3Picking Up the Pieces

Make a Business Quilt by remixing the Lean Canvas and Business Model Canvas and adding a dimension of time.


I don’t see the point of discussing marketing channels at this time. Why would any channel be interesting for a product that doesn’t yet exist?”

I was discussing our business model with my new remote team in an online video meeting. Over a period of two months, I had hired all seven team members through my mailing list and word-of-mouth. My hiring process was ad-hoc and improvised, but it got the job done. I actually managed to hire good people and, with some difficulty, rejected all applications from crackpots, corpses, and kangaroos.

Using my own money, I formally launched the company, signed agreements, and thus transitioned from Expedition (2) to Formation (3) in the Shiftup Business Lifecycle. With my new team, I debated how not to screw up our new business, as I had done with some of my earlier startup ideas.

Nearly 20 years ago, during the infamous dot-com bubble at the end of the 1990s, I wrote a 40-page business plan for my first startup. It looked amazing. It showed diagrams of revenues going up, profits going up, company size going up, and my ego going up. All trend lines stood erect. It was a tantalizing sight that pleased the jury of a business plan award who made me Entrepreneur of the Year in The Netherlands in 1999. Sadly, the people ...

Get Startup, Scaleup, Screwup. now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.