11/16/20

Interviewing Venture Capitalists

The other day I had a conversation with a CEO who was strapping on his kneepads and polishing up his tin cup to hit the fundraising circuit.

He is not a complete novitiate, but neither could he write the book on the subject. He was a good student, smarter than a Shih Tzu — which is pretty damn smart.

I made bold to say to him, “Remember you are interviewing the venture capitalist just as much as they are assessing you.”

The most important element of fundraising is to ensure you enter into a transaction with a “good” venture capitalist which requires you to interview them.

Here is Dante’s view of the venture capital world.

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10/8/20

Is It Essential To Be Nuts To Be An Entrepreneur?

I was reflecting on the nature of entrepreneurs on the heels of three discussions I recently had with prospective clients. I was also thinking about my two Perfect Granddaughters — Peaceful Eadie (4 months) and Tempe the Bold (almost “fwee”).

In the discussion with the founders, we wandered into the area of what hurdles must an entrepreneur overcome and caught our heel on the notion that an entrepreneur had to develop a pretty damn thick skin, be able to hear the word “NO” in several different languages, and the benefit of the programming of an entrepreneur’s life prior to sticking their stake in the ground.

This last point was why I was thinking of Peaceful Eadie and Tempe the Bold. Their mother is an entrepreneur who co-founded a company called Weezie Towels which is savaging the luxury towel vertical.

When Momma works at the kitchen table, Tempe the Bold works alongside her with her own plastic phone and keyboard. You have never seen anything as cute as T the B fielding imaginary calls that often sound identical to her Momma’s. The probability that Tempe the Bold will become an entrepreneur like her Momma? I will let you evaluate that.

As an entrepreneur — or as a prospective entrepreneur — you are held captive to the jockey, horse, course evaluation wherein the “jockey” plays trump to the other aspects. You, of course, are the jockey.

The horse is the business engine, and the course is the market.

What does that jockey have to embrace mentally in order to become an entrepreneur and is it easier if you are nuts?

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08/23/20

Jeff Bezos — The GOOD SON

You may have heard of this fellow, Jeffrey Preston Bezos — started a company called Amazon which has had a nice run.

His ownership in Amazon has made him the richest person in American and the world — some $200,000,000,000 from Amazon alone. This is after coughing up 25% of his shares to part company from his wife, MacKenzie.

MacKenzie Bezos replacement Lauren Sanchez looking adoringly at her new guy wearing sunglasses indoors. A very expensive relationship as it cost Jeff 25% of his Amazon shares. Uncouth persons might say it was the most expensive shot of leg in the history of mankind, but I am not that uncouth person, so we will leave that right there.

MacKenzie with her Amazon stock is the third richest person in America after one of the Walton Women.

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11/24/19

CEO Shoptalk — Balance, Intensity

Lovely sunny day in the ATX. Ahh, on Earth as it is in Texas!

As a young, first time CEO, you may hear a lot about work-life balance. It is a worthy subject and suggests that there is some balance beam wherein work sits calmly on the left and life sits serenely on the right and it is your job to find the delicate balance between these two extremes, or, worse still, to create that balance. Good luck with that.

To which notion your Big Red Car says: Poppycock!

First, go look at my qualifier — “. . . young, first time CEO.” I am talking to you and not the serial 5X entrepreneur, who not only can achieve such balance in his/her life, but can teach the subject.

I am speaking to you if you are that young, first time CEO — slightly confused by the novelty of it all, a bit perplexed by the complexity, willing to work your way out of a jam, and with a fire in your belly that can weld titanium.

For you, go all in. Take the leap. Burn the boats. Get the tattoo. Feed the monster. Just do it.

The intensity that a young person — let’s say 22-35 — brings to an entrepreneurial, startup endeavor is similar to what I experienced in the Army upon graduation from Virginia Military Institute last century.

The last vestiges of the Vietnam War were still about (the US Embassy in Saigon would be stormed and taken in early May 1975). It was a time in which the Army was working 24/7/365 and nobody was feeling sorry for themselves or complaining. It was what was done.

Similarly, I want to urge you as a young, first time CEO to operate on a equivalent war time footing.

