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Why Long-Term Thinking Wins

I teach the important skill of Seeing the Future to both entrepreneurs and investors, but before stumbling on this conversation, I had never before seen this framework of success in startups based on “the long term view”. By necessity, founders are rooted in the “here and now” mental framework required for launching a new startup. But great founders do something different at the same...

Running out of money (and how to stop it)

The biggest reason startups fail is that they run out of money. No money, no employees, no vendors, no way to serve customers, game over. Pretty obvious, but there are many different ways that startups can run out of money, and not all seem like failure: No customers The most obvious path to running out of money is lack of customers. This is the classic path we talk about a lot in...

Top blog posts for 2021

One, and only one of my blog posts is viewed every day. Seven days per week. I’ve never figured out why. It’s viewed more than the home page, by almost a factor of two. Here are my most popular blog posts in 2021, as measured by page views. #1 – Selling the first telephoneHow do you sell one telephone, as one telephone alone has no value. #2 – How many entrepreneurs are...

End of Year Clean Ups (a.k.a. too many Google Contacts)

I’ve been on Gmail since it launched back in 2004 and thanks to Google automatically collecting email addresses into Google Contacts, I have over 8,000 contacts in that service. Trouble is, 8,000 entries in my iPhone’s Address Book makes it next to unusable, as very few people I ever email show up. I searched the internet for a tool that would clean up by Google Contacts, deleting all...

Startups have leaky pipes

I’ve been teaching first time entrepreneurs about the importance of accounting and financial management for the last decade, and frustrated that whole time that most don’t grok the importance until they hit a financial crisis in their own startup. So let’s try something new… and talk about leaky pipes. The model/analogy to think about is a building, with a water tank on...

Future Dollars (F$)

Last week I wrote about the ancient system of Bills of Exchange and how useful they were for sellers to get paid sooner than 30, 60, or 90 days after the sale. A 21st Century systemic solution to replicate these benefits would be a marketplace that sells and trades Future Dollars (denoted as F$). A future dollar is a promise to deliver a real dollar ($) in a specific number of days. With this...

In-Person vs. Virtual (2021)

When the lockdowns began and all meetings, conferences, and training programs moved online, I knew what to expect, as I had purposefully experimented with virtual programs back in 2015. After nearly two years with everything virtual, this week was my first in-person gathering. One that gathered together the founders and managers of the 27+ companies of Africa Eats. One that was a gathering of...

Naming is hard… ask Alphabet and Meta

Naming is startup is hard. Harder than naming a baby you’ve yet to meet. Back in 2017 I posted a lesson in how to find a great name. Today (2021), Facebook shows us just how difficult it is to brand a company, especially an established company. Back in 2015, Google demonstrated the same mistakes. Mistake #1 – Naming by Committee No good name has ever been created by committee...

Salt water, lighting… bad journalism or fraud?

I keep seeing stories about a new lamp that is “powered” by salt water. The claim is that you’ll get 45 days of lighting using nothing more than half a liter of salt water… What I want to know is why none of these journalists ever check with an engineer or physicist or high school science teacher on whether such a claim is possible. If it’s not obvious to you, the...

The state and future of vertical farming

As a startup investor (and fund manager), there are themes that appear repeatedly in the dealflow submitted by startups. The entrepreneurs typically can’t see these patterns, and thus end up wasting their time repeating the same business plans that others many have tried and failed. I’ve written about this information asymmetry before and included a short list of business ideas Fledge...

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