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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06/23/17

Amazon – Whole Foods v Walmart Hysteria

Amazon is buying Whole Foods? When the Hell did that happen?

Big Red Car — going to be a great day in the ATX.

OK, so unless you were out of the country, you know that Amazon has put its loop around Whole Foods and is trying to buy them. Deal seems to be all but done.

So what does it mean? Haha, that’s the rub. Let’s explore it, shall we?

Everyone wants to peg it as a Amazon v Walmart grocery industry cage match. Is it?

Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at some numbers.

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06/19/17

Zelle — The Empire Strikes Back

Zelle? WTF is Zelle, Big Red Car? You got some ‘splaining to do, Big Red.

Big Red Car here on the edge of a new dawn in the ATX. [Drama queen is the Big Red Car.]

One of my favorite notions is the idea that a startup “disrupts” a legacy industry or business and then expects the legacy old folks to lay there and just take it. Silly rabbit!

The legacy brethren didn’t get to be the approved solution by being dummies. They may not be lean, nimble, and agile, but they can rent that talent.

WTF are you talking about Big Red Car?

Nowhere does it seem more obvious that the legacy tribe is not going to give up their franchise than in FINTECH.

So, let me tell you the story of PayPal v Zelle.

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06/16/17

Hero — What Does a Hero Look Like? DAVID BAILEY HERO

HERO — DAVID BAILEY — HERO

David Bailey dop

 

This is what a hero looks like, if your definition of a hero is someone willing to risk their neck to save someone else’s butt. The Big Red Car is fine with that definition. The Big Red Car has had the privilege of knowing a lot of brave people.

The guy on the crutches is one of two persons who shot it out with the shithead with the rifle at baseball practice in Virginia. Looks ordinary enough that you would not take note at a car wash? When the chips are down, it is guys like this who protect us.

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06/16/17

Razors — Attracting Lightning

Razors, Big Red Car?

OK, Big Red Car here talking about when a successful small company competing with a bigger company attracts the attention of the bigger company and the bigger company takes action.

Big Red Car, what are you talking about?

OK, it’s about the razor business and entails three companies:

 1. Dollar Shave Club (first mover in the space) — razor blade subscription service;

1. Harrys (with Warby Parker vibe) — makes their blades in Germany where they own a factory; and,

 3. Gillette — which just re-launched its own subscription blade service, Gillette On Demand. Gillette is the “bigger company” of which we spoke. [Cue the ominous, dark, Darth Vader music in the background. Please.]

Each company is a little different, but at the end of the day (cliche alert) they want to get you to join a “club” so they can sell you razor blades. They will almost give you the razor itself if you will just become a faithful purchaser of their subscription based blades.

There are others in the subscription razor business, but these are the big three, y’all.

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06/13/17

Uber Meltdown

Big Red Car, which is not involved with Uber as a car or a driver, here on a slightly cloudy day with a warmer afternoon promised. Hey, it’s June and it’s Texas.

So, Uber is having a tough time. The entire leadership is melting down. Huh?

As we chat, dear reader, Uber has just dismissed its #2. [Note, the Big Red Car is not going to name names even if you already recognize the plight of Emil Michael, the bonehead who famously wanted to use the Uber travels of journalists to their disadvantage.]

Uber VP pic

So, as we write Uber has vacancies at COO, CFO, CMO, general counsel, and now at #2. There is talk of the CEO, Travis Kalanick taking a “leave of absence” to deal with a personal tragedy — the death and critical injury of his mother and father respectively in a boating accident. Condolences.

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06/12/17

CEOs Only — Shoptalk Networking

Big Red Car here in a bright, sunny ATX masterpiece. We will be talking about CEOs today. Ahh, the poor, lonely CEO.

So, The Boss likes to go to Lakehills Church out on the edge of Austin toward the Hill Country. Never takes the Big Red Car because somebody doesn’t like getting their church hair messed up, but I listen in through the electronics in the Lexus. A Big Red Car has a long reach, y’all.

So, the pastor gives a sermon and mentions a favorite passage from Proverbs:

“As iron sharpens iron,
So, one person (friend) sharpens another.”

It is intended in a Biblical and religious way to lobby for the assembly of Christians to further their faith, but the Big Red Car is thinking of it from a different perspective.

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05/30/17

NATO Allies, Ungrateful Freeloaders?

NATO allies are ungrateful freeloaders, Big Red Car? Not all of them, just some.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, having spent a few days with President Donald J Trump in Washington, DC and now having spent a NATO Summit and G7 meeting utters:

“The times when we could fully rely upon others are to some extent over. I experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans must take our own destiny into our own hands.”

Read those words a second time and see if you have any basic disagreement with them. The Big Red Car sayeth, “Duh?”

This bit of wisdom comes on the heels of President Trump repeating what he has said for a long period of time — NATO members are not living up to their contractual obligations to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.

This is as essential element of the NATO (the Atlantic Charter) as Article V which states an attack on one is an attack on all. It is difficult to see why the Europeans think the United States should honor Article V and come to their rescue if they don’t honor their part of the deal.

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05/25/17

Courage — CEO Shoptalk

Courage is quiet. It is unassuming in its moment.

Big Red Car here in the ATX where it is that time of the year when it’s 65F at dawn and this afternoon it will be in the low 90s. Those first warm days are a blessing, but it’s almost June and it’s almost summer, so bring it, Mother Nature. Hit me with your best shot!

Today, we talk about courage. The dictionary would have you believe that courage is the ability to face danger or difficulty without fear; or, the ability to act in accordance with one’s beliefs or convictions in spite of criticism.

Not buying it, y’all. Courage is the ability to act despite the fact you are wracked with fear. It does not vanquish fear. It acts in spite of fear.

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05/20/17

CEOs — Doing Tough Things Shoptalk

No tough things for a Big Red Car today, just chores.

Big Red Car here on a big day for chores, accumulated, undone chores. Bah humbug!

Before we head to do our chores, how about a bit of shoptalk for CEOs?

Being a CEO is a great job. Don’t listen to the hair-shirt-of-the-month club and their “it’s lonely, so lonely at the top.”

But, if you’re going to be a CEO, you have to do tough stuff sometimes.

Italy 2010 Computer 020

What seems tough the first time, isn’t tough the third time and when you do tough stuff, you get used to and comfortable with doing tough stuff.

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