Change The Way You Negotiate

A version of this article previously appeared Forbes.

Entrepreneurs have to be wily in all of their transactions, especially long-term commitments, such as property leases. In speaking with Steve Bermudez, former senior executive at Citrix, I was surprised that he was able to make money on some of his leases, by baking into his agreements the ability for Citrix to share in the upside realized by its landlord upon a sale of the property.

Steve and his team augmented this deca-million dollar windfall by wisely negotiating tax credits with local municipalities early in the process, which strengthened his hand with potential landlords and resulted in an additional multi-million dollar impact to the company’s bottom line.

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The Life This Wearable Saves Might Be Yours

A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes.

Have you ever had a couple of drinks, started to feel a mild buzz and wondered if you’re over the legal limit? If you’ve had drinks in a public setting, the answer is likely “Heck yes.”

A Santa Barbara based company, Milo Sensors, is tackling this problem via a wearable that constantly alerts your smartphone of your blood alcohol level. No longer will people have to estimate how impaired they may, or may not be, based on how much they have eaten, how many drinks they’ve had and how quickly they consumed them.

If consumer adoption becomes widespread, Milo’s unique solution could dramatically reduce the incidence of buzzed driving.

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Parenting An Entrepreneur – This Folktale Will Teach Your Children To Create Something From Nothing

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Marcia Brown’s 1947 retelling of the classic French folktale Stone Soup is a de facto playbook for how to start a venture.

In Ms. Brown’s version of this oft-told tale, three soldiers enter a small town during a time of war. Initially, all of the villagers flee to their modest homes and shun the soldiers’ request for food and lodging. However, the villagers do not realize that these travelers are not merely foraging soldiers. They soon learn that they are entrepreneurs who will launch a magical venture that involves a restorative meal, a communal celebration and reassurance that better days are ahead.

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Non-millennial Bootstrapping – These 50-Something Entrepreneurs Rejected VC $ And Nailed It

A version of this article previously appeared Forbes.

Jim Semick (left) with his Co-Founder, Greg Goodman

I have been watching ProductPlan for several years, as the founders are both friends and pillars of the Santa Barbara Startup Community. Without taking a dime of outside capital, the company has achieved impressive success in a competitive, SaaS market segment, landing companies such as Nike, Intuit, NASA, AutoDesk and PBS. What makes their story more remarkable, in the age of 20-something billionaires, is that both of the company’s founders are in their 50’s.

Curious to learn more about the pain and joys of bootstrapping a business, I sat down with Jim Semick, the company’s Co-Founder and Chief Strategist.

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8 Reasons Startups Should Not End Their Year on December 31st

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

During a Invoca Board meeting, an interesting idea was raised by Brett Queener, a former Salesforce senior executive. He noted that early in Salesforce’s tenure, the company changed its fiscal year to end on January 31st, rather than the traditional calendar year end.

This approach has been commonly used by retailers since the start of the last century. However, it remains fairly rare within the tech world. Intrigued, I conferred with Brett after the meeting and identified a number of advantages (some obvious, some less so) that a tech company can derive from a non-traditional fiscal year, especially one which does NOT end on the last month of a calendar quarter (i.e., March, June, September or December). <Note: I am an investor in Invoca via Rincon Venture Partners>

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Hiring Lessons From Annie Duke: World Series Poker Champ

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Annie Duke Poker 6_17

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure to hear Kit Cooper interview World Series of Poker champion Annie Duke. Annie touched upon a number of compelling topics that will be covered in her forthcoming book Thinking In Bets (due out early 2018), including how she provokes job candidates to show their true colors during interviews so she can read their “tells.”

It is clear that Annie enjoys interviewing candidates, a role in which she makes people uncomfortable in order to peek into their souls.

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Which Of These 7 Fears Are Keeping You From Being An Entrepreneur?

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

7 Fears Holding You Back 10_17

Marketing automation company HubSpot recently surveyed its users, asking them a variety of startup questions. Some of the responses to this non-scientific study were predictable and others surprising. In particular, I found the answers to, “What is holding you back from starting a company?” to be especially enlightening to emerging entrepreneurs.

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High School Dropouts Use Common Sense To Amass Millions

 

Growth Hack Anthony Kennedy PPT ver 9_17.jpg

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Note: This is Part II of High School dropout growth hacks. Part I can be found HERE.

Growth hacking is currently fashionable, yet it precedes the Internet by centuries. Entrepreneurs have been seeking ingenious shortcuts to spur their growth and defeat their competitors since the dawn of commerce.

By looking backward, modern entrepreneurs can co-opt the hacks from a pre-digital age that remain relevant today. These clever ideas often come from unusual sources, including: a teenage runaway who started a laundry and an immigrant restaurateur who left school at the age of 13. That’s right, the growth hacks described below were created by High School dropouts.

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