Blog

Thoughts on entrepreneurship, startups, and tech.

 
What Are They Thinking Across The Table

You’re negotiating your startup’s future and the person across from you fingers through a notebook while glancing occasionally at the slide deck that you have painstakingly put together for this meeting. He alternates his edginess between his iPhone and stylish pen while intermittently asking you to explain an occasional number or market assumption. He doesn’t care about you, it’s his exit that interests him.

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Want To Make An Impact? Stay Off The Stage

Remember the legend of Icarus? Daedalus warns his son of complacency and excessive self-confidence and, not to fly too close to the sun. Icarus heeds his father’s advice and sure enough, his wings melt and plummets into the sea and drowns. This tragic theme of failure at the hands of hubris is a good illustration that some need to remember in today’s divinatory startup eco-system.

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Visit Your Local Bakery Before Declaring That Digital Wallets Are The Future Near

There’s a lot of hype around digital wallets and apps and that makes sense, after all, how many billions of people purchase day to day items with pocket change every day around the globe?! But then again, how many of those are ready, or willing, to change their habits overnight because of some cool new app? Probably a handful in certain communities in leading edge New York or trendy London, but not many in my local bakery. At least not tomorrow.

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The Fable Of Free

Before the internet, everything outside a cup of sugar or washing liquid from your next-door neighbour was for sale. Then suddenly, things of apparent usefulness started to appear for free and soon trying to get someone to pay for something became difficult. For startups, this forgotten truth forced the majority to raise money on hypothetical future cash flows and produced a series of ‘bubbles’ and cohorts of belly-upped companies.

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Eyes Off The Data, Look Around You To Grow Your Business

You know why there are still pilots in planes? Because of all the unforeseen, unexpected and unimaginable things that can happen particularly around crowded airports and dense fly through zones. Same thing goes for surgeons, downrange military personnel and judges. The parallel between these jobs and your’s of running a startup or SMB is straightforward; take your eyes off (out of) the data and look around you.

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You Don’t Have To Follow Everyone, You Can Change Lanes

Swimming is a very repetitive and solo endurance sport, you have to complete countless laps in a pool before even starting to feel like you’re moving forward somewhat gracefully using one of the accepted styles. This is a pretty similar equation to most startup communities; a lot of isolated drudgeries and the occasional meetup but all, swimming in the “same lane” after the same goal.

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It’s Going To Be Long, So Why Not Enjoy It

In my view, starting off on a long trek is like launching a startup. You know from the start that it’s going to be a long haul but instead of being stressed, multitasking all the way and trying to control everything, you embrace the journey because of the mesmerizing length, impending beauty, and pure discovery. That mindset could be the difference between succeeding with your venture or failing.

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Customers Should Be On Balance Sheets

I once had a long & involved discussion that lasted over a few weeks with a CFO I used to work for in a large service industry corporation. The debate was simple; should ‘customers’ appear on balance sheets. I argue that the only way is by treating a customer record (relationship) as an intangible asset thus giving it a place on a balance sheet.

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