10/17/18

Strategy Report Card – Better Next Year

Big Red Car here in rainy and flooding Austin By God Texas. The flooding situation is getting very serious in the Hill Country to the west of Austin. Lake Travis – an enormous body of water, 30 square miles in surface area – is full to overflowing. It is at the sixth deepest depth of water since it was inundated in 1942.

Image result for images hill country flooding 2018

Floodwaters topping Max Starcke Dam on the Colorado River by Marble Falls and upstream from Lake Travis. Lake Travis is a flood control dam — thank you, Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn.

So, today we talk about planning your strategy for CY 2019.

But, first, we have to take stock of how the strategy fared in 2018. Now is the time to begin that reflection.

Here is a guideline to begin the process.

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10/16/18

The Employment Agreement

Big Red Car here on another rainy ATX day. Whoever has been praying for rain, enough.

So, I get several emails from lazy folks who say, “Ahh, Big Red Car, yesterday you talked about Voting Trusts and referred to Employment Agreements. Can you give me some info on Employment Agreements?”

They didn’t bother to use the search function or they would have found it on the website. Over on the right side is the SEARCH function. If you had used it, you would have found a lot of information.

Also, if you had looked at the “Series by Subject” tab at the top, you would have found the whole list.

Not to fret, your Big Red Car organizes the info for you yet again.

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10/10/18

Execution Advantage

Talking about execution advantage, y’all.

Big Red Car here on a slightly grayish day in the ATX. ATX just hosted the famous ACL festival and had Paul McCartney in town crooning. Ahhhh, on Earth as it is in Texas.

Image result for paul mccartney images acl

Sir Paul rocking it in the ATX at ACL at age 76 years young. Big deal in Austin, but just another day in the Live Music Capital of the USA.

So, I have been thinking about the advantages a company — startup or otherwise — has in executing its strategic plan. One of the most overlooked advantages is simply being good at executing their day to day operations.

What got me thinking about this was two things – some comments on the Amazon Advantage and a comment from a Berlin based venture capitalist, Max Niederhofer. I call him Mad Max.

He recently wrote an interesting piece which merits your review: Fear and Loathing in Venture Capital <<< go read this Read it and leave a comment. Tell him the Big Red Car sent you.

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09/21/18

Decisionmaking – Quick Decisionmaking

Big Red Car here on a glorious Friday. Well, actually, it’s rainy, but it is still Friday.

So, I was in conversation with a fellow graduate of Virginia Military Institute and we were discussing, of all things, the purpose of the VMI Rat Line.

Your first year at VMI, you are systemically challenged (akin to waterboarding, but who’s quibbling about technique) to learn how to be a cadet, absorb the military regimen, and study something like civil engineering. It is a hard row to hoe.

This is called the VMI Rat Line. Other places call it “torture.” It is a system which VMI has used since 1839 and they are not even considering changing it. About 2/3s of your class will survive it. Sometimes, only half. It makes Airborne and Ranger Schools seem a little tamer.

VMI Professor of Artillery and Philosophy Stonewall Jackson standing guard over Matthew, Mark, Luke, John combat veterans of the Mexican and Civil Wars. Keeping an eye on things down range.

To which, my classmate posed the question: “Why?”

To which I answered, “To prepare novitiate Army officers to be able to make a multitude of decisions under pressure.”

He graded my answer at B+. I protested and he upped my grade to an A-.

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06/5/18

Buy the History, Sell the Future

Buy the history; sell the future, Big Red Car? Huh?

Big Red Car here on a lovely Austin By God Texas day with the sun shining and the world spinning.

So, I get into a chat with a couple of CEOs, experienced chaps, who are talking about buying and selling companies.

They ask me what I think and I say, “Buy the history; sell the future.”

“What does that mean, exactly, Big Red Car?” asks one of the CEOs. He was baiting me. I took the bait.

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05/30/18

CEO Shoptalk – Pruning the Organization

Pruning the organization, Big Red Car? Huh?

Big Red Car here on a gray day in the ATX. Just let that haze burn off, y’all.

Today, we talk to and about CEOs/founders/entrepreneurs who have spent a couple of years building an organization, have some revenue, and about 1-400 employees.

You know who I’m talking to, don’t you?

You are not quite happy with everything, but you have customers, revenue, a viable product, and you’re building your company.

Now, it’s time to do some pruning. Pruning the organization.

Even the Angel Oak outside Charleston could use some pruning? Don’t you dare touch this tree. There is a debate as to its age. Some say it is 500 years old. Some say it is 1500 years old. It was there before the American Revolution.

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05/17/18

Experience, Addressable Experience

What is addressable experience? Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on another glorious Thursday in the ATX in which the sun shines, the breeze blows, and life flourishes. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all.

So, I’m visiting with a gray haired eminence former CEO who is an old pal. We get on the issue of experience.

How much is enough?

How much is too much?

How much is relevant?

How much is addressable?

It was an interesting conversation. Between the two of us, we have more than seventy years of CEO-ing. That is a lot of time, a lot of experience.

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05/16/18

CEO Shoptalk — Great Startup CEO

Are you a great startup CEO?

OK, so the Big Red Car gets asked often, “Tell me, wise and red Big Red Car, what makes a great startup CEO?”

Like most things in the startup world, there is not a single, correct answer, plus the Big Red Car is lazy and doesn’t want to do the work.

But, now somebody asked the question in a way I cannot dodge. So, here goes.

What makes a great startup CEO, Big Red Car? Tell me.

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