There are a few caveats:

 1. Exercise regularly to counter the stress.

 2. Eat right. Eat well. Drive your energy from your food.

 3. Get a physical and adhere to the doctor’s admonitions. Tell him you are an entrepreneur and that you are working some incredible hours. [Maybe he will want to invest some of his healthcare bonanza in your fledgling startup. JK]

 4. Have a written plan. Please have a written Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives, Values, and be receptive to developing a Culture.

A written plan ensures that you strike a square blow on the nail that is your business. An angled blow, a disorganized blow — bends the nail, requires remedial work, and results in a weakened nail when next you get ready to strike it. For all that is good and holy, have a written plan.

 5. Take regular cleansing vacations — not to Bali — wherein you disconnect from everything digital. Do it for at last 2 days, twice a year.

 6. Celebrate your birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and those of your parents. If you have a beloved, then get them in the mix.

 7. Go to church and learn to pray. This will turn out to be very soothing and calming. It is a skill, like learning to code.

 8. Get a CEO coach, a mentor, a gray haired eminence. This is a relief valve, and it is always helpful to have someone tell you, “Sorry, that’s normal” when the butterflies turn to condors and try to claw their way out of your acid pool of a stomach on THOSE days. Sorry. It is normal.

 9. Spend ten minutes a day writing in a diary. This will document something very important — the journey. You will look back after a year and say, “Holy smokes was I that freakin’ naive. Did I really get that much stuff done?”

If you will only do those nine things, then you can work like a whirling dervish and say, “Work balance, be damned!”

You can’t do it forever, but you can while you’re young and a first time CEO. While you’re learning your craft.

Then, guess what? You learn your craft, you become an experienced CEO and the world is all milk and honey. Unfortunately, you turn out to be lactose intolerant and it never really gets “easy” but you learn to do it.

Be well, amigo.

But, hey,  what the Hell do I really known anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Have a great week.

10/20/19

Entrepreneurship In Words

Entrepreneurship.

The other day, I’m having a cup of coffee — no latte, just coffee — with a man whose opinion I respect. It is a mutual respect, one built over a long period of time. Some of that time spent in close consultation, some of that time passing with few words exchanged.

We get to talking about what it means to be an entrepreneur — between us we have more than 70 years of experience, but we both struggle to put meat on the bones of that subject.

Here is what we say to each other.

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04/28/19

Great Moments in Entrepreneurship

Bit gloomy in the ATX, but who doesn’t like a few clouds? So, I have been reading several interesting books about the American Revolution. Two of my favorites are Ron Chernow’s biographies on Washington and Hamilton. They are both worth a read. I have read them both at least three times, but I learn something new every time I re-read them.

If you think these are beach books, plan on at least three months at the beach.

In both of them, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton come up for detailed scrutiny of their role at the First Battle of Trenton whereat George Washington undertook a Christmas Day, double envelopment, river crossing and attack on the Hessians in Trenton. It has been recognized as one of the most audacious military strokes in the history of the world.

Related image

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10/5/18

Elon Musk and the US SEC – Shortsellers Enrichment Commission

Big Red Car here, following the unending saga of Elon Musk of Tesla fame and his continuing dialog with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Just want to [say] that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!” Tweeted by Elon Musk.

Is this the smart play?

Image result for images elon musk smoking weed

Elon Musk taking a toke to release his inhibitions?

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06/22/18

Twitter, Square and Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey is an American entrepreneur who co-founded Twitter and Square.

Sun is just coming up over Austin By God Texas, delivering on the promise of another spectacular sunny, summer masterpiece, y’all. On Earth as it is in Texas!

From time to time, there are those who have taken issue with Jack Dorsey’s dual roles as CEO of both Twitter and Square. Hard to believe, actually, but let’s take a look at the most important report card – RESULTS.

Image result for jack dorsey images

Name’s Jack, Jack Dorsey, and I co-founded Twitter and Square. Now, I’m the CEO of both of them. You have a problem with that?

[This is a guy named by 24/7 Wall Street in 2017 as one of the Worst CEOs in America, following on the heels of Fox News similarly picking him as the #4 Worst CEO of 2016. TechCrunch picked him as the Founder of the Year 2012. More importantly, Forbes picked him as the World’s Most Eligible Bachelor 2013. Guy’s been on a roll!]

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