CategoryAdvice

Am I Being Too Subtle?

Many months ago, someone suggested I read “Am I Being too Subtle?“, Sam Zell’s memoir. It’s a good read. Clearly written by Sam itself, as Sam is a go-getting entrepreneur, a true self-made billionaire, but one that didn’t simply have one success, but a whole series of successes in a multitude of industries. The biggest teaching moments of the book come at the end...

Gmail is:muted

I spend a lot of my day in Gmail “talking” to hundreds of people at a time. The web interface to Gmal is efficient and sufficient, but today I discovered a fixable flaw… MUTED. I noticed that in a little box next to the title of one important email.  It looked this this: Googling, it turns out you can find all your muted email by searching for “is:mute”.  I had two...

Advice from first time entrepreneurs

I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost 30 years. I’ve founded or co-founded a lot of companies in that time. I’ve taught and mentors hundreds of entrepreneurs in the last decade. I’m a lifelong learner and am constantly finding and reading more advice to make entrepreneurs’ lives easier, including my own. There is no shortage of startup advice. The trouble is, a lot of...

How to use 99designs

An oft-repeated advice to startups is to fret over your name and logo. It’s the first impression you make with customers, potential hires, investors, and everyone else. Over on Fledge’s blog is a video (below) showing off examples of how we’ve done this at Fledge. Some of the “after” logos were my designs, some by professional designers. For the Fledge logo, the logo...

One step ahead of the Pandemic

When the world gives you a pandemic, make lemonade??? Maybe, if what your city needs most of all is lemonade. Most likely it is something else. But what? Well… unless you live in China, the good news is that some country is ahead of yours in terms of dealing with the pandemic, and thus you can look to see how they dealt with their epidemic to better guess how your customers will deal with...

Fax on the Beach: Too Soon and Too Late

Browsing the tech news I came across Fax on the beach: The story of the audacious, visionary, totally calamitous iPad of the ’90s and had flashbacks from my very first startup back in the early 1990s. This is a great example of how timing is so key to the success or failure of a startup. Timing, as the EO was 15 years too soon. They got the form factor correct, as the EO 880 is the same...

It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You Into Trouble

The title of the post is the first line in a (likely misquoted) quote: It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You Into Trouble.It’s What You Know for Sure That Just Ain’t So.(maybe) Mark Twain, but probably not. This quote shows up in The Big Short book and in the opening of The Big Short movie. It fits that story, as well as startup life. It reminds me of an old Fred Wilson blog post: Strong...

Incompetence, Fraud, and Association Reserves

After finishing The Big Short book I had to re-watch the movie. This time not only was I watching for signs of purposeful fraud vs. emergent fraud, but trying to tease out the difference between incompetence, fraud, and something else that is something between ignorance and stupidity and folly. A real world example of this showed up in my life a week ago. I’m the Treasurer of my homeowner...

Bowie, Jazz, an Unplayable Piano and the power of Business Accelerators

What do David Bowie, Jazz, and an unplayable piano have to do with the power of business accelerators? All get you out of your comfort zone, and that seems to be a secret to success. This episode of Tim Harford’s Cautionary Tales explains how. Listen to the episode first. My analysis is that one of the powers of an in-residency, in-person business accelerator is that it gets entrepreneurs...

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