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.

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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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