29 December 2013

Building a Business, or Winning a Contest?

How many "competitions" did Google, Facebook, and Apple compete in, much less win?

Winning is great. But don’t let those opportunities sidetrack you from actually building a great company and validating its value through customer acquisition. Paying customers are the ultimate validation. (source infra)

Entrepreneurship competitions should build your business, not sap energy - Business Monday - MiamiHerald.com: "...The real winners are the entrepreneurs who may never get press or raise a lot of money but create successful, sustainable businesses...."

Wise advice.

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26 December 2013

Venture capital, investing, startups, Florida

Going forward, the Sunshine State may be the best place for startups and venture capital --

Venture capital investing up in Florida - Business - MiamiHerald.com: "In the past year, venture capital investments in Florida businesses increased by 45 percent . . . Seventy-eight percent of the $318 million invested in Florida in the year ending in September went to businesses in the biotechnology, information technology services, media and entertainment and software industry sectors. Nationally, venture capital investments declined by 1 percent to $27.5 billion. ..." (read more at the link above)

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22 December 2013

Venture Capital, Startups, Minimal Capital Costs

VCs can now see 1000 experiments rather than just 5-10 startups --

James Somers – Web developer money: " . . . start-ups have gotten cheaper. A web start-up today has almost no fixed capital costs. There’s no need to invest in broadband infrastructure, since it’s already there. There’s no need to buy TV ads to get market share, when you can grow organically via search (Google) and social networks (Facebook). ‘Cloud’ web servers, like nearly all other services a virtual company might need — such as credit-card processing, automated telephone support, mass email delivery — can be paid for on demand, at prices pegged to Moore’s Law. You can see why I’m in such good shape. In this particular gold rush the shovel is me Which means that these days the cost of finding out whether a start-up is actually going to succeed isn’t hundreds of millions of dollars — it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s the cost of a couple of laptops and the salary you pay the founders while they try stuff. A $100 million pool of venture capital, instead of seeding five or 10 start-ups, can now seed 1,000 small experiments, most of which will fail, one of which will become worth a billion dollars. And so there is a frenzy on.. . ."

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19 December 2013

Cultural literacy, doing business overseas

Culture, customs, relationships --

South Floridian businessman’s struggles highlight changing cultures, business practices - Business - MiamiHerald.com: " . . . To stay abreast of shifting market conditions, Rifkin and other South Floridians who regularly manufacture products in Asia advise making regular visits to suppliers and on-site supervision of factories. “Get your butt over there and learn about the factory that makes your product,” Rifkin said. Before he sold his company, Rifkin set up shop in China, Vietnam and Bangladesh, where he worked with multiple factories to make a variety of hangers for high-end retailers, hotels and individuals. Rifkin made it a point to conduct foreign business face-to-face, which often forced him to learn the history of the country and the customs of its citizens. . . . But for Rifkin, cultural literacy still holds more weight than any other factor. “You literally have to give yourself a history lesson on how a country was born and what their struggles were,” he said. “That way you can go into a conversation and understand who they are and what they’ve been through.”

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15 December 2013

Kleiner Perkins Strategy, A Shift After Rough Decade

Venture funds returned 35.7 percent annually in the decade ending in 2000, but they lost 1.9 percent annually in the decade ending in 2010, according to data compiled by Cambridge Associates for the National Venture Capital Association.

Kleiner Perkins Shifts Strategy After a Rough Decade - NYTimes.com: " . . . The 1994 fund delivered 32 times the investors’ money, the 1996 fund 17 times, and 1999, six times. But since then, they note, funds raised in 2000 and 2004 have been unprofitable. A $1 billion fund raised in 2008 devoted to clean technology is also showing losses, one investor says. “They had stellar returns for years, but their reputation has been tarnished by performance of late,” said Nancy Lambert, a former private banker at Citigroup who is now an independent adviser to wealthy families and foundations. “It doesn’t seem like investors are turning away, they’re just more cautious.”. . . "

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12 December 2013

Entrepreneurs are Different

Steve Jobs - Think different --

Nolan Bushnell’s Finding the Next Steve Jobs Reviewed by Molly Young | New Republic: " . . . A certain filtering of the self is a condition of working in an office, and it is a rejection of this notion that our iconic entrepreneurs, with their hoodies and nocturnal habits, represent. Entrepreneurs succeed by ignoring the advice of their predecessors. The fact that so many of them go on to publish advice for future entrepreneurs is a puzzling contradiction . . ."

