From the Director of Microsoft's Azure Services Platform Ecosystem

Brandon Watson

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Life Nudges Week 2

Starting a Business

Surprising that the theme this week would again be around starting a business. Not super surprising, given my background and the things my brain likes to jump to, but here we are.

A friend has a good idea for a company he wants to go start. He’s even spoken to seed investors who have agreed to give him the money. It’s not the best deal, and that’s caused him some hesitation.

I could tell he was excited about the idea, but he’s being held back by fear that he won’t have enough money, and also fear related to leaving his very well paying job.

As we talked about the idea, however, it wasn’t clear to me that he needed to leave his job to build a testable product. Most of what he wanted to do could be accomplished with a spreadsheet and a phone. He was massively overthinking the problem.

In this specific case, he was so wedded to his solution, he was missing the macro problem. Yes, the way he wanted to solve the problem would matter, and be a competitive advantage, in the future, but he didn’t need it today.

I’m looking forward to seeing some forward progress from him in the coming weeks. It’s a very interesting new spin on an old idea, but I like it. It really resonated with me.

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Brandon Watson is Director for Windows Phone 7. He specifically focuses on developers and the developer platform. He rejoined Microsoft in 2008 after nearly a decade on Wall Street and running successful start-ups. He has both an engineering degree and an economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an MBA from The Wharton School of Business, and blogs at