Best of Show

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Warning: tradeshows are highly emotional, ego-driven events – do not get sucked into the hype.

Despite what the most earnest Marketing Executive will tell you, tradeshows never make or break a company. Ignore your sales and marketing people when they tell you that your company will be embarrassed if you do not purchase an expansive, $150,000 booth. They should be embarrassed for uttering such ludicrous advice. If one or more of your team members has booth envy, require them to memorize the refrain from Public Enemy’s “Don’t Believe the Hype”.

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Are You an Entrepreneur?

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“You are forty, out of a job, a newlywed, your wife is expecting a baby, you don’t own your own home, you have no specialized qualifications, the only company you ever launched went bankrupt and you have just been sentenced to one year in jail.”

Source: Harold Evans, They Made America

Pop Quiz: Who was this person and what did they ultimately do with the cards dealt them? The answer is at the end of this entry.

Hint: He was an entrepreneur. Are you?

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Where Have All The Ideas Gone?

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“Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope of further developments.”
Julius Sextus Frontinus, 10 A.D., Roman Engineer

It happens to every generation – the feeling that there are no new frontiers. The inevitable gloom that comes knowing that everything worth doing has been done. It even happens to people who should know better, such as David Packard who stated in The HP Way:
“During my sophomore year at Stanford…I remember lamenting that I had been born one hundred years too late, that all the frontiers had been conquered and that my generation would be deprived of the pioneering opportunities offered to our forebears. But in fact, we went on to make breathtaking advances in the twentieth century.”

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Entrepreneurial Enterviewing

enterviewing.JPGThey smile, they laugh on cue and they have a pat response for every conventional interview question. They profess to be entrepreneurs, but are they actually Wantrepreneurs?

A Wantrepreneur is a good intentioned person who wants to be an entrepreneur, but does not have the skills, personality and or risk profile to be successful. When the going gets tough (as it always does at any startup) the Wantrepreneurs get going.

The costs of hiring a Wantrepreneur during the early stages of your adVenture are dramatic. As such, sometimes you must deploy unconventional tactics to separate the ATM Operating Wantrepreneurs from the Bank Robbing entrepreneurs.

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Beware The Consultant

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Once you obtain funding, it will be worse than hitting the Lottery. Instead of hearing from your long lost third-cousin, you will be inundated with an avalanche of ‘congratulatory’ emails, calls and letters from people who want to relieve you of the burden of your hard-earned equity round. Many such ‘congratulations’ will come from consultants.

An entrepreneur’s two most important assets are her time and money. There is nothing under the sun that will suck up your time and money faster, more prodigiously and less effectively than a consultant.

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Frugal Is As Frugal Does

frugal.JPGRichard White, author of The Entrepreneur’s Manual, surveyed a number of venture capitalists, asking them to identify the characteristics of successful, serial entrepreneurs.

One of the attributes identified by all of the venture capitalists questioned was, “Frugal use of capital”. In fact, several of the venture capitalists pointed out that successful entrepreneurs often have to be encouraged and pushed to spend more aggressively. Successful, serial entrepreneurs on The Fringe instill an urgent sense of frugality into their adVenture’s corporate culture.

“Bah humbug” you say? Read on.

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