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Startup Assembly Manual Nominated for Small Business Book Awards 2016

From Small Business Trends:

“The focus of “Startup Assembly Manual” is squarely on the product in the “startup” process. Most “startup advice” books focus on the marketing and inspiration needed to launch a product, but only a few focus on the product, which drives the whole thing. Without a good product (or service), your startup will not successfully launch. The book, in particular, embraces its own self-developed methodology, “ACE methodology” (Assess, Confirm, Execute), which focuses on analysis validation, and constant feedback to refine marketing and product design. It features one of the simplest and most straightforward formulas for pricing that a reader will ever see.”

Do you have a brilliant idea for a product or a business and you want to start your own company? SAM is a book for aspiring entrepreneurs who have a great idea and no clue how to go about bringing their dream to reality.

It is focused on the foundation of any successful business: proving you have a saleable product first.

SAM is built from Mr. Freriks’ ACE Methodology, which embodies three basic steps: Assessment, Confirmation and Execution. It is a process of Assessing yourself, your customer, your product… Continue reading

Julia – new novel teaser

Cover_realSmallI’ll be finishing this novel up sometime late summer. I’d love some comments on Chapter One.

Julia is not ‘stunningly’ beautiful as most heroines tend to be. Neither is she ‘striking’ unless of course she happens to be striking you. No, Julia is none of that: she’s ‘odd’, not falling into any category or stereotype easily identifiable. With her round white face, pink-purple lipstick, and dead black hair, you might start with ‘punk’. However, the pink polo shirt screws that perception up pretty good, although the strangely patterned and oddly colored over-sized scarf flung over it might give you pause.

The ragged, torn, and apparently dirty jeans might not bring you back to ‘punk’—more like ‘unkempt’. The black cowboy boots? Well, aside from the fact that they match her hair, your brain might start to frazzle in its attempt to make any sense out of this. Her ‘just a little plump’ body does stretch the denim a little, but ‘it works’, she likes to say. Looking at the 26-year old woman, you might disagree, but on closer examination, you might nod your head and think that maybe it does work. Somehow. Julia thinks her body is a different… Continue reading

Boiling Frogs – September, 2087


September, 2087

By Unnamed. (withheld for protection)


Recipe for Boiling a Frog

  1. Do not boil water first; the frog, upon being thrown into a boiling pot, will instantly jump out and hop away.
  2. Simply place the frog in the water then slowly turn up the heat until it is boiling—the frog will become progressively acclimated and increasingly sluggish and unaware of the danger until it is too late.
  3. Reduce heat and remove the frog when it has lost its will to live.
  4. Strip the frog of all of its protective coatings; remove its independence, its need for self-expression and its soul, put it back in the water, adding flavorings to suit your tastes. It is now ready to serve you.

Cautions: Remember the life cycle of frogs:

Bondage to spiritual faith;
Spiritual faith to great courage;
Courage to liberty;
Liberty to Abundance;
Abundance to selfishness;
Selfishness to complacency;
Complacency to apathy;
Apathy to dependency;
Dependency to bondage.

Frogs are most tender as they move from Apathy to Dependency. Catch them at that point and don’t allow spiritual faith to occur.


The vast majority of people in the world are—and always have been— frogs. The people… Continue reading

How do you get “Great Ideas”?

QV-7When aspiring entrepreneurs finally realize they have what it takes—desire, passion, drive, ambition— to be successful, they inevitably ask: “what great idea do I use to start my business?”

Or, it is the other way around: They have great ideas and ask: “now what?” and “do I have what it takes?”

I wrote my book for the last group, but I find there are a lot of people in the first group, too.  One thing is common to both, however: the word “idea”.   The second group already came up with an idea and the first group needs to come up with an idea.  So, what’s the process of coming up with “ideas”?

