It actually was a “dark and stormy night” on June 17, 1816, when the poet Lord Byron invited each of his houseguests to tell the scariest impromptu ghost story they could think of while sipping cocktails around his fireplace. Lord Byron’s bold challenge, combined with a supportive environment and the significant talent of the participants, resulted in two of Western literature’s most enduring gothic horror creatures. Understanding how you can emulate the cooperative, yet competitive atmosphere created by Lord Bryon will help you foster a team of A+ Players.
Einstein might have been smart, but he was clearly not a fashion genius. The stylish “slippers” he is wearing in the photo are real, not a product of PhotoShop. In 1905, at the age of 27, he published four groundbreaking works, collectively known as the Annus Mirabilis Papers. Over the next seven years, he drafted several additional papers of significance, culminating with his general theory of relativity, which was published when he was 34. Although he went on to author 290 additional scientific papers, none of them were as renowned or as impactful as those he devised during his youth.
The members of the rap group Super Nature were sure they had recorded their first hit record. However, in the pre-iPod days of 1986, the group was required to record a second song to be included on the “B-side” of their single. They spent little time on this perfunctory task, as they assumed the single’s flip-side would receive no radio airplay. In fact, the group thought so little of the B-side, it was not even included on their subsequent first album. Fortunately for the group, radio disk jockey Cameron Paul flipped the single over and began playing Super Nature’s B-side, which eventually become a platinum single. In order to cash in on the B-side’s unexpected success, Super Nature’s record company re-released the group’s initial album, which had sold modestly, adding the previously unheralded B-side. The revamped album sold over 1.3 million copies. It also launched the recently renamed Super Nature’s career. Who was Super Nature and what was the group’s B-side hit? Read on.
James Bond’s archenemy, Auric Goldfinger, was the prototypical evil businessman. He reveled in cheating – in cards, golf and business. His attempt to explode a dirty nuclear bomb within Fort Knox in order to contaminate, and thus devalue, the United States’ gold supply was devilishly akin to real-world, 21st-century terrorist threats. As noted in Time Wounds All Heels, despite Hollywood’s penchant for representing businesspeople as evil rogues, nefarious business tactics seldom lead to long-term success. Although you should shun Goldfinger’s unethical approach, you may be surprised to learn that many entrepreneurs have their own “gold finger.”
It is your chance to break into the “big time” All of your hard work and preparation comes down to a brief performance, the outcome of which could be life-changing. This was the situation faced by the hundreds of comedians who debuted on “The Tonight Show” during Johnny Carson’s 30-year tenure. If they succeeded, Johnny shook their hand at the end of their routine and offered them a seat in his guest chair. This small gesture indicated that he approved of their act and would invite them back for a future performance. The careers of nearly every successful comedian during the 1970s and 1980s, including George Carlin, Flip Wilson, Freddie Prinze, Sr., Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Jay Leno and David Letterman, were launched by a brief monologue on “The Tonight Show.”
Salmon live most of their lives swimming with the current. However, once they reach reproductive maturity, they make an arduous journey upstream, often jumping up waterfalls, in order to reach the spawning grounds of their birth. Salmon do not decide to make their epic trek based upon weather conditions, the flow rate of the streams they must traverse or even how far they happen to be from their destination. Rather, they begin their journey when their biological alarm sounds, irrespective of exogenous conditions. This is the same mindset that would-be entrepreneurs should have when deciding the right time to jump into the startup world.
Author Henry James understood the impact a ghost could have on a story. He also recognized that two ghosts haunting two children was even more effective than a single ghost and a single child, as his character Douglas notes in the 1898 novella, The Turn Of The Screw: "I quite agree – in regard to Griffin's ghost, or whatever it was–that its appearing first to the little boy, at so tender an age, adds a particular touch. But it's not the first occurrence of its charming kind that I know to have involved a child. If the child gives the effect another turn of the screw, what do you say to two children – ?" "We say, of course," somebody exclaimed, "that they give two turns!" (italics from original text) James understood that the introduction of each ghost and child effectively “turned the screw” – to a point. However, just as a carpenter understands that over-tightening a screw can cause it to break; James realized that too many “turns” of his metaphorical screw would render his ghosts ineffective as literary devices. Turning the screw just enough is an art in carpentry, literature and negotiation.
Wow. You just received a job offer from a startup which includes 50,000 stock options. That is wonderful…or is it? I reviewed and approved hundreds of Employment Offer Letters at my various startups, all of which included stock option grants. The number of otherwise intelligent prospective employees who never ask relevant questions about their stock options was frankly shocking. By getting answers to the seven questions described below, you will be able to make a reasonable estimate of what your options may ultimately be worth.
“Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.” Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Lawyer and Statesman, 106 BC – 43 BC With slight modification, Cicero’s astute quote aptly applies to the entrepreneurial world: “Startup advice should be judged by results, not by intentions.” One way to accomplish this goal is to compensate your addVisors with equity and clearly specify the tasks that they must perform in order to earn their remuneration. If their advice proves sage and the company’s value increases, then they will be duly rewarded. If the company fails, their advice is free, as it should be. The key covenants to consider when crafting your addVisory agreements include: Equity Only – ensures the addVisor’s and Company’s interests are aligned Specificity – clearly state the tasks to be performed and the minimum time requirement Restricted Stock – ideal form of equity, with no detrimental impact on your adVenture Cashless Loan – allows the addVisor to have beneficial ownership of stock, with no cash outlay Vesting – reduces your risk of parting with equity and not receiving requisite value Out Clause – motivates both parties to keep each other happy and allows either party to quickly terminate an ill-fated relationship Short Term – reflects the relatively brief duration of most addVisor relationships Each of these issues is discussed in greater depth in the following section.