This article previously appeared at OnStartups, HERE Note: This is Part V in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part I HERE, Part II HERE, Part III HERE and Part IV HERE. You may not realize it, but your adVenture’s Core Team, the senior executives who make the key decisions which drive the company’s strategic direction, is akin to a primitive tribe. Primitive tribes and your startup both entail a small number of people banded together to battle an uncaring, hostile world. Like the tribe, your company’s survival is always in question and never guaranteed. Success depends upon everyone pulling together for the common good and striving to accomplish common goals. Everyone’s efforts must initially focus on survival before the tribe can prosper and eventually evolve into a thriving, self-sustaining community.
I began publishing my blog in 2007. For the first couple years, I wrote under the pseudonym Uncle Saul. I was hesitant to use my own name, as I did not want my blog to be perceived as a self-promotional vanity project. By early 2010, I found my stylistic voice and identified my audience of emerging entrepreneurs and thus dropped my penname. In addition, my role as Partner at Rincon Venture Partners provided me with a business reason to invest additional time and effort into my humble blog. Last January, I decided to increase the quality and frequency of my blog entries, with the hope that I would generate a corresponding increase in readership. I was not disappointed.
Note: This is Part I in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part II HERE Each generation, a few magnetic personalities emerge and generate a mania of public interest. Before Elvis, there was Sinatra. Before Sinatra, there was Bing. Before Bing, there was Caruso and before Caruso, there was Blondin. Jean Francois Gravelot, who wisely abandoned his given name and dubbed himself The Great Blondin, was a true rock star of the 19th Century. On June 30, 1859, at the height of his fame, he stood before a crowd of tens of thousands of people at Niagara Falls.
Note: This is part IV of the four part series. Access part I HERE, part II HERE and part III HERE. Marketers have long known that people are drawn to exclusivity. As discussed in Jedi Mind Tricks, scarcity and fear of loss are powerful principles of persuasion. Students expend small fortunes of their parents’ money to attend exclusive, private colleges. Hipster-wannabes routinely wait in line for hours for the opportunity to buy exorbitantly priced drinks in an exclusive nightclub. As noted in Contract Traps Entrepreneurs Should Avoid, exclusivity can kill a small company. Unfortunately, many Big Dumb Companies (BDCs) assume they must unfairly skew the market in their favor by precluding you from freely working with anyone you choose. Exclusivity excludes your startup from taking full advantage of future customer, partner and market opportunities. As such, deals are not exclusive, they are excludesive.
Note: This is part III of a four part series. Access part I HERE, part II HERE and part IV HERE. As noted in parts I and II of this series, agreements with Big Dumb Companies (BDCs) can be alluring and potentially fatal. In many cases, agreements contain the promise of future riches, much like a piece of cheese in a mousetrap. This series describes how entrepreneurs can craft company-changing agreements with BDCs, while avoiding Kiss of Death contract provisions.
Note: This is part II of a four part series. Access part I HERE, part III HERE, and part IV HERE. As noted in part I of this series, agreements with Big Dumb Companies (BDCs) can be alluring and potentially fatal. In many cases, agreements crafted by BDC lawyers resemble ConTraps rather than mutually beneficial contracts. This series describes how entrepreneurs can craft company-changing agreements with BDCs, while avoiding Kiss of Death contract provisions.
Note: This is part I of a four part series. Access part II HERE, part III HERE, and part IV HERE. Agreements with Big Dumb Companies (BDCs) are like DC Comic’s evil villainess, Poison Ivy. Both are seductive and alluring and both are potentially fatal. A startup’s most meaningful agreements are often struck with BDCs. You will no doubt craft agreements with companies of similar or even smaller size to your own. However, your greatest risks and greatest opportunities will arise from the deals you cut with larger entities. Fortunately, it is possible to craft lucrative deals with BDCs that do not limit your adVenture’s ability to charter its own destiny. Just as Batman repeatedly avoids Poison Ivy’s kiss of death, so too must entrepreneurs avoid the Kiss of Death provisions which BDCs attempt to include in their agreements.