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10 December 2013

Working Intelligently, Paying Better, Tradeoffs

Make your choice, it will affect your business model . . . and your success . . .

A Defeat for Demagogy - WSJ.com: ". . . .  a trio of chains that pay wages well above average: QuikTrip, Trader Joe's, and Costco operate on a different model . . . "They start with the mentality of seeing employees as assets to be maximized," she says. As a result, their stores boast better operational efficiency and customer service, and those result in better sales. QuikTrip sales per labor hour are two-thirds higher than the average convenience store chain, Ton found, and sales per square foot are over fifty percent higher. . . . The approach seems like common sense. Keeping shelves stocked and helping customers find merchandise are key to maximizing sales, and it takes human judgment and people skills to execute those tasks effectively. To see what happens when workers are devalued, look no further than Borders or Circuit City. Both big-box retailers saw sales plummet after staff cutbacks, and both ultimately went bankrupt .... There are also trade-offs to investing in employees. Businesses that spend more on their workers have to cut costs elsewhere. Trader Joe's streamlines operations by offering a limited number of products and very few sale promotions. Costco stocks products on pallets, as a warehouse would. And the QuikTrip model requires the fortitude to accept possible short-term drops in profits...."

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08 December 2013

Silicon Valley VCs Don't Want Kanye West, DONDA

Kanye West Courts Silicon Valley Investors, But VCs Don't Want DONDA: ". . . . West's efforts to drum up tech money for DONDA have not been fruitful."I think he's getting frustrated. People are enjoying meeting him because he's Kanye and they want to take him around, but then they're not actually investing," said one source. Investors like the coolness by proxy, just not his pitch style. "If you see his behavior, it's so erratic, he's not focused and kind of all over the place," the source added. West's caustic public criticism of investors has also left VCs a little gunshy...."

Ya think?

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05 December 2013

Investors, Startups, Crowdfunding

Investors in Startups, what are your expectations? I hope it matches reality--your investment is illiquid, subject to dilution, complete failure and loss, and in the meantime, you will get very little information about what is really going go -- welcome to world of investing in startups:

.@EdGrapeNutZimm: What McDonald's Coffee and #Crowdfunding Have in Common - The Accelerators - WSJ: "...So here’s the bottom line: The ways in which people and funds invest in startups differ significantly from how people and funds invest in public company stocks. The expected hold period is dramatically different (I expect seven to 10 years of illiquidity for each startup I back) and the need to follow on is significant in startups (I expect that my initial investment will be a third or a fifth of my entire investment in the company over time). If you want to dip your toes into the water with a public company, you can track things on the Web and get in and out with relative speed. Not true with startups...."

So are your EXPECTATIONS realistic? Illiquidity, Dilution, Little Information, High Risk of Complete Loss?

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29 November 2013

The Google 8-Point Plan for Management Improvement

Google’s 8-Point Plan to Help Managers Improve - NYTimes.com: "Mr. Bock’s group found that technical expertise — the ability, say, to write computer code in your sleep — ranked dead last among Google’s big eight. What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers. “In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” Mr. Bock says. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison. Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible.”" (read more at link above)

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27 November 2013

Ted Schlein, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins

Kleiner Perkins: Can Ted Schlein lead venture capital firm back to glory? - SiliconValley.com: " . . . . In a valley where top venture capitalists are treated as rock stars, Schlein -- small, balding and bespectacled -- is far from a household name. But for the past seven years, he has quietly helped Doerr run Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. . . . Schlein -- who seldom grants interviews -- told this newspaper he's well aware of the whispers that Kleiner Perkins has lost its mojo . . . "People in the industry will say what they're going to say," he continued. "Until we prove them otherwise.". . . Kleiner Perkins missed out on Facebook and LinkedIn, two of the biggest deals in recent venture history. And the firm's $1 billion cleantech fund has seen few hits and several notable meltdowns, including carmaker Fisker Automotive. Schlein and Doerr won't discuss the February investor meeting, at which the two men reportedly promised better returns for the pension funds and university endowments that trust Kleiner with their money. What Schlein does acknowledge is that the criticisms are painful. "I take it very personally," he said. "Venture capital is about your commitment to your partners, to your investors. You want to deliver for them." . . . . " (read more at link above)

