Monday, October 30, 2006

Why'd you pick that name?

Justin Crowell, a friend of mine who lives in Austin, Texas, asked about why I chose Rowdy Labs as a name.

It's memorable.

It's polarizing. Using ameliorate in my resume gets me rejected from the type of company that would hire a HR person who'd reject a resume because it contained a word he didn't understand. Similarly, if the name "Rowdy Labs" scares you enough to avoid my business you probably should avoid my business. If the connotations of the word Rowdy make you think I'll going to fight the world if necessary to make the idea work, you'll know I'm your man. Polarization is bad in some spheres. When you can use it to generate good fits with like minded people, it's a great thing.

"Rowdy Labs" also connotes that this is an incubator that will spin off businesses as they take on a life of their own. The business of this business will be founding businesses. I'm most interested in ideas that aren't just another job. Ideas that gain a lot from a lot of effort building them. I'm a builder at heart.

My Grandfather and Grandmother ran a 7-Eleven franchise from before I was born until I was 12 (Grandma sold it to move to Georgia with us). Grandpa was a maintainer, a shopkeeper at heart. I learned a lot about that from the years I worked there. By the time I was twelve, I was running the register, and stocking the shelves and much of the other work that goes into keeping those running. It's a great thing if you're the type of person who likes a steady income, customers who know your name and you theirs. I think I might think about it for retirement. Until then, building will be for me.

Some businesses, such as consulting, work out for great people. However you're fundamentally limited by the amount of *you* there is. This is fundamentally shopkeeping. This appeals to some people. Speaking with a member of that company, it really appeals to them. Good for them, and their many happy customers. It is a tried and true method, and it is bringing them prosperity.

Other businesses, such as product creation/selling, wholesaling, fixed product websites and distribution have a much greater potential for scaling. Growth is much easier to scale (you're not fundamentally limited by the amount of you) and they're very up for outsourcing. They allow you to concentrate on a core competency, and building relationships. As I have the skill of keeping a lot of plates in the air, I can do this sort of business.

Something I am good at is a research, research, research, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, then concentrate on marketing and growth. This fits working an idea hard until it works, then backing off to let more long term people the day to day.

Focus is key in businesses. I'm not trying to sign up for a life of leisure. Just hard work with the possibility of a big payoff.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

The first step of founding a business

You pitch to the gods and people just happen to be there.
  --Guy Kawasaki

I've had the dream of Rowdy Labs for quite awhile. Now I've taken the first concrete step towards a business to capture the creativity and deep research I put into what I do. Last night I registered my LLC with the State of Georgia. You can do so here.

How could I do that without weeks of backbreaking research on how my company should be structured? You define how to change an LLC's operating agreement when you set it up. "Unanimous written consent of the members" is what I chose (as many LLC's do) for as the amendment criteria. I'm the only member. I can agree (on paper) with myself about how I'd like to change the agreement when the company needs to change in the future.

If I decide later a C or S corp are beneficial to the business, I can form either kind and sell the LLC to it. The purchasing corporation would then be the sole member of the LLC, and could do what it will with the company.

What does Rowdy Labs LLC do?

That is still to be determined. I have several half done business plans. I'm going to finish the most promising of those, and bribe some of my business minded friends with a steak dinner in the hopes they'll acid test those plans.

Of the plans that survive, I'll choose the one with the highest expected value that also can self-fund.

I have a couple small projects that don't merit their own company or collaborators. These will also be showcased here as they go live. These are going to be on the side, and are a "Do it and it's done" type of business (Like writing a textbook, building a building, etc).

I will try to post a business plan that we've decided will not be for me, so others can see how it's done without doing all the research themselves. As of now, the main company website is not up. I will post when it is and will link to it from the sidebar.

      --Michael Langford, Founder of Rowdy Labs LLC

PS: Oh yeah, day job people: I'm not planning on going anywhere until that becomes necessary or I get rich. You've got awhile for either :o). I want to have my cake and eat it too.

Self-Fund- A business that does not require outside investment to start or continue.
Operating Agreement: Document that controls how the LLC works, states the indemdification, specifies how members take profit, specifies who runs the business and specifies it's own modification criteria.
Member: Person with an ownership stake in an LLC