D.R.I.P.: Platform Thinking for Lean Startups

May 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Define

Terms, flows, roles, success criteria, open questions

Research

Characterize and identify Customer Zero

Implement

Enable Customer Zero to deploy a minimally viable app

Productize

Deliver a coherent and sustainable ecosystem

Transforming the Bay with Christ: A Platform Analysis

February 24, 2015 § 5 Comments

My series of four articles (plus a postscript) analyzing the regional spiritual renewal initiative Transforming the Bay with Christ:

  1. A Platform for Regional Transformation?
  2. From Platforms to Governance
  3. Trading Control for Authority
  4. The Process for Products
  5. TBC Postscript: A Missional Creed

TBC Postscript: A Missional Creed

February 24, 2015 § 2 Comments

I close out my series with a personal proposal for the “sacred space” around which to organize Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC). 

I believe the mission of Transforming the Bay with Christ is to:

  • Mobilize, Unify, and Grow the Body of Christ
  • To Bless the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Through the Transforming Power of the Cross

« Read the rest of this entry »

TBC 4: The Process for Products

February 20, 2015 § 3 Comments

In this series I have been building a case that Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC) should consider reframing itself as a startup building a platform for governance. In this, our final installment, I will discuss the process necessary to build such a product.

One of the key insights about entrepreneurship in the last decade is that a startup is not just a small version of a established business. Rather, a startup is an organization formed to search for a business model, rather than execute one.

In particular, this implies that startups should be designed to maximize learning by exploiting surprises. This is the exact opposite of a traditional business, which attempts to increase predictability by avoiding surprises.

To get the optimal structure, we need to be clear on:

  1. Which things we need to learn (the problem)
  2. How we are going to learn them (the process)
  3. Who will own the learning (the people)
  4. What will prove we have learned the right lessons (the product)

« Read the rest of this entry »

TBC 3: Trading Control for Authority

February 16, 2015 § 4 Comments

In this series we have been exploring the hypothesis that Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC) would be most effective if structured as a platform designed for effective governance. Please note that these essays are purely an intellectual exercise on my part; I have no formal connection with or deep knowledge of TBC.

When designing systems of governance, the most important question is who holds which kinds of power. That is part of the genius of the American system of democracy: for all its flaws, the division of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial has produced a remarkably resilient (if horribly inefficient) system. In our last post, we focused on who holds the power. Now we will focus on which power is held. « Read the rest of this entry »

TBC 2: From Platforms to Governance

February 6, 2015 § 7 Comments

In our first installment of my series on Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC), we talked about how platforms enable us to tackle problems and markets too big for any one entity to manage directly. Because of that, though, it is much harder to create a successful platform than it is to create a successful program. In this installment, we will talk about how to do that.

Characteristics of a Platform

The first thing to realize is that every platform is characterized by three distinct but interrelated factors:

  • Policy (governance)
  • Incentives (business)
  • Infrastructure (engineering)

The health of a platform is determined by how well these three factors support each other and the overall purpose of the platform.

This has two interesting implications:

  • Every complex human system (states, markets, corporations, etc.) can be considered a platform
  • The reason most platforms that wonks, suits, and geeks only worry about their layer of the platform (politics, economics, or technology, respectively) and tend to despise or ignore the others

« Read the rest of this entry »

TBC 1: A Platform for Regional Transformation?

February 4, 2015 § 5 Comments

[his is the first in a series of posts to help me clarify my thoughts about Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC). The opinions expressed are my own, as of February 2015. They are based on very superficial observations, and will likely change as I learn more. Your assistance and feedback in that journey is appreciated!

Possibly the most exciting thing to happen to local Christianity in over a decade, Transforming the Bay with Christ is a coalition of business and church leaders who appear to be simultaneously pursuing:

  • Service to the community
  • Church growth and unity
  • Society-wide revival

When I first heard about it, I was rather conflicted. On the one hand, I am a big fan of “meta-church” movements that — unlike the parachurch movements of my younger years — seek to work through churches rather than alongside them. On the other, I have been in the technology industry long enough to have become cynical about grand alliances…

That said, I was deeply impressed by the character and caliber of the people I met and saw during the first meeting in September. There appears to be a deep commitment to humility and directly confronting the hard problems, rather than glossing over them. I particularly liked the focus on prayerful relationships, which I agree are the essential building blocks of any larger movement.

While TBC draws inspiration and leaders from city reaching movements in Portland and Boulder, the scope of what they are attempting here seems vastly greater:

  • Nine geographically and ethnically diverse counties
  • Multiple major anchor cities
  • A population of “Wealthy Influential Miserly Pagans”

« Read the rest of this entry »

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