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25 November 2013

Jobs, stock market, inefficiency

To create jobs, the stock market needs a little inefficiency - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blogTerm Sheet: " . . . As part of the JOBS Act (passed last year), the SEC was asked to study the effects of decimalization on liquidity in the small cap market. To date, the SEC has held a series of public hearings on the topic but has not implemented any formal changes to the capital markets.
As co-chair of the Equity Capital Formation Task Force, I am calling on the SEC to implement a multi-year pilot program designed to demonstrate that increasing the trading increments for small cap stocks from $0.01 to $0.05 will, in fact, increase trading liquidity in these markets -- thus driving higher volumes of small cap IPOs, growing jobs and creating attractive investment opportunities for 58 million households. No doubt market efficiency is a laudable goal, but not at the expense of simplicity, and not if it means the collapse of a market that holds the key to sustained U.S. job growth, economic development and technology breakthroughs."
--Scott Kupor (managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz)

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22 November 2013

Top States for Private Equity

Private Equity At Work | PEGCC Unveils Third Annual “Private Equity: Top States and Districts”: "Private equity firms invested $347 billion in more than 2,000 U.S.-based companies last year, according to the third annual “Private Equity: Top States and Districts” analysis released today by the Private Equity Growth Capital Council. The analysis ranks the top 20 states and congressional districts by investment value and the number of investments. You can find the “Private Equity: Top States and Districts” data on the Private Equity at Work state-by-state map. Texas received the most investment from private equity (measured in dollars invested) totaling $46.6 billion in 222 companies, followed by California, Colorado, Illinois and Florida. Colorado’s 6thCongressional District, represented by Rep. Mike Coffman, received $17.2 billion and ranks as the top district for private equity investment. Congressional districts represented by Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Danny K. Davis (IL-7), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) and Kenny Marchant (TX-24) rounded out the top five. . . ." (read more at link above)

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20 November 2013

Total Open Miind, Hertz CEO Mark Frissora

Leading in the 21st century: An interview with Hertz CEO Mark Frissora | McKinsey & Company: "Mark Frissora: Most people, including CEOs, have too much pride. Pride gets in the way of what we call TOM—Total Open Mind—which is our shorthand for an entrepreneurial, innovation orientation. We say “No pride allowed. If you’re not in TOM mode, we can’t have this conversation.” I try to surround myself with a team that embraces these same principles, and then I try to drive it deeper and deeper into the organization using our stated values in our management objectives. We are methodical about making sure our team is aligned on the idea of Total Open Mind."

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18 November 2013

Bono, Foreign Aid, Capitalism

U2's Bono Courageously Embraces Capitalism - Forbes: " . . . Question: Which countries gave foreign aid to the U.S. during the 19th century as it became the wealthiest country in the world? Answer: None, but considerable foreign capital was invested along with a lot of international trade. Similarly, Zhou Xiaochuan, the head of China’s central bank, has stated that China’s policies for further economic growth must be based on continuing to “promote trade and investment.” Foreign aid, in contrast to trade and investment, has a dismal record. Countries that have received large aid packages have largely remained poor. Two World Bank studies attribute this to the fact that foreign aid often props up regimes that govern poorly. Statistics have shown that the most aid-dependent countries have averaged slightly negative economic growth, leaving them mired in poverty. Aid isn’t the answer. How encouraging, then, for me to learn that Bono now understands that, too. One of my students sent me a video clip, showing Bono addressing an audience of students at Georgetown University, in which he states, “Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce—entrepreneurial capitalism—takes more people out of poverty than aid.” Bono also says, “In dealing with poverty here and around the world, welfare and foreign aid are a Band-Aid. Free enterprise is the cure. . . .” (read more at link above)

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15 November 2013

VC investment in software hit 12-year highs

As Steve Ballmer would say, "software, software, software" --

Venture capital investments in software hit 12-year highs - SiliconValley.com: " . . . John Taylor, head of research at the venture capital association, pointed out that more than half of the quarter's deals were in early and seed-stage startups. Dollars invested in early-stage companies -- those past the garage phase but still small -- rose to their highest level in 12 years, the report found. "There's credible reason to be optimistic about the future of innovation and the vibrancy of the startup ecosystem," Taylor said. He added, however, that even with the hot IPO market, there are still plenty of venture firms awaiting liquidity for prior investments. What's more, the number of companies at any stage of maturity that received venture funding for the first time rose 8 percent compared with the previous quarter. There again, the software industry ruled the roost: Nearly half the companies landing first-time investments in the third quarter were in software. For investors, it comes down to simple math, McCaffrey said: "There's such energy in the software sector now, it's hard to ignore.". . ." (read more at link above)

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13 November 2013

Large, Global, Weird, Silicon Valley

Lots of places claim they want to be the Next Silicon Valley. Really. Yet, do ANY of the wannabes truly want what makes Silicon Valley unique? For example -- lots of foreign workers holding 2 out of 3 jobs, and weirdness?

