A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Despite what you might think, you are never too old to benefit from the helpful guidance of a mentor. At 51 years old, I am proof that even someone with decades of entrepreneurial success (and failure) can become more effective personally and professionally with the assistance of someone who has already walked their path.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Brian Coryat, Founder and CEO of Local Market Launch and former Founder and CEO of ValueClick (NASDAQ: VCLK) recently winged his talk at UC Santa Barbara's Distinguished Lecture Series. Despite winging it, his talk was both informative and delightful. He shared a number of witty entrepreneurial insights, including: "Startups are like high school. Both are fun, but mostly in hindsight. Talk to a high school kid, they're not having that much fun." (Note: I am an investor in Brian's current startup via Rincon Venture Partners.)
James Clear, is a prolific and engaging blogger whose work can be found at JamesClear.com. An entrepreneur, weightlifter and travel photographer, James offers his readers advice and insights that help them become better leaders, with an emphasis on improving one's health in the process. I recently caught up with James to discuss his wellness philosophy. Along the way, we explored some of his most engaging metaphors, including the Lion Tamer's Stool.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. I am writing this article while sitting on a rooftop deck, overlooking the ocean in Baja, Mexico. The warm sea breeze and chilled beers are no doubt influencing my thinking, but sometimes it takes a change in latitude to gain a change in attitude (sorry Mr. Buffet, I couldn't resist). My uber-relaxed state of mind aside, I have always believed that the key to personal and professional success is to select a locale that will facilitate your lifestyle and hobbies. Thus, the "best" place for you to start your company is the community you want to live in. Period. The days of entrepreneurs having to move to New York, LA or Silicon Valley to ensure their startup's success are long over. Don't believe the hype. Sound like crazy advice? Maybe, but it's exactly what my wife and I did over twenty years ago.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Popular and prolific and blogger James Clear recently shared with me why Richard Branson started Virgin Airlines. Not surprisingly, a beautiful, young girl played a prominent role in encouraging Richard to "screw it, just do it." An entrepreneur, weightlifter and travel photographer, James' work can be found at JamesClear.com, where he offers entrepreneurs leadership advice and insights. A recurring theme in his writing is the importance of one's health to personal and professional success.
A version of this article previously appeared in The Wall Street Journal. The good news for entrepreneurs is that there have never been more office space options for early stage companies. The bad news is that it is often difficult to determine which of these alternatives is ideal, since the definition of "ideal" changes as your venture matures.
A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. Mankind has long recognized the power of scarcity- we want more of what we are denied or find difficult to obtain. Societies have come up with homilies that highlight the power of this remote bias, such as, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill" and "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Yet, despite the widespread acceptance of this psychological tendency, a number of Rincon's startups still assign a premium to remote resources, usually with respect to hiring senior startup executives.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Pilot agreements are provisional contracts under which companies can assess the veracity of a potential, long-term relationship. Startups often pursue such arrangements, hoping it will reduce the friction normally encountered during the negotiation process and lead to revenue more quickly. Ironically, the result is often just the opposite. By their very nature, Pilot agreements implicitly assume both parties are testing a relationship's efficacy. The “go / no go” structure of such contracts effectively allows big companies to defer their ultimate decision of whether or not they want to work with the startup until after the Pilot is completed. For this reason, startups who perform Pilots have failed the Business Development Idiot Test.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. The six words, which I believe encompass the key characteristics of a successful, serial entrepreneur, are: Fervent, Wily, Selfless, Optimistically Pessimistic and Self-aware. At first glance, it may appear that a number of commonly assumed attributes are missing from my list. For instance, Alan Hall cataloged 27 entrepreneurial traits in THIS Forbes article. However, I believe that the personality characteristics identified by Mr. Hall are subsumed by the six words that comprise my list.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Don Charlton’s heroic journey began with him growing up on government assistance and culminated in his founding The Resumator, one of America's fastest growing startups. Don's perseverance and chronically positive attitude is inspiring. The Resumator's intuitive recruiting and applicant tracking solution has been used by over 12,000 companies, which have processed more than 4 million resumes and filled 36,000 jobs. The company’s clients include: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Hootsuite, Klout, Posterous, Bitly and Mashable. You can hear Don tell his story in the following excerpt from his recent talk at UC Santa Barbara. Note: I am a Board Member and an investor in The Resumator via Rincon Venture Partners.