02/1/21

The View From Afar — Spain/Germany #6

You will recall we are canvassing the world to get an idea of how folks think about themselves, their own businesses, their own countries and the United States.

Today, we speak to a very special correspondent in Madrid who is the Chairwoman of the Board of a truly global company. She is from Germany, but lives in Spain and speaks several languages. She is educated in the United States (electrical engineering) and is running an almost 100-year-old manufacturing business heavy on R & D.

I have watched her (hey, I’m supposed to be helping her, not just watching) meet and master some of the hardest challenges in such an enterprise with grace and aplomb while pushing and shoving into what is mainly a male dominated industry.

She is the mother of lovely girls and makes a mean snowman. Will drop her work to make a snowman with her kids on the fall of a snowflake in Madrid where it never snows.

Continue reading

01/15/21

The White Underbelly Of Work From Home — WFH

As we begin to contemplate a post-Pandemic world the air is awash with musings as to how WFH is going to become the new normal (God, I hate that phrase). There is no doubt that we have all discovered some interesting things about how we can or cannot work from home.

Please know that in comparison to the rest of the world, the American worker works longer hours than any competitor country. Whenever I recite that figure, I wonder how we are including the Chinese.

Continue reading

01/4/21

The $10MM Gross Revenue Reality Check

If you are a startup, I hope one day soon you get to $10,000,000 in gross revenue. If you do, I have some thoughts for you.

A caveat first — there are a great number of exceptions to what I am going to share with you, so do not fall prey to missing the difference of your situation or embracing every word I say, but there are reasons big and small as to why I hold these views.

Continue reading

12/12/20

Rule Crowdfunding Changes

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced some substantial changes to “harmonize and improve” what they called a “patchwork” of rules pertaining to how companies can raise funding from the public — both accredited and un-accredited investors.

This action did not get much play in the press, but I spotted it and read it carefully. There is a lot of good news, but for the entrepreneur set there is a real gem.

Here is a link to their press release (an extremely  difficult document to read and understand):

SEC Harmonizes and Improves

The bottom line is this: a company can now raise up to $5,000,000 (versus the prior $1,070,000) via a web based fundraising campaign with a registered firm without having to file the usual substantial SEC required registration filings. [You have to make prudent disclosures as you would in any offering, but this is a simpler, easier, bigger deal.]

Continue reading

12/10/20

Facebook And the H-1B Visa Scandal

Comes now our pals at Facebook who are under the microscope of a bunch of state Attorneys General to be busted up and reformed for a myriad of reasons.

In the specific instance of the state AGs, it is for smothering small businesses. This is different.

My name is Mark Zuck and I do not approve this message. Look into my eyes. We did nothing wrong. Do not listen to the Big Red Car. I will take him to a junkyard and crush him into a cube of red metal.

At the same time, Facebook is being sued by the Department of Justice for improperly filling a number of jobs — 2,600 high paying jobs — through the use of H-1B visas.

Continue reading

12/4/20

Planning In The Age Of COVID

If you are the CEO of a startup or small business, the months of November and December are when you must be planning what you will make happen in CY 2021 — and, yes, there will be a Calendar Year 2021 whether you plan for it or not.

You should be following a discipline something like this:

Review 2020 performance — review and discuss with your senior folks with an eye toward segregating the loser from the winners, the saints from the sinners

Based on 2020 performance, create your 2021 plan with input from your senior folks

After a careful review, publish the “preliminary” plan and sit down with your Board to get feedback

Revise the plan

Publish the plan

Brief the plan to the company and get buy in

This can take two weeks or six weeks. It should be started in November, finished in December, and published before Christmas. 

Continue reading

12/3/20

COVID Exposes The Weaknesses

Business environments are impacted by laws, regulation, and leadership. This happens at the state level.

The business environment in, say, New York and California is different than the business environment in Texas.

COVID and the pressure upon Governors — the CEOs of their states — to steward the business environment in their states whilst simultaneously dealing with the pandemic has accentuated differences in state leadership and regulation.

These differences have triggered meaningful mobility amongst companies and investors.

Continue reading