Why the “Next Silicon Valley” Doesn’t Really Exist | MIT Technology Review: " . . . Silicon Valley has 400,000 workers broadly in the tech sector. If you count the supporting infrastructure of service providers, it might be twice that size. That workforce is global. Almost two-thirds of people working in Silicon Valley are “foreign workers.” People migrate to the Valley from all over the world. They bring a very diverse set of experiences on how industries in different countries work. And it’s weird. Some argue that Silicon Valley perhaps has higher rates of people with Asperger’s, people on the Autism spectrum disorder, and people with dyslexia, and that this in fact contributes to its enduring success. . . ." (read more the link above)

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11 November 2013

Surviving the Unemployment Economy

Surviving the post-employment economy - Opinion - Al Jazeera English: " . . . In the United States, nine percent of computer science majors are unemployed, and 14.7 percent of those who hold degrees in information systems have no job. Graduates with degrees in STEM - science, technology, engineering and medicine - are facing record joblessness, with unemployment at more than twice pre-recession levels. The job market for law degree holders continues to erode, with only 55 percent of 2011 law graduates in full-time jobs. Even in the military, that behemoth of the national budget, positions are being eliminated or becoming contingent due to the sequester. . . ." read more at the link above

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08 November 2013

Why Sweden Has More Billionaires than the US per capita

Sweden’s billionaires: They have more per capita than the United States.: " . . . The Swedish tax code was substantially reformed in 1990 to be friendlier toward capital accumulation, with a flat rate on investment income. Sweden has no taxes on inheritance or residential property, and its 22 percent corporate income tax rate is far lower than America’s 35 percent. Even after spending cuts by the current center-right government, the Swedish public sector is still about half the total economy (much higher than here), but the taxes that finance it fall more heavily on consumption and less on business investment than in the U.S. Sweden also has a relatively lightly regulated economy. There are rules about public health and environmental protection, of course. But Sweden is arguably further down the neoliberal path of dismantling purely economic regulations than the U.S. In Stockholm, for example, taxi fares are completely unregulated and for-profit charter schools are common. All things considered, international surveys rank Sweden as a place where it’s easy to do business. Within the U.S., surveys show that licensing rules rather than tax rates are the main driver of local business-friendliness. . . ." (read more at links above)

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04 November 2013

Perceived High Quality A Key to Success

The secrets of shopping | The University of Chicago Booth School of Business: "For example, Coke and RC Cola are similar products, but Coke is more successful because people prefer it. Why they prefer it, whether they’re influenced by advertising or other factors, is a secondary matter for the researchers. All they consider, besides price, is the perceived quality . . . The early results are upending a long-held belief that the most successful companies are the ones that focus on reining in expenses or establishing economies of scale. “The key determinant of firm success is quality, much more than cost,” Weinstein says. “The most successful firms produce goods that consumers think are high quality. It’s not just about lower prices.”" (read more at link above)

Think Apple.

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30 October 2013

AngelList, Android of venture capital?

Why AngelList will become the Android of venture capital | VentureBeat: " . . . . AngelList is an open and free marketplace for startups and investors. Accredited investors and entrepreneurs can connect with each other without spending a dime. Yes, AngelList founders Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi do some curation at this point, but my guess that it is only an interim solution until the platform reaches escape velocity. Long term, I can see AngelList becoming a vibrant and thriving community that is entirely democratic and promising entrepreneurs can easily connect with credible active investors, for free. If you are an investor just starting out, your time and energy are better spent on AngelList than building proprietary deal flow. . . ." (read more at link above)

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28 October 2013

Crowd Investing Sites, Shares in Startups

Increasingly, money is not the real problem -- it's the "strings" attached --

Crowd Investing Sites Start Offering Shares in Startups | MIT Technology Review: " . . . Under the new regulations, startups can advertise their shares anywhere—on billboards, on Facebook, via direct mail, e-mail lists, or via a dozen online crowd investing portals that have been set up to solicit and manage investments from the public at large. Griffel’s company appears on Wefunder.com. The site, which was founded last year but became fully operational today, allows anyone to navigate through pitches from two dozen companies developing everything from small farms in shipping containers to new ways to transmit money overseas. . . ." (read more at link above)

