06/30/19

Dreams

As a kid, I never had ambitious dreams. I did what was offered to me by life, which turned out to be a lot, but I never really had ambitious dreams. I wish I’d been more ambitious.

People tell me I was and am ambitious, but I know I wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I challenged myself and did a lot of hard things as a kid that enabled me to do harder things as a young man and as an adult until I got used to doing hard things as if they weren’t hard, but still I never had ambitious dreams.

I want you to dream better than I ever did.

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06/13/19

Things I Have Learned

Your Big Red Car is traveling to Savannah to see My Perfect Grand Child. This is a slightly old pic, but it is a favorite because it captures that Southern girl’s mischievous personality. So, we go for a splendid trip to Forsyth Park and romp in the grass because all of us know how to walk these days. And we do some thinking.

A pal of mine and I exchange emails in which he poses to me: “Tell me some stuff you’ve learned. Not deep stuff, but stuff.” It is a corollary of “Tell me stuff you believe in.”

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05/31/19

Toasts

Oh, my God, please learn how to give a toast.

So, I’m with a few pals in a festive mood — summer in Texas is a festive occasion. Why not?

I offer a toast and somebody looks at me and says, “I’ve never given a toast. How do you do that?”

When I stop laughing, I ask, “You’re serious?”

He says, “Yes. Deadly.”

“You’re an idiot.”

Image result for leonardo dicaprio giving toast

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05/21/19

The Energy Source v The Energy Sink Theory of Life

Big Red Car here on a wet Austin By God Texas day. It is May, y’all, and it is time to contemplate the Memorial Day floods.

Here is a pic from the 1981 Memorial Day floods, my first personal intro to the phenomenon. This pic is taken at the bridge in front of Hut’s Hamburgers, home of some of the best burgers on the planet. There were car lots next to Shoal Creek and hundreds of cars ended up in the creek.

Image result for images austin texas memorial day floods

When you come to Austin, you are going to want to get a Hut’s Hamburger. Trust me on this. Get the hickory burger.

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05/13/19

Cut the Toxic Behavior

So, under the influence of a pal who I accused of being a bit toxic in his behavior and the power of craft beer, here are some rules with which to lessen the toxicity.

He asked, “Why don’t people like me?” Here is what I told him, with the profanity edited. [Actually people do like him, but he needed a good kick in the ass.]

 1. Stop comparing yourself to others who are better positioned from any perspective. Cut the envy, but do study how they became better positioned and, if you want that outcome, do what they did. Earn it.

Have you done the best you can with what you have? If you take that attitude, you own your own life.

 2. Stop being such a snowflake and taking everything so damn personal. If somebody disagrees with you — trust me, this will happen — it is not because they hate you. It is because they have a different view of things that may be based on different facts or a better analysis.

Stop taking everything so damn personal.

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04/24/18

CEO Shoptalk – Staying in Your Lane

Staying in your lane, Big Red Car? Huh?

Big Red Car here on a lovely, sunny Texas Spring day. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!

So, the Big Red Car talks to CEOs all the time and I am seeing an odd trend. CEOs are wandering a bit.

They wander a bit because they are successful and they wander a bit because they are not.

When they are successful, they wander because they can afford to do it. [Pro tip: We never make as many mistakes when we are broke. We can’t afford to.]

When they are struggling, they wander because they are looking for that inflection point which will put their compass on the azimuth to the Promised Land.

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11/20/17

Critical Thinking v Emotion (Feelings)

What exactly is critical thinking, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a crisp Monday. Been gone to Savannah and New York City for my annual pilgrimage to celebrate somebody’s birthday, to see the Broadway shows, to eat decadent food, and to watch the NYC Veterans Day Parade. Missions accomplished.

On the plane back, I got to thinking about the issue of critical thinking. Somebody whose opinion I respect said that much of what is going on today is driven by a failure to think critically, accelerated by an intellectual laziness to simply follow one’s emotions.

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08/6/17

Heads Up — CEO Shoptalk

Heads Up, Big Red Car? Really?

Big Red Car here on a muggy Sunday morning which is a little gray. We get the cooler temps in return for the grayness. Fair trade?

