03/30/19

Where Are We From?

So, a pal of mine asked me, “What has shaped your life? Where are you from?”

We were drinking coffee, I swear. He was also a trade school grad (what one calls a fellow military school graduate).

So, I said, “I won the lottery on parents — both of my parents were World War II veterans — and I went to Virginia Military Institute.”

VMI is one of those places that develop you. One of those places that holds you down and stuffs you full of suffering and character. Suffering builds character.

First, they dissassemble you, then they reassemble you from the broken parts, then they fire you in a hot furnace, then they test you, then they throw you out into the world — armed and dangerous — to put to work what they’ve taught you.

Same thing they’ve been doing for almost two centuries.

Come graduation, there will be far fewer graduates than when you matriculated. It is not for everybody and not everybody can make it. It is a stern, unforgiving test and if you graduate you will know that you have accomplished something hard. That hardness will be in you.

You will never have an association as that of your Brother Rats — men who have been through the same furnace and emerged intact.

It all starts right here. From this point on, VMI owns your butt. I was the first Rat — the lovely term they use to refer to freshmen after they shave your head — in my class to “sign the book.”

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This is also your last look when you leave. It will still be there fifty year later when you come for your 50th Reunion.

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03/30/19

Managing Expectations and Messaging

I wish I were not using President Donald J Trump as an exemplar for part of my blog post, as it is not intended for a political discussion, but rather for the CEO and his/her slice of capitalism.

As a CEO, two of the elements of your company that can be (must be?) managed are expectations and messaging. They are intimately related.

As a CEO, you are converting a Vision into a Mission and creating Strategy, Tactics, Objectives in a framework of Values which define a Culture.

Click on this graphic to see it at larger scale. It shows how these things are related. There is both structure and process at work here.

I often find that CEOs are comforted when they are able to see how all of these concepts are related and work together. It proves up the structural elements of your rapidly evolving process.

 

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03/27/19

Anchors Aweigh, Tech IPOs

First quarter of 2019 was a bust for tech Initial Public Offerings. Some blame it on the government shutdown and the inability to get the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to respond to preliminary S-1s (registration document). Fair play to that sentiment.

A company files an S-1, the US SEC reviews it, the SEC provides comments, and the issuer makes revisions in response to the SEC’s comments. Now, your preliminary S-1 has become a final S-1 and you are registered. In two weeks, you can begin banging your drum. If the government is shut down, this process doesn’t happen.

If you just take a Mulligan for Q1-2019 and focus on the rest of the year, you may see a deep lineup of tech companies, familiar names amongst them, getting ready to make the leap.

Here is my favorite recent public offering, demonstrating her flexible approach to the world. Can you reach down and grab your foot while in a seated position? Her name is Tempe and she is a Southern girl from Savannah. But, I digress.

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03/27/19

Drone Profits

For the first time ever, a drone has been used in a commercial application that derived revenue for its owner. This is the story of UPS and Matternet providing a drone delivery service in Raleigh, North Carolina. UPS is a delivery company while Matternet is a drone tech company.

This just happened yesterday, so it is a fresh and new happenstance. Here is the actual drone.

UPSDrone 20

Their customer is WakeMed whose campus is in Raleigh. Using the drone reduced a 30-60 minute transportation time across campus to three minutes and fifteen seconds. This time savings could be life saving as, sometimes, the delivery might be blood or an organ sample.

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03/26/19

The Mueller Report

So, a pal calls me and gives me a bit of the red ass for my interview with Robert Swan Mueller III — “Say something serious,” he says. “It is a very important thing.”

Exclusive Robert Swan Mueller III Interview

I have written a bit, but not much on the entire Russian Collusion escapade. Punch in “Mueller” in the search box to the right of this post and you can read those posts.

So, in response to my pal, I will offer the following observations.

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OK, so I tipped my hand a bit, didn’t I? But I have a serious observation or two.

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03/25/19

Exclusive Robert Swan Mueller III Interview

Today, we have the great honor and high privilege of talking to Former FBI Director Robert Swan Mueller III after the delivery of his report to the Attorney General.

We caught up with Director Mueller at brunch after he went to church across Lafayette Park from the White House. Here he is trying to remember where he parked his car.

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03/24/19

Modern Monetary Theory v Magic Money Tree

So, your Big Red Car is taking a break from the NCAA Championship and was reading an excellent article on MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) on Bloomberg Businessweek.

MMT is, of course, the economic theory upon which folks like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez base the idea that the government can afford all the things in her Green New Deal.

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Can you guess for whom I am rooting?

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03/22/19

Billionaires in Space

So while we were all mesmerized by the announcement by Robert Francis O’Roadtrip that he was having his teeth cleaned and running for President, another story was bubbling to the surface — three billionaires are trying to win your long distance travel business. Billionaires in space!

How would you like to be able to get from New York to Shanghai in THIRTY-NINE minutes?

SpaceX's Starship rocket has been tapped to take man to the moon and Mars but it may also be used for travel to destinations on Earth. Long-haul flights between countries may be wiped out  by rocket travel that shoot a spacecraft into outer-space and back down to Earth again

Yes, you’d like that wouldn’t you. All aboard.

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03/21/19

The Long Teeth of VC Backed Firms

Today, dear readers, we speak of Rent The Runway as an exemplar for changing conditions in the world of financing and venture capital. Today RTR announced they had closed a $125,000,000 VC round led by Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures.

This brings the total of VC funding (they also have $200,000,000 in debt) to $337,000,000 based on a valuation of $1,000,000,000.

Wow! RTR has come a long way since its 2009 funding by Bain of $1,800,000.

RTR has been working for ten years to become an overnight success. Some whisper RTR is being groomed for an Initial Public Offering, something they spoke of in the past, but not recently.

rent the runway

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03/20/19

The Unions Come For Tech

Bit of a gray day out here in the ATX which is a great day to be viewing the bluebonnets. Bluebonnets do not belong to a union. If they did, they would require more rain, no?

Today, however, we speak of the unionization of tech companies. A pal of mine (tip of the hat to LE of the City of Brotherly Love) sent me an article announcing that the staff of Kickstarter is going to become members of the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153.

In announcing this bold step, the union had this to say:

Kickstarter United is proud to start the process of unionizing to safeguard and enrich Kickstarter’s charter commitments to creativity, equity, and a positive impact on society. We trust in the democratic process and are confident that the leadership of Kickstarter stands with us in that effort. Kickstarter has always been a trailblazer, and this is a pivotal moment for tech. We want to set the standard for the entire industry. Now is the time. Come together. Unionize.

Kickstarter is the first notable tech company to embrace the idea of a union, but in the last few years employees have begun to speak with a louder voice at some of the other companies on issues such as sexual harassment [talking to you, Uber] and selling technology to the Pentagon [talking to you, Amazon, Sales Force].

These louder voices are what has attracted OPEIU to come calling.

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