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25 October 2013

Startups, San Francisco, Y Combinator follows

Bees drawn to the nectar --

As More Startups Move To San Francisco, Y Combinator Opens A Satellite Office In The City | TechCrunch: "Y Combinator hasn’t always just been in Silicon Valley — it used to have classes in both Silicon Valley and Cambridge before founders Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston decided to stay on the West Coast year-round. But the new office, which opened its doors early last month, follows a larger trend of VC firms and investors looking beyond their stodgy Sand Hill Road digs to meet with and support a growing number of startups making San Francisco their home. . . ." (read more at link above)

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23 October 2013

VeriSign, Domain Names, Dot Coms

Forget the new gTLDs (and the coming morass of confusion, litigation, trademark issues, etc., incited by ICANN) -- "dot Com" is and will continue to be the "gold" of the domain business --

VeriSign 2nd-Quarter Profit Up 23% on Higher Revenue - WSJ.com: "VeriSign Inc.'s (VRSN) second-quarter profit jumped 23% as the Internet-domain-name company reported a double-digit increase in revenue and higher operating margins, lifting results above Wall Street's expectations. The company has posted double-digit revenue gains and higher income for nine consecutive quarters. VeriSign has spent the past few years shedding several Internet-related businesses, making it almost totally dependent on the mainstay Internet domain operation. VeriSign's domain-name business--which operates the registry for .com, .net and other domains--is based on a contract from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department. . . ."

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21 October 2013

Creative Class, Cities, Corporations follow trend

As Creative Class Flocks to Cities, Corporations Follow - The CIO Report - WSJ: ". . . “Big message from convo with @FredWilson last nite: Talent location drives business location & formation. Quality of Place is key factor,” Mr., Florida said in a tweet on Thursday morning. One factor in the rise of the inner city as tech hub, Mr. Wilson said, is that software engineers are closer in temperament to artists and musicians than they are to computer chip engineers. He recalled an early meeting with Etsy Inc. co-founder Robert Kalin, at the Brooklyn headquarters of the crafts and vintage goods marketplace.  Mr. Kalin had a guitar, and, to Mr. Wilson’s surprise, offered to play a song. “He said, ‘You know, I really am an artist. I grew up in this generation, and I make websites. If I had lived in the ‘60s, I would have been a folksinger, and if I had lived in the ‘20s, I would have been a painter,” Mr. Wilson recalled. . . ." (read more at link above)

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18 October 2013

Bezos, Brilliant, Demanding

Not surprising but great read --

Book Portrays Bezos as Brilliant, Demanding — Just as We Expect - Digits - WSJ: " . . . He had no background in control theory, no background in operating systems,” Jones says. “He only had minimum experience in the distribution centers and never spent weeks and months out on the line.” But Bezos laid out his argument on the whiteboard, and “every stinking thing he put down was correct and true,” Jones says. “It would be easier to stomach if we could prove he was wrong, but we couldn’t. That was a typical interaction with Jeff. He had this unbelievable ability to be incredibly intelligent about things he had nothing to do with, and he was totally ruthless about communicating it.”" (read more at link above)

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16 October 2013

Think System, Not Goals

Scott Adams: How to Be Successful - WSJ.com: " . . . . one should have a system instead of a goal. The system was to continually look for better options."Throughout my career I've had my antennae up, looking for examples of people who use systems as opposed to goals. In most cases, as far as I can tell, the people who use systems do better. The systems-driven people have found a way to look at the familiar in new and more useful ways. To put it bluntly, goals are for losers. . . ." (read more at link above)

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14 October 2013

Cuba, Entrepreneurs, Startups, Regulation

Are self-employed Cubans really budding entrepreneurs? - Cuba - MiamiHerald.com: " . . . . Despite the problems faced by Cuba’s new class of small entrepreneurs, Sanguinetty views self-employment as a positive in creating civil society. “In any society there are entrepreneurs. The point is that a business entrepreneur is an entrepreneur in general — including political activities. An entrepreneur is a very dynamic person, willing to take risks.’’"

6 Ways To Save U.S. Startups And Jobs From Death By Regulation - Forbes: "With such a dense tangle at multiple levels, eliminating even dozens of the worst regulations, while a positive step, would seem alone unlikely to reverse declining US entrepreneurship.  Rather, we need a sustained, bipartisan attack to elevate awareness, repeal or allow thousands of regulations to expire, and adopt new mindsets of extreme forbearance in enacting new regulations.  None of this will be easy."

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11 October 2013

Paul Graham, Building Companies, Startups

Paul Graham on Building Companies for Fast Growth | Inc.com: "There is a secular trend going on, in which launching a start-up is a more common thing to do. It used to be there were two things you could do after college: go to grad school or get a job. Soon, I think there will be three things: go to grad school, get a job, or start your own company. I suspect this will be one of these economic transformations on the scale of the industrial revolution."

