What the hell is Jeff Barson doing?

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Where am I?

This is the blog of Jeff Barson. I'm currently running HireVue Labs, former Director at Sendside, founder of Surface Medical, Nimble, Medspa MD, Freelance MD, Frontdesk, Uncommon, and Wild Blue... angel investor and startup advisor. Oh, and I'm a artist. More >>


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    "Everyone wants to kill the king. But the prince, he just sails along telling all the ladies, 'One day I'm gonna be king.'" ~
    Vince Chase, Entourage

    Yo, Sam needs a gig.

    Anyone who's in need of a short time paid programming gig or internship: I met Sam a few weeks ago at the Geek Dinner and liked him tremendously. Sam's going to be doing some work for Nimble but he's got a few hours here and there that he wants to put to use. Sam's still over there at Neumont but he's a motivated short-hair and would like to make a little geld during his breaks. I've included his resume and contact info below so take a look.

    Click to read more ...


    GBAT (Guy's Bozofication Aptitude Test)

    Guy Kawasaki's Bozofication Aptitude Test is now online. As a minor contribution to the blogosphere you'll notice that question number 15 is incredibly insightful.

    Fight Club Utah

    Fight Club, the Entrepreneur Network is coming to Utah.

    I've been kicking around the idea of starting up a startup networking dinner for entrepreneurs. I've attended a number of these networking soirees and think that the founders of young startups might well benefit from a network of  founder who are in, or have been in the same situation. Startups are always in need of a wider network than they have to build a team or find resources. I'm going to contact a few entrepreneurs and see who's interested.

    Why Fight Club? Geek Dinners taken. Besides, it's cooler to tell your wife/staff/buddies that you're going to Fight Club than have to ask strangers directions to the Geek Dinner. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)


    Business Venture Podcasting

    I've discovered podcasting.

    A few weeks ago I attended the fundinguniverse.com speed pitching event (see current events here). One of the presenters was a startup, Podango, that plans to aggregate podcasting into vertical channels of specific interest, manage advertising, and split fees with the podcasters. Some podcasters would be managing their own marketplace and recruit new podcasters into their vertical and presumably, receive an overide.

    Click to read more ...


    This is why I love NY.

    Updated on Tue, February 28, 2006 at 9:29 PM by Registered CommenterJeff Barson

    Anyone who's spent time in NY finds this stuff truthful and funny. Of course there's also overheardintheoffice.com that feeds me stuff like:

    CCA: My Excel's not working.
    Manager: I don't care.
    CCA: What should I do if my Excel's not working and you don't care?
    Manager: Call the Ghostbusters.

    Click to read more ...


    Niches more profitable than hits?


    Blog your business & your competition.

    Business blogging? Here's my 2 cents.

    I've been blogging for a while.

    irBlogLogo.gifI'm sure I started out the way most bloggers do. I heard about blogging. Clicked a few links. Opened a free account at Blogger which I posted 2-3 sentences and then abandoned. Read a few more blogs. And then I started a blog at a paid service.

    The paid part and the sense of familiarity that came with time allowed me to actually start writing.  (I'll leave the decision as to whether it's worth reading to you.) The tipping point came when I realized that I didn't have to write a book, that I was an authority on a number of things that others wanted to know, and that I enjoyed sharing that information and felt rewarded when people would read my stuff. It's not a thesis. It's a blog.

    Now I have a total of three blogs, each with a specific focus.

    The first blog I posted to was Medical Spas Online. MSO is a community blog that I write for occasionally  focused on non-surgcial cosmetic medicine targeted directly at physicians in that space. It's attracted a loyal redership of around 2000 docs.

    Interaction in that space and a growing familiarity with blogging in general has built a sense of 'blog trust' in me. 

    So I started two other blogs. (I'm also trying to talk my daughter into starting a blog on 'Three Day Eventing for Young Riders'.)

    I've launched an experimental blog for my medical business. The Surface Medical Spas Blog is designed to be an interface between Surface and our patients. Our physicians and staff will post information on our treatments and technology, and answer questions in a format that is available to our existing  and potential patients. I'm excited by this since I haven't seen this kind of format used by any business in the way we're using it.

    Then there's this blog of course. Startup venture, startup blog. 

    A growing number of great blogs cover much of what I'll be blogging about here. Why would the bloggosphere be in need of anything I might ad? Who knows. I'm hoping to be able to accomplish a number of things. Focus my thoughts and strategy by forcing myself to commit my thoughts to paper (kind of). Interacting with other entrepreneurs. Attracting talent. Instigating a corporate culture. Buiding trust in our small business clints, and potential business partners.

    Now before I get too excited, Chris Anderson has some feeling on business blogs; "the natural voice of the boss is fundamentally incompatible with the voice of the blogger, at least as regards their own company affairs."

     But wait, there's still hope. Chris goes on to say "The best business blogs come from the employees, not the bosses. They have more time, and are less prone to marketing gobbledygook and gnomic platitudes. And those kind of blogs are on the rise, not the decline."

    In reading that, it seems like my wish list may be a tall order. We'll see what we can do. 


    A post worth reading.

    Not this post. This one here from Chris Sacca's blog.


    Shane sold his business today.

    PICT0780lobby1.JPGShane, my nimble partner, closed the sale of his business today.

