Essays

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53 articles in category Essays

That is the most dreaded question one can get from an investor immediately after you have made your pitch. I am in possession this week of a stack of pitches and executive summaries that leave that very question unanswered. If Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford …

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As my regular readers know, I am a student of military history for lessons on leadership and decision making. This week I read Steve Coll’s Directorate S, a lengthy book on the US involvement in the Afghan wars since 9/11. With multiple viewpoints in the …

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This spring has taken me from very large gatherings like those at SXSW to a variety of board meetings and seminars with a couple of dozen in attendance. At any scale, it’s important to get those right. As a startup founder, you can find …

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A new Wells Fargo Bank television advertisement acknowledges their many recent transgressions and says they’re starting anew in 2018. That’s a pretty gutsy move in trying to recoup customer trust. One must wonder how many people watching TV actually know much about Wells Fargo’s …

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A day-long series of mentoring sessions this past week on the subject of startup funding brought to top of mind some of the basics. “Safe” financings, which have the mathematical effects of convertible notes but are legally more like warrants, are in vogue on …

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Apologies for skipping a week. I have been rather preoccupied as the father of the bride at an elegant Austin wedding. However, that suggested a useful topic for this essay. There has been much in the news this year about alleged misbehaviors from long …

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Who are your mentors? Whether or not you have formally designated mentors or advisors, as an alert entrepreneur you are probably bold about asking for guidance whenever a trusted party is available to you. Just like it’s nearly impossible to diagnose a flaw in your …

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Having now observed or read over 150 pitches in the last 3 weeks and having been on the road a bit, I’m focusing on the overworked term of “use cases.” There’s a lot of de-risking left to be done in ideas that depend on …

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Google defines “anxiety” as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. It can be a serious disorder, but anyone bold enough to be a startup founder likely confronts more than his or her …

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