Google Ventures tops the list of most active corporate VCs since 2012 — Tech News and Analysis" . . . As we’ve written before, Google Ventures aspires to be one of the top venture firms in Silicon Valley, rather than a classic corporate VC that’s just an offshoot of Google. Of course, it has Google’s financial backing — it just recently expanded its fund to $300 million annually, and it’s investing in about 80 companies a year, so its status as the most active firm makes a lot of sense. The firms that Google Ventures is most likely to co-invest with inculde Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, First Round Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, 500 Startups, and True Ventures, according to this report. That finding fits right in with the firm’s ambition to compete amongst the top in the Valley. . . ."

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09 October 2013

Making a Successful Entrepreneur (Video)

What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur?: Video - Bloomberg: "Managing Director for the Center of MIT Entrepreneurship Bill Aulet discusses the making of a successful entrepreneur with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)"

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07 October 2013

Ronald Coase, Wealth Creation, Transaction Costs, Voluntary Exchange Agreements

Ronald Coase Was The Greatest Of The Many Great University Of Chicago Economists - Forbes: "Coase saw the economy as an evolving, spontaneously ordered system characterized by entrepreneurial creative destruction, in which firms find their way by experimenting with new organizational forms—such as, for example, alternative creative financing options. Perhaps Coase’s greatest contribution was his understanding that wealth creation stemmed from the voluntary exchange agreements of two or more parties, but that such agreements were often blocked by transaction costs. The parties had to become aware of each other, incurring search costs. They had to gain each other’s trust, whether by reputation, earlier small experimental exchanges, third party guarantees, escrow accounts or other means. They had to find ways to assure the quality of the good or service." (read more at link above)

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04 October 2013

Jeremy Grantham, Startups, Venture Capital, Optimism

Our Chat With Jeremy Grantham - WSJ.com: " . . . America is a very, very optimistic-biased society . . . it's been very useful in enterprise, in venture capital...in start-ups. We have more failures here than probably every developed country added together, but in consequence, when the smoke clears, we tend to end up with the Amazons and the Googles. It's not an accident. We just throw more darts at the dartboard. The Germans are very conservative about throwing darts. We have an admirable risk-taking attitude, and we're very tolerant of failure. Q: We benefit from it? A: Absolutely, but the downside is you're willing to throw darts because you think you're going to win. American entrepreneurs all know they're going to win. Only 10 percent survive, but they all think they're going to win." (read more at link above)

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30 September 2013

America's Cup, VCs, Kiwis

Nine New Zealand companies seeking U.S. capital during America's Cup - SiliconValley.com: " . . . the competition wasn't on the water, where Emirates Team New Zealand (dominated) Oracle (ORCL) Team USA in the finals of the 34th America's Cup. . . . nine Kiwi companies Wednesday hoped to duplicate their countrymen's sailing success in the venture capital world to bring home millions of dollars in U.S. funding. The nine were selected after a competition organized by the New Zealand government to win the right to pitch 130 venture capitalists and entrepreneurs at Emirates Team New Zealand's base at Pier 32. They represent the tip of a New Zealand tech industry that saw its 200 largest technology companies grow 2.2 percent between 2011 and 2012 to $7.2 billion in sales, according to a New Zealand government study. Forbes last year named New Zealand the "Best Country for Business" and technology represents New Zealand's fastest-growing, highest per-capita earning industry...."

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27 September 2013

S&P 500 turnover accelerating

Why Hewlett-Packard is off the Dow Jones Index | MIT Technology Review: " . . . What Foster found is that the rate at which companies get bumped off the S&P 500 has been accelerating. Back in 1958, a company could expect to stay on the list for 61 years. These days, the average is just 18 years. Companies can fall off the S&P 500 when they get too small, or get acquired. No one really knows why the rate of turnover is speeding up, but technological disruption could be one big reason. Since 2002, Google, Amazon, and Netflix have joined the S&P 500, while Kodak, the New York Times, Palm and Compaq have all been forced off, essentially by changing technology. Today’s S&P 500 includes many familiar firms, like Apple, AT&T, Corning, Ford, Intel, and Yahoo (and Hewlett-Packard, too). Yet at today’s fast rate of turnover, three out of four names on the list will be banished into obscurity within the next fifteen years. . . ."

