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Primer: (Practically) Managing a Corporation

The previous posts in this series walk through what a corporation is, how it is structured, and how investors fit in. This post will add what all that looks like in practice. HistoryCorporate Structures Grants, debt, and equityDaily, monthly, … annual management(this post) Daily operations On a day-to-day basis the CEO, other managers, and staff run the business without any interference...

Primer: Debt and Equity

Part 1 of this Primer series talked about the history and limited liability of corporations. Part 2 dove into the corporate hierarchy. This post will dive into investment structures. HistoryCorporate Structures Grants, debt, and equity(this post)Daily, monthly, … annual management Grants All the young companies I meet want to raise money. I do a lot of work in Africa and thus do meet quite...

Primer: Corporate Structures

Part 1 of this Primer series talked about the history and limited liability of corporations. This post will dive into the structure of a corporation. HistoryCorporate Structures (this post)Grants, debt, and equityDaily, monthly, … annual management Shares and shareholders Corporations have owners. For a typical corporation, these are the “shareholders” (sometimes called...

Primer: Corporations

First time entrepreneurs are often the CEO of a corporation, but nonetheless don’t know exactly what a corporation actually is, nor how a corporation works with employees, management, directors, and investors. This series of posts will walk through those details. Not as a lawyer, as I am neither a lawyer nor have ever taken a class at a law school (not counting the one I guest lecture I...

The Next Century of Computing

While I’ve been down the rabbit hole of nostalgic computing, others are looking at the coming century of computing. TL;DR (but please do read the post, as it’s good), the end of Moore’s Law is going to set off a “Cambrian Explosion” of new hardware designs. I’ve not seen that prediction before, and it seems likely to me. In looking back at the 1970s era of...

The power of instant loops

In the last few months I’ve re-experienced the power of speeding up these iterative learnings, not in business but in my re-kindled hobby of programming. I’ve been turning my nostalgic visions of what 1970s computing could have been into an emulated Apple II4, complete with an emulated 652402 CPU. Why? It’s a hobby. It is fun to once again write code without being paid, taking...

Shortening the loop

Building a successful business is a series of lessons. Many fail. Enough succeed. What I’ve learned from doing this process for three decades is that the quicker you learn the lessons, the easier the path to success. And by lessons, I don’t mean the big lessons that the world throws at entrepreneurs, but the little lessons that you set out to learn yourself, as you hypothesize on how...

Pitching isn’t about the slides, it’s about the story

I thought it would be enough to write a book about the startup pitch. I was wrong. I thought maybe that was too many rules, too many details, simplify it down to a slide-by-slide guide. Far more often than not, wrong again. What is missing from the vast majority of the pitches shared with me is the story. Pitches are supposed to tell a story. A nice, simple, logical story of a business. What...

Simpler (financial) models are better

It is incredibly useful in business decisions to have a financial model, and a critical (but often overlooked) step for startup fundraising. That said, over the last decade I’ve worked with thousands of entrepreneurs whose favorite Office tool isn’t Excel, who don’t know how to analyze someone else’s financials let alone create a financial model from scratch. It...

Interrupting

Now that we’re all used to Zoom, the question arises as to the courtesy of how to talk on a media which has an inherent lag time. The most common expectation is that you wait for the other person to finish speaking, then wait for the lag, then take your turn. But I was raised in a part of the world where those expectations were not the norm for in-person conversations, and that half second...

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