This one question changed how I looked at contingency plans

Hello friends and welcome back to the Product in Public newsletter, where I give you an inside look at how I help companies attract capital and build better products.

Before we get to today's newsletter, here’s some of the content I’m consuming that you might find interesting.


What I’m consuming

This week I pressed harder into my journey into learning how to write code. I’ve piddled with learning various languages in the past, but this week I doubled down on my efforts towards being a legitimate programmer.

One of the best resources I have found is the CS50 lessons, from Harvard, which are free on YouTube. I’m through the first four two-hour lessons and have been taking notes.

If you’d like to copy those notes, I’ve published them live here.


What will you do if you are wildly successful?

Most business owners focus on the negative consequences that can arise in a business. Sometimes it's the positive results that can be just as problematic.

Take for example the Line12 venture fund that I launched in 2014.

It was a first-of-its-kind, ideation-stage startup fund built inside a credit union. The idea was to be the seed capital for entrepreneurs in our community.

As part of the creation of the fund, I created a Board of Advisors who were intended to help me keep the fund on track.

During one of our pre-launch planning sessions, the Board members discussed what we should do if the fund failed. That is except for Bruce Hayes. Bruce flipped that concern on its end and asked a question that I think about every time I launch a new venture.

What will you do if you are wildly successful?

When Bruce said that to me I thought he was making a joke. He wasn’t. Bruce encouraged me to consider what would happen if the launch of the fund went so well that we got in more deal flow than the team could handle quickly. If that happened, applicants might get frustrated with a slow response time. That in turn could lead to negative press or a negative pull on the fund’s reputation.

Sure enough, on launch day, we had so many quality applicants that we exceeded the capital that had been set aside to beta-test the program. Fortunately, I had planned for that contingency because of Bruce’s advice.

This week I had the opportunity to pass along Bruce’s wisdom to a client. They had landed a contract with a local chain to test out their products (👋🏼 Kendrick). I encouraged him to limit the amount of product he placed in each location but to also plan for how he could quickly respond if his products sold out quickly (i.e. what if you are wildly successful?).

What does that look like in your own business or even in your career?

What if the advertising campaign you run is so powerful that you get more orders than you can fulfill?

What happens if you are oversubscribed in your funding round and you have to leave out investors that you’d like to have onboard? Yes, that happens sometimes.

What do you do if your career is going so well that you are offered a promotion, which means you’d have to move your family to somewhere you aren’t interested in living?

We spend most of our lives planning for bad contingencies. I hope I’ve convinced you to consider the flip side as well. Because its those instances that few people are prepared for and they can have just as dire outcomes.


📣Quote of the week

With one eye on the destination, there is only one eye with which to find the way - unknown.


If you’ve found this information helpful, I hope you’ll do two things for me.

1) Subscribe to this newsletter. That way, new copies are delivered directly to your inbox.

2) Share this newsletter with one other person that you think might benefit from the information I share.

Thank you for subscribing!
Please check your inbox for a link to confirm your email address.

Read past issues

Apr 14
Energized > Rested
Apr 07
Numb the pain, silence the teacher
Mar 31
The Myth of the Big Exit
Mar 23
Growth Gears: Equity vs. Debt - Fueling a Startup’s Journey
Mar 16
A candid conversation about fear
Mar 09
The Technical Product Managers Guide to Go-to-Market
Mar 03
My goal was 100 financial plans. I did 10x that goal.
Feb 25
Poor MVP, no one likes you
Feb 24
Beyond Bytes: Why Interpersonal Skills are the New Power Tools for Success
Feb 17
This one question changed how I looked at contingency plans
Feb 10
From $100k -> $75M - this week's fundraising lessons
Jan 27
The next big finance opportunity
Jan 20
This is how long a startup funding round lasts
Jan 09
How I'd market a loan broker business
Jan 02
25+ years of finance experience in less than 5 minutes
Dec 28
How to have a stress-free relationship with money
Dec 17
How to buy a business with little money down
Dec 12
Want to 10x your business? Try the strategy that most people fear.
Dec 05
Why being loan-specific as a loan broker is best
Nov 28
The Power of Micro Markets
Nov 19
Defining success criteria helps remove analysis paralysis
Nov 12
Lessons from acquisitions
Nov 07
My business plan cheat code
Oct 28
Everyone is missing the real point about being overworked
Oct 22
Why you should have a "How to work with me" manual
Oct 18
Selling eggs - my quiet ambition
Oct 13
Breaking Free from 'Meh': The Hidden Impact of a 7 Rating in Life
Sep 24
From Software Engineer to Commercial Loan Broker
Sep 23
A personal message about the importance of your health
Sep 16
Is the SBA 8(a) program going away?
Aug 21
What is a search fund?
Aug 14
My guidelines for speaking engagements
Aug 07
The Ultimate Guide to Picking the Perfect Lender for Your Business
Aug 05
Built to sell - pricing strategies that work
Jul 22
My framework for building impervious value propositions
Jul 12
How to force tradeoff decisions
Jul 09
How I'd Start a Freelance Business Today
Jul 05
The Bookends of Product Management
Jun 28
From the C-suite to Product; How I got here and what you can learn from that
Jun 17
My Digital Detox Experience
Jun 10
AI copywriters wrote this blog post
Jun 03
The SBA Just Made Business Acquisitions Easier
May 27
The power of index investing funds
May 20
The most important skill for entrepreneurs
May 06
I churned out 46,000 words in 90 days using this writing process
Apr 29
⏰ NOW is the time to turn your finance career into entrepreneurship!
Apr 22
How to build your own financial plan in under 1 hour
Apr 15
Define your audience first, then design your product
Apr 08
Getting a business loan just got harder
Mar 25
This one question is jet fuel for productivity
Mar 24
Are the rate hikes over?
Mar 18
This tool removes decision fatigue
Mar 11
The one stat keeping us out of a recession
Mar 05
One key reason raising startup funding is so hard right now
Mar 04
My framework for quickly launching profitable products
Feb 16
What’s the average business loan interest rates?
Feb 13
Everything you need to know about business loan rates
Feb 10
This one tool made me a better entrepreneur
Jan 25
This one-pager is perfect for brainstorming business ideas
Jan 18
Stop making this mistake with your startup’s target market
Jan 11
Powerful tools for researching competitors
Jan 08
User persona template demo
Jan 04
They should take my Marketing degree away
Jan 01
How to confidently charge your worth
Oct 02
Building wealth with Restricted Stock Units (RSUs)
Sep 11
What I’ve learned as a startup analyst for an angel investing syndicate
Jun 24
My favorite economic analysis tools
May 29
Which SBA Loan Has the Lowest Down Payment?
May 01
The Power of a Decision Matrix
Apr 24
Things to consider when buying a business
Apr 17
Buy a Business vs. Start One
Mar 31
How do Micro SBA Loans work?
Mar 03
Common Investor Term Sheet Components
Feb 15
3 Step Process for Generating Business Ideas
Feb 06
Thoughts on <my first Angel Investment>
Jan 11
Lessons from writing over 1,000 words per day
Jan 06
There Are Two Main Types of Business Plans
Dec 09
The Best Pitch Deck Templates