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25 September 2013

Vinod Khosla Says Most VCs Add Negative Value To Startups

An unspoken (until now) truth:

Vinod Khosla: 70-80% Of VCs Add Negative Value To Startups | TechCrunch: " . . .“I would be offending too many people,” Khosla retorted. “Maybe some percentage that’s substantially larger than 95 percent of VCs add zero value. I would bet that 70-80 percent add negative value to a startup in their advising.”. . . ." (read more at link above)

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23 September 2013

Google-backed incubator, Latinos, startups

Google-backed incubator hopes to inspire Latinos to launch startups - San Jose Mercury News: "Unlike startups chosen for more established incubators like Y Combinator, Avila's fledglings won't receive funding . . . In exchange for a 4 percent piece of their companies, entrepreneurs in the program will gain access to mentors from Stanford, Apple (AAPL) and WalmartLabs, among others. The program will culminate in a November "demo day" at Google, where the entrepreneurs will strut their stuff for venture capitalists and angel investors. Francisco Nieto, an Oakland schoolteacher who's one of the founders of a participating startup called sleek-geek, said he's eager for introductions to the program's mentors and prospective funders. "We liked their mission and focus," he said of Manos."

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20 September 2013

Internet startups, porn industry, parallels

Lessons from the porn industry | PandoDaily: "Another parallel is the fact that both industries require no formal qualifications. It’s obvious why this is the case in the porn industry, while the Internet startup space has championed the “no college” mantra and made things so cheap to start that anyone can give it a shot. The result of this, just like in porn, is a flood of people jumping into the industry and increasing competition." (read more at link above)

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18 September 2013

Working at Facebook? It's Still Just Working

The entrepreneur as employee dilemma --

The worst things about working at Facebook - Business Insider: "Just because you're working for a cool company still means you're working. In this case, you're working to fulfill someone else's dream."

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16 September 2013

Government, Entrepreneurs, Economy

The Government and the Entrepreneurs - NYTimes.com: " . . . . Government is responsible for the overall infrastructure in a country, and this includes access to education, decent roads and other transportation links. There is also a case for supporting basic technology development, like at the university level, for example, because of the spillovers or externalities throughout the economy. (I work at M.I.T., which benefits greatly from such support and which has had a major impact on new business creation.) In innovation-based economies (as the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor classifies them), what governments really need to do is to encourage people – entrepreneurs and the equity investors who back them – to take risk and ensure that failure is seen in a positive light, rather than as some kind of stigma. The message should be: Go out and start a business, based on your best idea. Find a technology with a new application or develop a different way to make customers happy. If it doesn’t work out, you have still developed important skills and made a major contribution to society."

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11 September 2013

VCs, Founders, Conceit

The VC’s conceit | rohit: " . . . the only things we need to be moved by is:

Is the idea big enough that it will change how adjacent technologies/products/markets behave?
Is the market big enough that it will contort itself to pay for it?
Is the founder’s conviction big enough that they must do this or the idea will die, and  that they can and will recruit the very best team possible to deliver on the idea?
Beyond these realizations, we can argue financial projections, models, and hiring plans forever and will not get a shred of certainty. Yet we ask for it…. and more. And most founders partake in this ritual habitual by supplying ‘data’ riding on powerpoint in response. This is the founder’s conceit...."

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09 September 2013

Odds, Hollywood Movies, Startups

Of 10 start-ups, only three or four fail completely. Another three or four return the original investment, and one or two produce substantial returns. The National Venture Capital Association estimates that 25% to 30% of venture-backed businesses fail.(source infra)

The Odds of a Hollywood Movie Being Made Are the Same as a Startup Making It: "Out of every ten movie projects launched by a studio - by buying a script, acquiring the movie rights to a novel or comic book, or starting work on an internal idea - only one will actually be made and released. The other nine will be victims of “development hell,” the years spent working up from a script or concept through script changes, casting, and so on. The potential for the film to be pulled or frozen in development indefinitely is a constant threat. Without even looking at performance in terms of profit or return on investment, the odds of a Hollywood movie making it into theaters are the same as Silicon Valley’s 9 out of 10 figure and much longer than startups’ actual failure rate."

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06 September 2013

Startups, Funding Options, Seed Cash

Startups have new options for millions of dollars in 'seed' cash - SiliconValley.com: "Joining the Crowd - While AngelList and similar services like FundersClub require their members to be accredited -- which, in the parlance of the Securities and Exchange Commission, means having substantial financial resources and an investing track record -- anybody with a credit card can invest as little as $1 in fledgling businesses through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Massolution, a research firm in Los Angeles, reports there are now hundreds of crowdfunding platforms. Last year, they collectively channeled $2.7 billion to entrepreneurs, nearly double the previous year's tally. Massolution CEO Carl Esposti cites the example of Pebble Technology...."

