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HAM, or Hard As a Motherfucker, is a methodology for rapidly turning ideas into prototypes.

##Principles of HAM

Collaborate with awesome people. HAM provides a framework for meeting and collaborating with people in a fun, intense, low-risk setting. HAM is working if two people meet, go HAM together, and decide to start a company after.

Exploit free cycles. HAM is built for people who are interested in working on new projects, but are not interested in quitting their day jobs.

Get faster. One of the goals of HAM is to minimize the time between ideation and prototyping. This allows people who go HAM to launch ideas in the market faster than anyone else.

Build in public. The output of any HAM Project is always shared publicly. Building in public enables you to grow your network and validate your idea earlier. It also adds healthy pressure to delivering something you’re proud of.

Share success. HAM removes friction around ownership by providing a standardized, transparent framework. HAM is built for people who want to share success, not hoard it.


Butcher. The Butcher is the project lead. The Butcher is responsible for:

  • Pitching the project
  • Creating the Statement of Work
  • Assembling the Squad
  • Managing the HAM Session
  • Demoing the Project

Statement of Work. The Statement of Work is the blueprint for the project. The Butcher creates the Statement of Work, and edits it as needed based on the Squad’s feedback.

Squad. The squad is the group of people who go HAM on a project. The Squad can consist of any number of people, but 3 is probably the sweet spot. The Butcher is always part of the Squad.

HAM Session. This is where the magic happens. A HAM Session is a standardized period of time during which the Squad executes the Statement of Work. The current thinking is that a HAM Session lasts 2 weeks. Enough time to get a prototype on TestFlight.


  1. Squad selects Project from Backlog
  2. Butcher generates Statement of Work for Project
  3. Squad begins HAM Session
  4. Butcher Demos the Project

##Demoing Demos are performed in public. The point of demos is to:

  • Promote the project
  • Provide a delieverable for the HAM Session
  • Share knowledge with others

Demos are recorded and posted to

##Ownership The Butcher begins with 100% stake in his Project. Upon the completion of a HAM Session, 20% of his stake is distributed evenly among the Squad.

This stake is essentially meaningless until:

  • The project generates revenue. Monthly revenue after operating costs is paid out to the Squad based on their stake.
  • The project is sold. The sale price is paid out to the Squad based on their stake.
  • The project incorporates and raises capital. TBD. This is potentially tricky. The goal is to reward the Squad without screwing up the cap table or weakening the founding team. Being a Squad member does not make you a cofounder of the company; stake ≠ equity.

##Open Questions

Duration/Stake Split. What if a HAM is an intense weekend, not an intense two weeks? What if you give 50% of your stake to the Squad, not 20%? We’ll have to figure out what works best.

Statement of Work. I have a pretty clear idea of what a templatized Statement of Work that I’ll add later.

Project Selection. Eventually, we’d want a somewhat standardized way for pulling projects from the backlog. Projects ought to be done when:

  • They are interesting
  • They are well-scoped
  • The Butcher is a frequent contributor to other peoples’ projects

Constitution. HAM should be a flexible methodology and there should be a framework for modifying it via consensus.

Equity vs. Stake. Ownership is still not a solved problem here.

IP. The goal is that the Butcher owns all the IP, but that we can modularize code and reuse it for future projects. I don’t know what license will make sense.


HAM, or Hard As a Motherfucker, is a methodology for rapidly turning ideas into prototypes.



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