I suppose everyone has “a book”, it might be a journal or a word document. It’s the place where everything goes into. For me I have an A4 sketch book, it’s coffee stained and a bit bashed around the edges, not great to look at it but it contains every note about Datasentiment’s development from day 1 (and the previous four months from that). I started this book during unemployment, it was a horrible time as well. On the positive side this was the time I started meeting likeminded people in the startup arena, ones who I will keep in contact with wherever I am on the planet.
It’s got screen shots, market research, quotes, everything that got planned and binned, everything that got planned and implemented. Rough business plans, projections, customer segmentation, buying patterns, phone numbers, interested customers. It’s got SQL statements, recency/frequency/value calculations…. I’m sure you get the idea.
Most things I’ve been involved with never start at the computer, it starts with pen and paper. It forces me to start with a bunch of notes and ideas and refine them into something usable that I can produce. Every month I revisit the black book (today is my scheduled day) and I’ll go over notes from 12 months ago and see if there’s anything I’ve missed. Oddly enough things that I’ve put on the back burner (but are in the book) are now starting to emerge into something usable again. It didn’t go in the direction I’d originally planned but it’s good to see it’s not wasted. This book makes sure I don’t forget.