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.

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In The Absence Of Talent

In addition to mentoring CEOs, I often speak to promising young persons — usually sent my way by their parents — to give them wise counsel as to how to fashion their career or to find the right career.

A good many of them have an entrepreneurial bent — so they think — and a good many of them have just left the armed forces. They are all at the starting line of their career.

I always start with one bit of wisdom: Do not be in a hurry, young person; experiment and try some different things. Continue reading


Virginia Military Institute — the BEST Mentoring System in the World

Mentoring is/was a fashionable topic amongst the venture capital and startup Illuminati for years. I have written about it for a long time. A good mentor can make a mediocre founder into a winner.

Full disclosure: I run a CEO coaching/mentoring business called The Wisdom of the Campfire and have for a dozen years. I take clients only by referral and personal introduction. I do zero marketing and do not even have a website.

Everybody in startup world had to have a celebrity CEO coach. This was caused by two specific conditions:

 1. Venture capitalists know next to nothing about actually running a business. More than 75% of their investments fail, so what does that tell you?

 2. Young startup founders/CEOs have had zero training in leadership the lingua franca of building even a lemonade stand. Continue reading


The Key to Life Finding Your Passion? Nope

I was reading a bit of advice that trotted out the old shibboleth of: “Finding your passion is the key to life.” The presumption was you had to find your passion as a prelude to getting on with your life and that you should not take a step without knowing what that passion truly was.

I thought about that for a long time and decided that is not good advice. Let me explain.

 1. Most of the folks giving that advice already found their passion or made a bloody fortune in some other endeavor (like scrap metal or rock quarries) — everybody listens to billionaires even ones who made their dough in scrap metal — and are now in the advice business. Continue reading


Defense Wins Ball Games

On Saturday, the University of North Carolina defeated Georgia Tech in a tightly contested, fierce conference game in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Every ACC game is a vicious fight, in this instance made moreso because Georgia Tech beat the Heels for the last two years, injecting blood into the water.

The final score was 88-65 which qualifies as a “thrashing,” but the score doesn’t really describe how the Tarheels won. They won with their defense. Continue reading


CEO Shoptalk — End-Of-Year Reflection And Musing

A client of mine a few years ago said, “You always make me think, and I prepare for our meetings.”

That is a good thing and it makes me feel good. Nothing wrong with thinking, but it should be more than that.

At the end of every year, a CEO/founder/entrepreneur should conduct a bit of reflection and musing to consider how they are performing as compared to how they want to perform.

I am not talking solely about objectives accomplished, but the nature with which a CEO undertook her/his duties.

How should a CEO conduct her/his duties, Big Red Car?

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