The Fringe

FringeEugene Kleiner, Co-founder of the VC firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, once said, “It is difficult to see the picture when you are inside the frame.”

A small percentage of people in each free-market society generate the jobs for everyone else. The people who create these jobs are solidly on The Fringe. They do not risk everything, work outrageous hours and put themselves under untold pressure because they want to. They certainly do not do it for the promise of riches. They do it because they have to, because they are driven to create something from nothing.

Continue reading “The Fringe”

Private Means Private or How To Avoid Dropping Trou

Private means PrivateOne of the few advantages you have as a small company is that you can keep your cards close to your vest. A major disadvantage of a public Big Dumb Company (“BDC”), as well as one that works closely with governmental agencies, is the degree to which they are forced to publicly disclose otherwise confidential information.

I hope that you are not thinking, “But J., you have told us that one of the most important aspect of a startup is the ability to effectively sell (see “Be Like Sam”). How can I sell if I cannot share information?”

If this question is in your head, please do all of us a favor, close this page and head over to Craig’s List. I am sure there are lots of good jobs available at Big Dumb Companies…

Continue reading “Private Means Private or How To Avoid Dropping Trou”

Small Ideas, Big Benefits

Small Ideas, Big Benefits

When viewed from The Fringe, the world is like a cash booth from a bad 1950’s TV game show. Just like in the game show booth, in the real world, you can count on various exogenous factors to generate some proverbial wind that will swirl the cash around and force you to work a bit for the money. However, in the end, all you really need to do is reach out and grab the cash. When you position yourself on The Fringe, you will quickly see that money making opportunities are all around you.

One way to grab some cash and learn valuable entrepreneurial skills along the way is to launch mini-ventures or Venturettes. Such ideas require little-to-no capital, usually last for a relatively short duration and are of nominal size.

If you just ask yourself, “then why bother?” – read on friend, read on.

Continue reading “Small Ideas, Big Benefits”

The MBA Education And Other Oxymorons

Hotdog

Once early stage entrepreneurs learn that I earned an MBA from Wharton, they usually ask, “Should I pursue an MBA as well?” My initial response is, “If you want to be an entrepreneur, why would you possibly want an MBA?”

In certain instances, an MBA may make sense. However, for most entrepreneurs, the time and money required to earn an MBA is better spent launching your adVenture and learning on the job.

Continue reading “The MBA Education And Other Oxymorons”

Pattern Matching

Gestalt

Gestalt – an organized whole in experience which explains psychological phenomena by their relationships to total forms rather than their parts.

What?

A Venture Capitalist friend of mine once told me that, “Venture Capital is really a game of pattern matching.” He noted that whenever he met an entrepreneur in search of funding, he did his best to match the person (and his team, as appropriate) to a ‘pattern’ he had seen before.

Continue reading “Pattern Matching”

Founderitis – A Ten Step Recovery Program

CavemanEveryone around you knows that you have it, but you are in denial. You say things like, “I am open to giving control to the right person at the right time”. However, the reality is that the “right person” does not exist and the “right time” never arrives.

Founderitis, Founder’s Disease, Founder’s Syndrome; by any name, this my way or the highway approach to running a business is the same affliction. When Founderitis strikes, the Founder’s drive, energy and vision, characteristics crucial to the startup’s initial success, become a hindrance to the company’s maturation into a self-sustaining entity.

Continue reading “Founderitis – A Ten Step Recovery Program”

Brian Epstein is Not John Lennon, and Neither is Your VC

Brian EpsteinJohn LennonIt was the biggest day in the young Beatles’ fledgling career: an audition with Decca Records. However, rather than showcase such high-energy Beatle originals as “I Saw Her Standing There”, or “The One After 909”, Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ Manager, focused the group’s efforts on sappy show tunes and languid pop standards.

The result was a listless audition and the ultimate rejection of the world’s most successful recording act by the otherwise astute Decca Records.

When you complete this reading, you will be able to answer the following question:

    • a. Sports writers are to athletes
      b. Theatre critics are to actors
      c. Band managers are to musicians
      d. All of the above
  • VC are to Entrepreneurs as ________ are to _________:

Continue reading “Brian Epstein is Not John Lennon, and Neither is Your VC”