I don’t necessarily believe in the pure “light bulb going on” explanation.  Great ideas come from somewhere.  Like the first big bubble of a pot of water set to boil for spaghetti, getting a worthy idea doesn’t just happen; there’s a lot of planning (filling the pot, turning on the fire) and time. The water just sits there for a while, the potential for boiling just invisibly building up. There are a bunch of little bubbles, but barely noticeable, especially if… Continue reading

The Customer as a Development Partner

Develop Your Product/Service Around What The Customer Wants To Pay For
I have been mentoring and coaching aspiring entrepreneurs for a few years and there are often two big problems with their perspective:

  1. They assume their idea is really valid and don’t bother to verify the existence of the problem or the need for a solution with other people.
  2. They develop the features of the product or service based only on their opinion of the problem and solution required.

Both problems are related, of course. The fact is many starter-uppers get an idea and build their product full-blown because they are so excited. One of my pet peeves is when developers spend 90% of the time developing the product when they should spend it developing the customer.

You are NOT your customer; only the customer is the customer. It does’t matter how passionately you believe in your product or service, only how other people feel about it. If you are the only person who:

  1. Has the problem
  2. Urgently needs a solution
  3. Sees your product/service as a compelling solution

…you have a problem.

Unless a LOT of people agree with the three critical statements above, you really don’t have a product… Continue reading

Have an idea and no clue what to do next?

Most books I’ve read on becoming an entrepreneur seem to be either academic or written by wildly successful businessmen whose vision of “startup” was very different than mine. I’m not that guy. All six of my startups started with just me and an idea…and blind courage.

The Startup Assembly Manual is a logical and sequential set of steps for the average guy with a great idea and no clue how to proceed. Using the ACE Methodology, it’s about first Assessing yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, passions, values, and experience to determine your fitness for the challenges of starting a business. Then it assesses your customer and your product to see if your product can offer a compelling solution to people with a real problem and an urgent need to find a solution. This is Confirmed through research then sales. Then it talks about Executing the business plan that is generated by all that effort. Learn more at

Embarrassing Entrepreneur Mistake

After selling my businesses, I was all full of myself and decided to get involved in some angel investing. This is where I started to learn about entrepreneurial miscalculations, which started to form the realistic and experience-torn foundation of the Startup Assembly Manual.  Without names, this is the story and lessons I hope to pass along.

The idea was credible. An engineering firm had developed a process to dramatically improve the brightness and clarity of LCD screens for devices like mobile phones and electronic panels such as ATMs where glare and sunny environments make it hard to see.  Not only did it improve the visual performance, but the process was about 60% cheaper for manufacturers of such display devices, which was a limitless market.

They had signed up the leader in the industry to be their sales outlet as the exclusive provider of this treatment process to all the makers of LCD displays.  What could go wrong?  I jumped at the opportunity.

The problem with the business wasn’t the product—which was terrific—but with the contractual deal with the sales channel and the word “exclusive”.  Two issues: they wanted to control the product so that they… Continue reading

Define Success: Lifestyle or Pot of Gold?

Somebody asked me how many millions I got when I sold one of my businesses.  He seemed a little stunned when I told him I didn’t.  I told him that it was never about the money; it was mostly about doing something I was good at and enjoyed and found rewarding and interesting, and secondarily about making a lot of money.

lifestylePotofGoldHis idea of “success” was different than mine.  He expected that entrepreneurs would start a business just to end up with a fat bank account.  But, there are really two definitions for success: lifestyle or pot of gold.

I’ve known people who are so focused on making money that they work all the time at something that they don’t really enjoy.  Their goal is to make it to 60 years old and have an awful lot of money. And, I know people who just want to be happy and fulfilled in the moment, not too concerned about the future. For me, I think success is all about balance between the two.  I have always been engaged in an enterprise that made me get up in the morning, one that generated sufficient… Continue reading


Sequel to ALONE

Mason and Amy Banks, Jacobs/Benson Thriller

Mason and Amy Banks thought they would enjoy a peaceful retirement from a career of delivering swift justice to bad people.

They wouldn’t.

Much of how the brain functions remains unknown. But Doctor Feng Zhuang was convinced he had discovered a world-shattering secret.

And some unscrupulous people discovered a way to take unfair and cruel advantage.

Available on Amazon