CategoryAdvice

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...

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...

Ruthlessly Resourceful and Pathologically Persistent

Years ago I came across a great explanation of what makes a great entrepreneur. It is someone who is “ruthlessly resourceful”, ignoring the resources at hand but still able to realize their vision. Another trait common to successful entrepreneurs is “pathological persistence”. Not taking “no” for an answer is a consequence of that behavior. Iteration upon...

Rules, Razors, and other Aphorisms of Advice

The follow thread popped up on my Twitter feed from Sahil Bloom… my favorites are copied below… A “razor” is a rule of thumb that simplifies decision making.The most powerful razors I’ve found:— Sahil Bloom (@SahilBloom) July 17, 2022 Luck: When choosing between two paths, choose the path that has a larger luck surface area. Your actions put you in a position where luck is more...

Writing can be music

I saw this on Twitter… and wonder why none of my English teachers were ever this eloquent? This sentence has five words. Here are five more words.Five-word sentences are fine. But several together becomemonotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing isgetting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record.The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence...

Imperfect information is more fun

I had an epiphany yesterday related to chess and entrepreneurship. I figured out why chess makes me so frustrated and why when I picked up chess in the pandemic, my chess rating hit a plateau above average, but no where as high as I expected. The problem is that chess is a game of perfect information. The challenge isn’t in predicting the next few moves. The challenge is in finding the best...

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