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A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy, 2003-07-01, Clay Shirky

Top 3

YEAR FOLDER. Reduce annual administrative burden by at least 10 hours (scales with business).

For a given year, create a digital-storage folder (ex. companyABC-2021) for the business. Document every meaningful event as a file (typically pdf/png/text) within relevant subfolders (ex. expenses, revenues). Year folders are easy to backup and help reduce inefficient file-scatter.

INPUT TAX CREDITS. Reduce annual expenses by about 10%.

In Canada, sales tax (13% HST on domestic purchases) and import tax (5% GST on international imports) are considered "input tax credits" (ITCs) for commercial expenses. ITCs are fully refunded to businesses when they are accurately declared in their annual HST returns.

DATA SECURITY. Reduce daily risk of malicious digital-attacks by at least 50% (relative to average business-person).

Strong unique passwords in physical-only/digital-only storage. Need-to-know default access policy. Confirm-before-doing policy for major actions (ex. by email, by secret question). Attack method awareness (ex. spoofing, fake invoices, email/phone link/attachment attacks).


ARTICLE: Unicorns vs Horses

  • high-risk start-up or lifestyle business?
  • fast-burn race for market-share or slow-growth anchor in niche?


EBOOK: The Great CEO Within, Matt Mochary



What is the long-term strategy?

What makes the product/service compelling?

What is strong about the product-market fit?

What are the specific steps of real work that must be done from now to success

  • Long-Term Strategy
  • Compelling Value of Product/Service
  • Strength of Product-Market Fit
  • Specific Tasks from Now to Success


  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Support
  • Operations
  • Human Resources
  • Accounting
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Finance
  • Security
  • Strategy

Performance Triangle

  • Quality
  • Cost
  • Speed

Canada Government Resources

Ontario Made - Registration

Made in Canada - Information

Ontario Gov, Business and Economy

Canada Gov, Business

The Plan

Before starting a business, it's important to consider your long-term objectives and growth principles. Do you want to sell the company in X years or continue to work at it for the foreseeable future? Do you want to grow safely-but-slowly or take on high-risk financing to scale fast? What is your motivation for starting a business? What do you want to do with your life?

Universal Lessons

Entrepreneurs and their businesses share common needs and risks. Learn from people who want to help you avoid the mistakes that they made or narrowly avoided.

Product Development

Provide a Product Datasheet (PDS) with accurate specifications. People need full specs to plan performance/compatibility and make an informed decision.

Provide a Product Change Notice (PCN) for every revision. People like checking the release-date and history.

Ethics Triangle

  • External: Customers, Users, Bystanders, Environment
  • Internal: Employees, Close Contractors, Stakeholders
  • Integrated: Suppliers, Partners, Governments

Key Metrics

  • Total Revenues (Commercial Demand)
  • Total Expenses (All Costs and Resource Outflows)
  • Renewal Rates (Sustained User Satisfaction)
  • Net Promoter Score (User Satisfaction)