Sometimes Good Enough Wins

There are so many lessons in startups, startup investing, and technology adoption that come from looking back a few decades. For example, I’m out of the 1970s nostalgic computing rabbit hole, but that journey has subsequently led to reviewing the technological progress of the late 1900s and early 2000s. This week, that was the rise of the RISC-based CPU, which was then obviously going to...

The AI Hype Cycle

The buzzword of 2024 is “AI” and like social, mobile, cloud, fintech, and blockchain, every startup is claiming to have it and every big startup fundraising is claiming to expand what can be done with it. Or in short, we’ve been here before. A Grand Unified Theory of the AI Hype Cycle does a very good job explaining how this will play out in 13 steps, and how it already played...

You never really taste it…

I’ve never been able to explain why I have so hard of a time believing consultants. What is it about their role that make their conclusions so often so wrong? None other than Steve Jobs explains… in less than two minutes.

“I don’t think there is anything inherently evil in consulting” … but “You never really taste it.” – Steve Jobs

The Next Step: Paperback

The Next Step 10th Anniversary (header)

Nine of every ten startups fail. For the the last decade I’ve been sharing my 30+ years of experience to help lower that horrible statistic. And it is working. Eight of our ten of the companies at Africa Eats are still running, the oldest now over 10 years old and many soon to reach that milestone? How? Business planning. By not stopping with a Plan A, as Plan A rarely succeeds. By not only...

All positive feedback

A common problem early in the startup process, in the market research phase, is too much positive feedback. Positive feedback feels great. Positive feedback is confirmation that your product or plan will work. Everyone loves hearing positive feedback and no one get mad at you for giving positive feedback. Trouble is, Plan A rarely works and you need the negative feedback to fix those flaws. I was...

Financial Ratios

While the expectation of investors is to receive periodic financial reports from investees, in reality few of the raw numbers in those reports are what we’re interested in, but instead ratios of those values.

Growth is hard to predict, especially exponential growth

I’ve talked about the proverbial hockey stick growth in years past, as well as the challenges of predicting the future, but what I’ve yet to mention is the tendency to expect future growth to be linear rather than exponential. Above are four graphs of four technology products, three of which which have seen exponential growth in the last few years: Solar panels (PV), Electric cars...

AI is a (misnamed) tool

AI is a tool. A misnamed tool at that, as the AI in the news these days is a complex web of statistics and matrix multiplication that resembles human intelligence, but which is far from actually intelligent. They are big, innovative, step-function-changing tools, like the printing press vs. hand copied books, like the typewriter vs. hand copied letters, like word processors vs. hand typed...

Developed, Developing, and other outdated terminology

Hans Rosling was an impressive public speaker, with not just an ability to distill complex topics into easy to understand stories, but to do so with a flair of showmanship. One of the many lessons in those stories was the fact that the world is no longer divided into “developed” and “developing” economies, but is instead is now a world with a continuum of incomes. What...

Logistics ain’t sexy, like tech

It’s been over a decade since I was part of the venture-backed tech industry. The only thing I miss about it is the massive amount of attention it receives, and from that, the orders of magnitude more capital that flows to tech startups vs. any other sector. Meanwhile, there is nothing like a decade of decompression and deprogramming to get a better view of the realities of the whole tech...


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