to solve the problem for themselves because they are the first user. So I wanted to build that product for myself. But as an engineer, and as somebody who understands software, how would I do it is almost as important as what I'm going to do, and without some understanding of the how, the what is almost irrelevant. So I kind of play them back and forth. So how would I build a thing that kind of does this? And in fact, the ideas for Gist started with, but if I want to do that, where would I get the list of people? Hmm, how would I do that? How would I prioritize that? What should it do, and who does it do it for, and why is it valuable? So it was both the idea, but the technical implementation and hacking around on that I think is so critical, and that's where it comes back to being technical and getting into how things work, mechanically or from a code perspective. I think most good software guys tend to think in 18- to 24-month cycles, because normally, if you're gonna do a company and you fund a company, you have 18 to 24 months runway. So you kind of get in this model like, okay, what can I do in 18 months? And that's kind of a horizon. 18 months from now, I'll probably have to raise more money. I'll probably need the business to kind of look like this. What is the next phase of the business look like, and what do I want to achieve with the business? So I think that first and foremost, you as an entrepreneur say, what do I want to achieve with the business? Now I'm gonna come very much back to the tactical what am I going to do next week and the next three months? So it was our way of thinking, how do we get our interesting ideas to the largest amount of people at the fastest rate? I have a sort of a construct that I use to sort of run through almost all my ideas, and now I can do them much, much more rapidly, and it's really Customer, Value Proposition, Feature Set, and Business Model. And almost every idea I do now, I just go run through that. If you take the construct a little bit further, you can say, what is the value that I'm delivering? So in my case, it might be better understanding of another person or saving time. So my primary value to you is saving time and gaining deeper understanding. So when I think about the business model, I'd say, well, I should charge you more for more time I save you. And that's a correlation between the value and the business model. And so considering the business model alongside or in parallel with who is the customer, what's the value, and what's the features, I think is critical. I have to say that in the things that I do, starting companies and working with different entrepreneurs, I enjoy the process of building companies as much as the companies themselves. The whole process part is really exciting for me, because if you do it well, if you have two companies which have the exact same idea and one has a better process, you can do more features faster or for less money than the guy down the street, and that ultimately ends up being the big advantage. Ideas are easy; execution is really hard. And people who can execute ideas more rapidly, or with higher quality, or with fewer people, will ultimately outpace somebody who just has the backing, the app, and the idea.