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Vulnerable Founder Vulnerable Founder

#4: Running lean ... financially

John Dodson 3 weeks
One thing that you probably hear about entrepreneurs is that they have to cut back spending a ton, where some even end up sleeping under their desks and eat instant ramen everyday. There is definite truth in having to save up so your fledgling company can survive its earliest days.

We are no different, but being an older founder with a family does not make a lot of sense to cut back so drastically. Feeding a child ramen day in and day out would likely be considered neglect and frowned upon. However, the reality of a tight runway is no different in my case.

With the ongoing holiday season, and with the pandemic environment, we decided to keep expenses to a minimum and opted to not buy a Christmas tree and keep presents to a minimum. I had a last minute idea for a gift for my son, so I went out to search to see if any stock was left anywhere. After a number of stops, I came home with a free tree and a steeply discounted gift. We have certainly been blessed.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy Holidays for whatever else you may celebrate!

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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#3: Discovering and working with a mentor

John Dodson 4 weeks
My earliest attempt at entrepreneurship revolved around careers, and mentorship was a major focus of what I was trying to build. As I have spent time as an entrepreneur, the value of a mentor remains just as relevant to startups.

I have interacted with a number of people over these past couple of years and some have been very influential, and others while very helpful, were clearly not as interested in the relationship. What has been surprising is that I have found the most support in someone that I did not even imagine being a mentor. This relationship is one that naturally evolved into one of respect and support.

Having someone to bounce ideas off of, ask quick questions, and be accountable to with occasional updates, has been a huge boost to my focus and productivity. Even more important has been the realization that mentors will give advice, but I still have to filter through feedback and make decisions and execute on them. Effectively utilizing a mentor goes beyond using them as a crutch, relying on what they can give to you, but leveraging every interaction as a focused energy boost to help you move forward.

In the end, your success is entirely up to you. Mentors are like coaches sitting on the sidelines of a tennis match--on match day, their work is complete. You are the player and it is up to you to play the game.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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Vulnerable Founder Vulnerable Founder

#2: Building a startup in the middle of a pandemic

John Dodson 1 month
I began exploring my original concept for Pivvt in the fall of 2019, and we committed to it full-time in January 2020. Little did we realize that a global pandemic would cause a massive disruption in our country, including the early stay at home directive we experienced locally.

On the plus side, we as a team had already opted to sequester ourselves to a small home office and live off of savings for the time being. No problem there. However, our target customers faced major disruptions, which could have ended up being good or bad for us.

Due to the circumstances, we decided to work with the customer intel we had, and began building the alpha version of our software. We had the time and nowhere to go, so we decided to go faster than originally anticipated. We strayed a little from Lean Startup because of this, but surely the methodology did not consider a pandemic in decision making?

The shutdown of competition created a massive revenue need for our customers, which seemed like a huge opportunity for us, but... But with that disruption came contraction and even less desire from customers to take risk to try something new.

So here we are with a pivot in our business model, with an expanded focus of our customer base. What a ride 2020 has been, and now with a vaccine making its way across the country, we shall see what 2021 brings.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash

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#1: Opening up to the world, Stories of a founder

John Dodson 1 month
When we hear about entrepreneurship, we are often told the success stories of those that made it big, and occasionally we will hear about those that have failed miserably. Many stories left untold are the little things that entrepreneurs deal with on a day to day basis, of their struggles and the little victories.

I am here to share my stories. I will document what I am thinking about, what I am struggling with, and pass along things that I have learned along the way. Occasionally you may hear about my little victories here and there, but I am sure there will be a lot more challenges along the way.

Here's to what's ahead!

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

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A new direction for Pivvt

John Dodson 1 month
If any of you have been paying attention to what has been going on here (you three know who you are), we have been hyper focused on college sports. Our goal was to create a community of college sports fans by helping schools to raise money.

COVID brought on a disruption so large that every school was worried about revenue to cover 2020 expenses. However, with that came smaller budgets and less willingness to try something new. So I decided to make a pivot for Pivvt, to open up our focus.

Starting today, December 1, we are opening up the focus on college athletic departments to creators. These are people that create content for an audience. Our goal is to help those two groups connect in ways that other apps have not effectively managed to do.

Here's to our future. It is time to create a better internet experience.

Photo by Simon Berger, Unsplash

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Updates from NCAA for winter eligibility, transfers, NIL

Pivvt 3 months
There's a lot to unpack here, but the NCAA made some sweeping decisions that impact college sports in the short term and long term. That includes an extra year of eligibility for winter sports, a proposal for immediate eligibility for transfers, and the removal of requirements for 2020-21 bowl eligibility.

Most importantly, they have clarified their proposed rules for name, image, and likeness, which would be set for voting in the coming year. That is unless Congress does not step in and create law that would supersede any bylaws that the NCAA creates for itself. The debate and scramble continues...

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Pivvt 3 months
The Name Image and Likeness debate continues amid the ongoing pandemic, as legislation in the earliest states are set to trigger at the beginning of fall 2021. As it is an issue with national implications, It is good to see that members of congress are looking into tackling the challenge.

The disruption to the college athletics fundraising machine is real, and schools are going to have to adjust to the upcoming change in the landscape. This excerpt from the article points out a big risk that many may not have put much attention to.

The lack of protection for schools’ sponsorship agreements will bring opposition from some college administrators, who have expressed concern that companies ranging from global shoe-and-apparel outfits to local car dealerships might reallocate money from deals with schools to deals with athletes.

The story continues. College sports is set for a big change and who knows what everything will look like after the dust settles.

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Pivvt 4 months
Pressure from all fronts has pushed the Big Ten to schedule a football season later this fall. Naturally seeing other teams successfully pulling off games in front of them, and then the financial pain their programs are all experiencing, pushed them over the edge. Everyone is adapting to the current environment and moving forward.

The Pacific Northwest is covered in smoke, already another punch to the gut following COVID-19 shutdowns, but what will happen next for the Pac-12?

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Pivvt 4 months
This is a very interesting concept being put on the table. It will be interesting to see how sports will evolve based on everything that has been learned during this unusual year.

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Pivvt 4 months
We are living through a time of unprecedented change in college sports, and the product that is left standing after all the dust settles is likely to look very different than we once knew. The biggest question is how much will everything change going forward. 

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