So, the Big Red Car, has spent the last couple of hours removing cast iron sinks from black granite countertops in anticipation of new countertops — Carrara marble — on Wednesday!

[Big Red Car’s vision of Hell is removing cast iron sinks (weigh 400 lbs) with a plastic putty knife and spit, bare hands.]

But, that’s not what we want to talk about, is it?

No, we want to talk about a CEO with his head down working his butt off. [You may re-gender the “his” to “her” at your leisure.]

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08/2/17

Flying Solo — For CEOs Only, CEO Shoptalk

Flying solo, Big Red Car? Where did that come from?

Big Red Car here on a cool and gray ATX day. Only getting to 88F today, downright cool. Hot tub tonight for the BRC? Hell, yes!

OK, so there are a number of analogies between flying airplanes and startups — takeoff, reaching cruise, landing. Startup, scale, exit?

One of the most apt analogies is the idea of FLYING SOLO.

Me, the Big Red Car, and the Bonanza with the cross country tip tanks hanging talking aviation v startup mojo. Yeah, I’m looking pretty damn RED.

In life, one doesn’t receive power, one TAKES power. Think about that for a second. Flying solo is about taking power.

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07/28/17

Startup ideas — where do they come from?

Startup ideas, Big Red Car? Huh?

Big Red Car here on a sunny Texas day. On Earth as it is in Texas and it’s going to be 105F today, y’all. Hell, that’s not even hot anymore, is it? Hey, Mother Nature, bring it. Take your best shot.

The Big Red car will be taking some quiet pool time this afternoon.

So where do business ideas come from, you ask? [I know you didn’t ask, but I have to bang out a blog post, so go along with it, please?]

Every startup has to come up with a hypothesis to justify their existence. How does one do that?

Today, the Big Red Car works its mojo with you and helps ‘splain a framework for you to think about.

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06/27/17

VC Frat Boy Bad Behavior

Frat boy bad behavior?

Big Red Car here getting ready to unload on venture capitalists who engage in or tolerate frat boy, bro-culture, bad behavior in their firms and in the firms they fund.

Let’s cite examples, shall we?

Take the case of one Justin Caldbeck, formerly a co-founder of venture capital firm Binary Capital. BC is a seed stage firm with $300MM under management, a new $75MM offering in the marketplace. Put money in Snap.

Caldbeck, Harvard guy, was one of two partners with another partner recently joined. The new guy has already resigned. The firm is, essentially, wrecked though when you have $300MM of OPM, it has to be wound up carefully.

Hustling Justin stands accused by six women of inappropriate conduct from staying uninvited overnight at a woman’s apartment to running a hand up a woman’s thigh at a dinner, and engaging in sexually explicit text messaging. Typical frat boy, bad behavior. No style points. No charm. Just a groper with a Harvard sheepskin.

These incidents were all promulgated by Hustling Justin’s ability to do something good for these women. He helped them and he wanted them to “help” him? Ugh!

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04/26/17

Leadership Style — CEO Shop Talk

Leadership style or cattle today? Hmmm, which one?

Big Red Car here on one of those Texas days that makes you want to get on a horse and herd cattle up the trail, cross the Red River into the Indian Territory, and kick up your heels at a dance hall in Abilene, Kansas.

IMG_1658

Listen, Big Red Car, I am not going to Abilene, Kansas. I like it right here. Go away, Big Red Car. Notice the lovely earrings. Cattle are controlled by numbers and they are assets on the hoof.

Maybe not.

OK, so I wrote a blog post a while ago about finding your “authentic” leadership style. I was talking to some CEOs (me, the Big Red Car, not that other guy, The Boss) and we got on the subject of leadership style. Everybody got hung up on the word “authentic.” Haha, it was funny.

Finding Your Authentic Leadership Style <<< read this

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04/1/17

Redemption or Revenge?

Which is better — redemption or revenge? Why not both, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a slightly gray day in the ATX, but yesterday was glorious. Out touring the Hill Country checking out the bluebonnets, the poppies, the Indian paintbrush, and, of course, the cows on the roads.

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Hill Country Big Mac on the hoof grazing amongst the bluebonnets. Be careful driving about the roads where the livestock have the right of way. This is, of course, Texas.

