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Why you should build your company ‘outside in’

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Boris is the wise ol’ CEO of TNW who writes a weekly column on everything about being an entrepreneur in tech — from managing stress to embracing awkwardness. You can get his musings straight to your inbox by signing up for his newsletter!

A friend of mine is fixing up his house. He gave me a tour to show how everything is going and what his plans are for the space. We ended up on the roof, where I noticed the window frames needed ‘some’ work… as in, they were completely beyond saving.

I pointed it out, and he shrugged and explained he should’ve done those years ago but didn’t get around to it, so now he’ll be forced to replace them entirely — a much more difficult undertaking.

“But I’m an amateur builder, working on the ‘inside out’ principle,” he said. “Experts work from the outside in: you first fix the outside of the house, so it’s dry and isolated and fundamentally sound. Then you move inside and work your way down. Amateurs like me, however, want to be comfortable and work on the things we see and enjoy in our house. So we start from the inside out: we fix the flooring, walls, and lights, and only then do we start on the fundamentals.”

[Read: How my childhood ‘startup’ failed miserably]

It might not be smart, but I bet a lot of us can relate to this. Many times, I have been in a situation where my impatience allowed me to ignore the fundamental weakness of an object, structure, or project — as I was so eager to make it work — that I went ahead with it anyway. Then, when things fall apart, you curse yourself for not having invested in the fundamentals earlier.

Another friend of mine is starting a new company. He’s involved me in finding the right name and the design of the logo, tagline, and coming up with an overall brand. My involvement is only giving feedback on sketches every now and then, but I enjoy being able to help.

Then, at some point, he said, “I don’t really know what the company is going to be about — or even whether it will even be a company. But I like the name, logo, and branding, and I’m sure it will lead to something.”

Now, hearing this from someone else might have caused me some concern, but my friend is a successful serial entrepreneur, and this approach has always led him to success.

Starting with the fun stuff like finding a logo and name might sound simplistic, but my entrepreneur friend is no amateur. This is him working from the outside in. His branding exercise is about the fundamentals of the business.

Sure some branding can be superficial, only following the fundamentals of the business. But in some cases, the branding comes to define the product. Steve Jobs famously paid an unprecedented amount of money for NEXT’s logo design, way before knowing what product the company was going to create.

I guess there are two learnings here: find out what the fundamentals of your company are, and then work from the outside in. Just be aware that to some people, it’ll look like you’re working from the inside out.

Can’t get enough of Boris? Check out his older stories here, and sign up for TNW’s newsletters here.

Published October 15, 2020 — 14:33 UTC

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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