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2013-09-03 12:00:00


I recently had the privilege of speaking for an hour or so with FAKEGRIMLOCK. I received this "GRIMSULTATION" when I helped fund his book project on Kickstarter. It looks like you can now buy your own grimsultation (or a copy of the book) on his online store.

He answers the call in his character voice, which was, well, awesome. The rest of the call takes place in "human mode", "BECAUSE ONE HOUR OF TALK LIKE DINO TOO MUCH AWESOME FOR YOUR PUNY HUMAN BRAIN." He's right, an hour would have been too much, but I wouldn't have complained if I had gotten 30 seconds of the voice instead of 3 seconds.

Basically, I spent the hour describing and inviting his feedback on our strategy for Zumero, our mobile database sync stuff.

(Since launching Zumero's "Minimum Viable Product" six months ago, we've been iterating fast. Feedback from these early customer interactions is helping us figure out what Zumero should be, not just where it needs to be polished. I figure if "lean" is only about bug-fixing and feature requests, it should probably be called "beta". Anyway, as we finish our conclusions about which Zumero use cases deserve our focus, I'll write more specifics. For now, this blog entry is mostly just to admit that I'm a FAKEGRIMLOCK fanboy.)

Processing these issues with FG was an entirely pleasant conversation. During my 25 years in this industry I have been fortunate to interact with plenty of very sharp people. FAKEGRIMLOCK is somewhere in the top five.

His primary background is technical (as is mine). I described our product and he understood it immediately. I could discuss issues which require deep technology understanding without the need to explain anything to him.

At the same time, his range is incredible. I have been told that my discernment and judgment on business issues are unusually good (for a nerd), but I think this guy is a lot sharper than I am. He seemed to easily see some stuff that we've spent months trying to figure out.

FG is one of those rare people who really understands the importance of context. Tactic X can be a great idea for startup A while simultaneously being a terrible idea for startup B, because A and B are in different situations. It's much more common to encounter someone who once used tactic X successfully and now recommends it as the right move for everyone. I suspect FG's high cluefulness proceeds from a background that includes multiple successes and failures in a variety of contexts.

My favorite part of the call was his rant about "the myth that people want simple products". FG claims (my paraphrasing) that what people actually want is products that seem simple, but which have the depth to meet more needs as the user gets further in. Shallow products don't win. Products win when they have power but hide it.

The whole secret identity thing is just a lot of fun. Almost nobody knows who FAKEGRIMLOCK actually is. I don't. By day he works at a startup company. His coworkers have no idea that he is FAKEGRIMLOCK.

He says he is located in Washington DC. At this point, I'm guessing that is misdirection, and actually DC is the one place we know he is not. :-)

There are some people with whom FG interacts as both Bruce Wayne AND as Batman, and they haven't figured it out.

So cool.

Maybe someday he will reveal his human identity. I'll admit that I'm curious.

Unless FAKEGRIMLOCK is actually Ben Affleck, in which case, I really don't wanna know.