So, in the women’s Big Dance, the Mississippi State girls beat the University of Connecticut girls in an overtime game. The game was won on a last second shot and the final score was 66-64.

That’s Bulldogs triumphing over Huskies, which keeps the fight amongst the bitches (a bitch being a female of the dog persuasion, no?). [See the cheap trick the Big Red Car played on y’all. Not well played, BRC.]

The really story — what writers like to call the “backstory” — is that a year ago, the UConn girls beat the Mississippi State women like red headed stepchildren by 60 points in a Sweet Sixteen matchup. OUCH!

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03/14/17

Point of View — Entrepreneurs v Funders

Big Red Car here on a sunny SXSW Tuesday in the ATX. On Earth as it is in Texas. No sign of snow, but it’s early.

So, the world is divided into three basic camps:

 1. Entrepreneurs and founders — consumers of capital

 2. Funders of all kinds — angel investors, venture capitalists, friends & family

 3. Ballerinas & poets — folks who are not in the startup world and are gloriously happier in their ignorance of it

Each understandably has a unique point of view depending which role they undertake. Forget about the ballerinas & poets for this discussion.

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03/8/17

CEO Reflections

Big Red Car here in the ATX feeling a little cloudy — ooops, that’s the weather. Me, I feel marvelous. Let’s talk about the first time CEO, shall we?

So, I catch The Boss talking to a pal the other day. They were Second Lieutenants in a combat engineer unit in the Republic of Korea back in the early 1970s.

 

The Proper Young Lieutenant

The proper young lieutenant, having just landed in a rice paddy fertilized with “night soil.” If you recognize those “soiled” boots as Corcoran Jump Boots, then you have a sharp eye. Stroke of good luck, landing standing up, because of the aforenoted night soil.

 

It was a dicey time and they were both platoon leaders. Both of them would end up as Captains within 18-24 months, which was pretty damn fast even for those days.

“So, when did you first think you knew what you were doing?” asked The Boss’s compadre.

“I’ll get back to you when that happens.”

They laughed.

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03/6/17

Advice Redux — CEOs Only

Big Red Car here working on a few wire taps, wait, no I’m not. I’m getting ready to give y’all some free advice.

We talked about advice a lot in the past few years, but it’s probably alright to update our thinking just a little, why not?

So, CEOs need advice from time to time. Why, you ask? Because a lot of startup CEOs are in their twenties and do not have a deep font of life experience upon which to draw to develop their own thoughts. This is not fatal. This is just being young and being young is good. Most of the time.

Experience is expensive. Renting experience — advice — is cheaper. Plus, you can get someone who’s been a CEO for two or three decades to lend you their advice.

Big takeaway — get advice from someone who has actually been a CEO.

Not your dentist, your shrink, some accountant (unless it’s accounting advice), father-in-law (unless he’s an experienced CEO), not a lawyer (unless it’s legal advice), not a VC (unless it’s pitching or funding advice and even then someone who has been seated n your side of the table may be more helpful) — someone who has been a CEO.

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10/23/16

Inspiration, a Thimbleful, Please?

Inspiration, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a crisp — 54F at 5:00 AM — Texas morning. Ahhh, fall in Texas is a grand thing.

So, a year ago, The Boss is talking to one of his CEO clients and they get talking about a new hire.

This CEO runs an excellent company which he has for more than ten years. He is not a typical startup CEO and the company is profitable (always a good thing), routinely dropping 20% to the bottom line for years and years.

The company is growing at a steady rate but is poised for higher growth.

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09/24/16

Exemplars and Role Models

Exemplars? Role models? Met any good ones?

So, The Boss and his wife are at dinner last night enjoying some friends and some great Italian food at Juliet’s on Barton Springs Road in the little townlet of Austin by God Texas.

The night is filled with good food, good drinks, and good conversation. The kind of conversation that folks, who have known each other for a long time and watched their kids grow up together, engage in with all barriers lowered and minds in gear.

The Boss ponders the question — who would a young person today look to in public life as an exemplar? As a role model? If you say Hillary or Donald, I will come to your house and do donuts in your flower beds, y’all. I am a Big Red Car and I can be very dangerous when provoked. Do not trifle with me.

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