Oh Yeah, That Powerful Computer In My Pocket Is Also A Phone

image001

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Facebook recently joined Google and Twitter by offering a click-to-call functionality in its ads, giving consumers an option to call businesses directly, versus emailing them or completing an online form – effectively making the plain old phone one of the most powerful on/offline marketing tools of the coming decade.

Continue reading “Oh Yeah, That Powerful Computer In My Pocket Is Also A Phone”

Entrepreneurs Who Relish Being Wrong Usually Win

image001A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

During my 15-years as a startup executive, I relished being proven wrong. Knowing that I was had made a mistake empowered me to make the correct decision. Being wrong is much preferred to erroneously thinking you are right and relentlessly executing a losing strategy. Effective entrepreneurs reject dogmatism and embrace doubt.

Continue reading “Entrepreneurs Who Relish Being Wrong Usually Win”

Attention Startup Accelerators: Your Job Is Not Over After Demo Day

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

With top-ranked accelerators Lauchpad LA closing its doors and Y Combinator rebranding itself as a seed fund, it seems fair to ask the question, “Are Accelerators Dead?”

Good news: a quick review of TechCrunch’s March 2015 List of Top 20 U.S. Accelerators, which includes two LA-based accelerators in the Top Ten (Mucker Lab and Amplify LA), proves that the overall health of the Accelerator landscape is sound.

Continue reading “Attention Startup Accelerators: Your Job Is Not Over After Demo Day”

Your Startup Team Should Have Unlimited Vacation

image001

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

It sounds crazy to offer unlimited vacation time to your startup employees. Something to the left of socialism. Yet that is exactly what Richard Branson announced this past Fall. According to Branson, “We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine-to-five policy, we don’t need a vacation policy.”

Continue reading “Your Startup Team Should Have Unlimited Vacation”

This Remote Working Experiment Failed And Succeeded – At The Same Time

image001

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Self-aware startups often learn more from their failures than from their success. Timehop, the photo album for the digital age, is no exception. Created by Jonathan Wegener and his Co-Founder Benny Wong, the company has over 16M+ users. To put this in proper perspective, more than twice as many people access Timehop each day than read the New York Times.

And Then The CEO Said, “Go Home”

Timehop recently executed a radical experiment. With winter raging outside, it closed its NYC office for two weeks and made all of its employees work remotely, preferably not from their homes. Many of the employees took off for exotic, sun-drenched locales.

Continue reading “This Remote Working Experiment Failed And Succeeded – At The Same Time”

What The Heck Are My Startup Options Worth?

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

When joining a startup, there are seven important questions you should ask in order to answer the question: “What the heck are my stock options worth?”

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.

Continue reading “What The Heck Are My Startup Options Worth?”

Facet Interactive Test Post

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Trade show veterans know that the louder you scream at an industry event, the less your voice is heard. Instead, you have to push the envelope of propriety to cut through the noise.

Even at a show the size of Dreamforce, you can cut through the noise, but you have to push the envelope to do it.

Dreamforce is the conference for sales and marketing professionals. Hosted by SAAS giant Salesforce, it is more akin to a circus than a professional event.

The 2014 show hosted 135,000 attendees and boasted A-list guest speakers and performers like Hillary Rodham Clinton, Neil Young, Anthony Robbins, and Bruno Mars. There were 1,450 sessions and over 400 exhibitors, all vying for attention.

Continue reading “Facet Interactive Test Post”

Every Entrepreneur Has A Bob Dylan Moment – What’s Yours?

Opening  Of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

Young Al Kooper did not miss his Bob Dylan moment. When Al was invited by Producer Tom Wilson to sit in on Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, Mr. Wilson made it clear to Al that he was a backup guitarist. He told him to sit quietly in the control booth and be ready to play if Dylan wanted to explore an arrangement that required two guitars.

According to Al, “Me being twenty one years of age and very ambitious… I decided I was going to play on that session.” However, it was quickly evident to Al that his services wouldn’t be needed, as Dylan’s primary guitarist was Mike Bloomfield, a more experienced and proficient musician.

Continue reading “Every Entrepreneur Has A Bob Dylan Moment – What’s Yours?”

How Tony Hawk And The Bones Brigade Broke The Rules & Owned The Market

image001

A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes.

In this second installment of my conversation with George Powell, Founder and President of Skate One, he describes how Tony Hawk and the other members of the Bones Brigade revolutionized skateboarding and made it cool again, after its near death in the late-1980’s. He also shares his frank thoughts regarding his long-standing relationship with Stacy Peralta.

Skate One is now the world’s largest skateboard company, with best-selling brands such as Powell•Peralta Skateboards, BONES Wheels and Mini•Logo Skateboards.

You can read part one of our discussion here, which covers a number of insightful topics, including the origin of Skate One and George’s multi-decade partnership with Stacy Peralta.

Continue reading “How Tony Hawk And The Bones Brigade Broke The Rules & Owned The Market”