    Shane and his wife Treena started a day spa/salon business 5 1/2 years ago. They built The Brick House Retreat into what is probably the most successful and largest single salon & spa business in the state with gross revenues pushing $2m a year and a staff of 50. Their success and business acumen is what led me to place one of Surface's Medical Clinics in Brick House as a satelite clinic in Salt Lake. It was working with Shane in that capacity that impressed me enough to approach him in partnering on Nimble.

    So Shane has sold that business in order to fund Nimble as we launch.

    One of my favorite quotes comes from a chapter heading of a book that's popular among creatives, The Artists Way,  "Leap, and the net will appear."

    Shane and I both believe deeply that we have the opportunity to use Nimble to build the most valuable and valued tool available to any local business.  I for one have no reason to question Shane's commitment. 


    Inventory vs. Capacity - What's in a word?

    mbt.gifI attended a Geek Dinner tonight down in Salt Lake. I appreciate what the organizers of these dinners are trying to do in building a network among programmers. Having attended many of these type of networking dinners, the awkwardness of some attendees is apparent.

    After the dinner I was talking to Nathan Nelson (Nimble's new mouthpiece) and one of the Junto crew, Ryan Coombs, and a programmer from Provo Labs, (J...?). We were talking about Nimble and I took the opportunity to launch into my elevator pitch. I always try to take advantage someone who's never heard of the company or offering.  I try to stick with what we use as 'sales copy' while I'm talking and then ask for feedback to gauge how effectively I'm communicating and the level of understanding they have. The idea is to build the briefest, most effective terminology to describe exactly what we do.

    Tonight I gained feedback that I think will fundamentally change the way we present ourselves to business clients.

    I have been describing Nimble as a way for any local business to, 'manage their unused or excess inventory in real time'.  Those are exactly the words I used tonight. Twice.

    Immediately after the second turn of this phrase I was met with, 'unused capacity'. Bingo. That is exactly the term I've been searching for.

    'Inventory' sounds like old chairs and supply chain management. "Unused capacity" elicits the impression that every possible revenue producing opportunity is being utilized. Inventory sounds like cost savings. 'Sell your unused capacity' sounds like it's generating revenue and cash flow. Just the kind thing you want as a small business owner.

    Changing that one term in explaining our business model describes exactly what we're doing in the clearest and most succinct way. Thanks J.


    Preventive hiring as a start-up?

    Nothing I do as an entrepreneur/business owner is as important as hiring. But hiring is tricky.  It's very easy to pluck someone that's immediately available when you need boots on the ground. But, I always keep two things in mind when looking to hire someone.

    1. A bad employee always damages your company.
    2. Succesful recruiting means hiring above yourself, not below.

    Click to read more ...


    Why there so many sucky blogs and artists.

    Blogging's not easy. It often feels like you're actually haveing to write something for an audience.

    I've been reading a lot of business blogs lately and am struck with the number of posts that suck. (Not like this one.) While I  enjoy blogging I've come to realize that the actual writing is less than exciting. It reminds me of my artist days. As an artist you must be very comfortable being alone. All my paintings (almost all) we're created entirely by myself, in my studio, while I was working late at night and alone. Everyone thinks that the act of creation is exciting and fulfilling, and it is. But the joy of creation comes at the beginning and the end.

    click to enlarge
    A painting is exciting at conception and fullfilling at completion. The actual act is not usually enjoyable at all. In fact it's rather tedious. The Jackson Pollock style of throwing paint on a canvas is not my experience. As a realist, I've spent countless hours painting and repainting. This is a painting I worked off and on for a year. (Total full time of maybe 3-4 weeks.) It's big. 5 by 6 feet.

    Click to read more ...


    Nimble's Long Tail

    It's late and I have to drive up to Layton early tomorrow morning but now I'm wide awake. I often take an hour or so before I go to bed and read CNN.com and a number of blogs I've tagged on Del.ic.ious. Bloggers link a lot and I came upon a Long Tail post that led me to a number of other sites/blogs. Now I can't sleep. I've found the terminology that perfectly describes Nimbles business model. A model that I've struggled to be able to explain to small business owners and potential partners.

    Nimble is an aggregator. That is, we're looking to become an aggregator...  Taking all small business and building a marketplace that allows them to sell in real time no matter how small they are. Reading these Long Tail posts has really got me motivated.

    I'm posting this as a placeholder while I take some time to think about this. Long Tail Baby.

    Long Tail Links:
    The Long Tail Blog
    Wired Magazine Article by Chris Anderson (Coined the term)
    The Long Tail on Wikipedia


    Welcome to the first post. 'What it means to be an entrepreneur.'

    While Nimble is not my first business and this is not my first blog, I came across my first post for this site tonight.

    I'm posting a list from a blog I was reading tonight. (Find it here.)

    DON LOPER is the blog for MWI's founder, Joshua Steimle. (Another link is down there on the right.)I usually don't post an entire entry from another blog but while I was reading this post a feeling of utter simpatico came over me. Joshua is someone whom I've never met although we share a number of mutual aquaintences.

    He's regularly listed among Utah's upward bound entreprenuers and has obviously met with some success. But reading this post I was able to relate to almost every point. That came as something of a wake up call for me. The responsiblity of owning/running a business on which others depend is sometimes heartbreakingly tough. Most start-ups fail. That's a reality. I'm convinced that the reason many start-ups succeed is not that they are inheriently superior as a business but that they have an entreprenure that won't allow them to fail.

    A quote from Admiral Jim Stockdale (from a posting on Bnoopy) who was a POW in Viet Nam for eight years.

    “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

    Click to read more ...

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