Michael C Hogan

Agile Product Development & Innovation Strategy

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Before you start, create a plan to stop

My #1 rule for ventures, especially with friends, is to create an “ejection seat plan” at the beginning. The ejection seat is designed to save friendships and prevent teams from holding on to ideas too long.

Write down a list of milestones that must be achieved in 1, 2, 3, and then every 3 months up to 48 months. Agree that either partner can choose to eject without blame whenever the milestones aren’t met. Agree how much equity will be retained in the event of ejection. Follow the plan.

I credit five inspirations for the ejection seat plan. (1) Tim Ferris’ “dreamline” concept from 4HWW, (2) news stories about “golden parachutes”, (3) my friends who learned this with me the hard way because we didn’t do it, (4) the Stripe Atlas guide to founders equity, (5) my friend who helped me validate that it can work.

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Creating a Project Plan

Lots of people use Microsoft Project or similar tools to create and analyze project plans. Here is my checklist for creating a project plan in Microsoft Project.

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“The Trouble with Dilbert”

Norman Solomon critiques the cartoon “Dilbert” in this series of essays collected as “The Trouble with Dilbert”.

https://web.archive.org/web/20040218235653/http://free.freespeech.org/normansolomon/dilbert/book/

Solomon investigates the hypothesis that companies allow Dilbert to be successful, and pay Dilbert’s author to speak at company events, because the cartoon conditions employees to accept a certain set of working conditions as normal so that they will not seek change. Who knows if it’s true, but it’s pretty interesting.