10/26/19

The We Work Fallout

We Work was symptomatic of venture capital funded companies that tiptoed to the public markets with no profits to feed the beast.

In the case of We Work, the market finally woke up and said, “Hey, you don’t even have a plan to become profitable. Get outta here.”

We Work was further punished for the behavior of its leader, the inimitable Adam Neumann, who was treated to a  hubris-crushing cure that resulted in his departure (though anybody who gets bought out with a more than a billion dollar send off will get no sympathy in the Big Red Car’s book, sorry).

What has now taken root is the quaint notion that companies — even before going to the beauty parlor to get primped for an IPO — are going to have to be within earshot of being profitable.

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08/21/19

Tumblr Tumbled

It is obligatory to write something about Tumblr in the blogosphere or “they” will hack your site, and crash it. The Big Red Car doesn’t want that to happen, so here goes.

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It is a curious case, this Tumblr story. With apologies to Charlie Dickens.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of greed, it was the age of Yahoo Marissa, it was the epoch of liquidity, it was the epoch of overpriced deals, it was the season of Porn, it was the season of VC virtue, it was the spring of the micro blogosphere, it was the winter of Tumblr, the Internet had everything before it, the Internet was its own worst enemy, every startup was going to be come a Unicorn, every startup was going bust — in short, it was like today when we suffer delusion and cannot believe that things like Tumblr ever happened.”

Tumblr is a microblogging and social networking company founded by David Karp, a natural coder, in 2007.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 10: Founder and CEO of Tumblr David Karp attends Tumblr’s 2014 Year In Review Party at Brooklyn Night Bazaar on December 10, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)

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07/29/19

Venture Capital Data

In working with startup CEOs one of the most important discussion points is raising money. To be able to effectively understand the market for venture capital, one has to do a bit of study on the subject.

Luckily, there are a number of great sources out there. One of them is PitchBook which publishes something called the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor. It is worth a read.

A couple of things caught my eye. First is that the money flow continues at record levels. More money and a consistently high level of deals. Good news.

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07/20/19

The Money Divide

Love may make the world go around, but it is money that pays for the trip. The world is divided between those who consume money (my tribe) and those who provide the money.

Amongst competing tribal loyalties are the classic American entrepreneur (consumer) and the venture capitalist (provider).

Image result for images of men shaking hands on a deal

Entrepreneurs propose an idea that requires a good slapping with a checkbook — a checkbook that, alas, they do not possess — to bring it to reality. The venture capitalist shows up with a checkbook and offers to assist.

This assistance may take many forms, but the most important thing to understand is that the two parties — the consumer of capital and the provider of capital — have, at times, different interests.

[I am being charitable as I believe the interests are not just different, they are many times divergent. When I consult with CEOs, when I coach CEOs, I always ensure they understand this simple fact. There is a money divide.]

In life, in business, one doesn’t get what one deserves, one gets what they negotiate. This is not a hard truth; it is a simple truth that many choose to avoid because it requires a bit of rigor or discipline to employ.

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07/7/19

Doing Basic Guy Stuff

In the course of being a guy, even in a harshly “woke” America, there is a body of “basic guy stuff” that an American male needs to be able to do.

So, a month ago I am getting ready to take a road trip. Pre-road trip checklist includes having the tires rotated, the oil changed (Take 5 Oil Change — 25% veterans discount, located next to Chez Zee), fueling up for a pre-dawn departure, loading the beach gear, and checking the lights on the Yukon (great road trip car with 160,000 miles, Bose sound system, leather bucket seats, lots of beach gear room, meat locker air conditioning system front and back, dependable and trustworthy, knows the way from my house to the border of Texas at any point of the compass — damn good road trip car).

So, a lights check reveals a dead headlight (low beam) which propels me to O’Reilly Auto Parts right off Interstate Highway 35 next to Fiesta Market to buy two — not one — low beam replacement lights.

Guy at the counter warns me that I either need to go with the new blue-white brighter lights or the Old School amber/yellow lights. I go Old School because I hate running toward the HID lights. And, more importantly, I am Old School. Why fight it? Part of Old School is replacing both low beam headlights at the same time because an old headlight bulb is not as bright as a new one. Basic guy savvy.

I buy two and change them in the parking lot because I know how to do “basic guy stuff” like changing your headlight bulbs (I admit I did not change my own oil, but they (with the discount) do it for what I would pay to buy the damn oil alone.)

Changing the headlights requires some “basic guy savvy” which is often the intellectual underpinning of knowing how to do basic guy stuff.

While I am double checking my newly installed lights to make sure they work, up comes a black Suburban that has been fairly recently shined up though it has been killing bugs for some miles by the look of the windshield. Looks to be a recent model, but not brand new.

The door opens and out comes a Dallas guy — white shorts, cloth belt with fish on it, light blue polo, clean boat shoes with cute white socklets, $80 haircut, and Ray Bans on his head because it is right at dusk.

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“Both of my headlights are out,” sayeth the Dallas guy to me, as if I am the Headlight Fairy. I point him into O’Reilly Auto Parts, while saying, “They’ll fix you up.”

“I don’t have any tools,” he says.

“Your lucky day,” I reply. “It doesn’t take any tools to replace a headlight on a Suburban.”

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06/10/19

Qualified Small Business Stock — QSBS

QSBS, baby.

Rained hard last night. We like a good rain in Texas. Keep the temperature down, but I always fear the mosquitoes.

So, speaking of mosquitoes, let’s discuss the QSBS — Qualified Small Business Stock. [Nice segway, eh?]

Stop — DO NOT TAX ADVICE FROM AN EIGHT CYLINDER V8 MUSCLE CAR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Think of this like sitting next to a drunk at a bar who is slurring his words and falls off the stool twice. That good. No more.

Oh, one more thing — if you are an entrepreneur, founder, ground floor stock owner — listen the Hell up. Trust me.

OK, so the QSBS is a great deal if you qualify. It will allow you to exclude up to 100% of your profits in a qualified small business up to $10,000,000 under certain conditions. This is the kind of money we are talking about here.

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09/14/17

Juicero — Judgment

Juicero, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here in the lovely, sunny, cool ATX enjoying a fresh squeezed carrot juice with some ginger and some sugar beets. Do not tell the guys at Jiffy Lube about this. All they serve is that senior citizen synthetic crap.

So, have you heard about the failure of Juicero? No? Allow the Big Red Car to explain it to you. Comes now, Juicero! Juicero! Juicero!

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