Note: Current SEC rules restrict crowdfunding sites in the United States to investing in specific projects, such as the Pebble watch, rather than buying a piece of the company itself. But that's expected to change late this year when federal officials hammer out new rules as part of sweeping legislation called the JOBS Act (short for Jumpstart Our Business Startups).

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04 September 2013

Product Focus, Why Founders Fail

Why Founders Fail: The Product CEO Paradox | TechCrunch: "This happens all the time. A founder develops a breakthrough idea and starts a company to build it. As originator of the idea, she works tirelessly to bring it to life by involving herself in every detail of the product to ensure that the execution meets the vision. The product succeeds and the company grows. Then somewhere along the line, employees start complaining that the CEO is paying too much attention to what the employees can do better without her and not enough attention to the rest of the company. The board or CEO Coach then advises the founder to “trust her people and delegate.” And then the product loses focus and starts to look like a camel (a horse built by committee). In the meanwhile, it turns out that the CEO was only world-class at the product, so she effectively transformed herself from an excellent, product-oriented CEO into a crappy, general-purpose CEO. Looks like we need a new CEO."

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02 September 2013

Entrepreneurs, University, Partnership

Entrepreneurs, university form partnership - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com: "Entrepreneurs’ Organization South Florida has launched a new relationship with Nova Southeastern University H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship to foster entrepreneurial inspiration and success for students and the business community. EO-SOFLO and NSU will collaborate to host speakers and present seminars and joint activities such as the EO Accelerator that will feature educational content in four key issues faced by start-ups and first-stage entrepreneurs: strategic planning, sales and marketing, human resources and finance."

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30 August 2013

Scaling a startup

The two keys to scaling a startup | The Starting Gate: "To build a really large new company, one needs a high quality, well thought out idea and design thinking is one proven technique to produce such ideas. To increase the likelihood of realizing the market potential of the idea, execution is key and business model development is an effective process to formulate the execution strategy."

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28 August 2013

Blogger Mocks Silicon Valley, Dumb Money

Disruptions: A Blogger Mocks the Denizens of Silicon Valley - NYTimes.com: " . . . John Cook, editor of Gawker, said he and Mr. Denton decided to restart Valleywag after seeing a return of excessive spending and obnoxious behavior in the Valley and a “lot of indications of dumb money,” like the $6 million given to Ms. Morin’s start-up. “The Valley is a target-rich environment for someone who is looking to expose profligacy, ego and self-regard,” Mr. Cook said. “There’s just so much cluelessness about wealth and privilege, and there’s so much completely unearned money changing hands.”. . ."

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26 August 2013

VCs, Dumb Money, Silicon Valley, Poor Returns

10-Year Study Erases VC 'Smart Money' Claims -SVW: " . . . It's easy to see how "smart money" VCs end up with dumb money returns, when they herd into the same types of me-too startups and ruin the market for each other; or force their portfolio companies to pivot their business plans based on the trend du jour in their Twitter streams. Add to that, imposing toxic term sheets onto a startup's founders -- and it's no wonder they are increasingly despised in startup communities on both coasts. The VCs are extraordinarily bad at picking winners. It might be better to assign investments to a wide variety of startups on a lottery basis. . . ." (read more at link above)

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23 August 2013

A Google boost to London start-ups (video)

Google's boost to London's start-up scene – Business 360 - CNN.com Blogs: "Traditionally, Silicon Valley and New York have been the main places for entrepreneurs to launch their businesses. Now, however, other centers are emerging as start-up hotbeds. Google Campus, opened in London last year, has been at the forefront of the city's start-up scene. . . ."

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21 August 2013

Innovation, Capitalism, Entrepreneurs

Why Innovation Is Still Capitalism’s Star - NYTimes.com: " . . . Edmund S. Phelps, a professor of economics at Columbia University and a Nobel laureate, has written an interesting new book on the subject. It’s called “Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge and Change” (Princeton University Press), and it contains a complex new analysis of the importance of an entrepreneurial culture. Professor Phelps discerns a troubling trend in many countries, however, even the United States. He is worried about corporatism, a political philosophy in which economic activity is controlled by large interest groups or the government. Once corporatism takes hold in a society, he says, people don’t adequately appreciate the contributions and the travails of individuals who create and innovate. An economy with a corporatist culture can copy and even outgrow others for a while, he says, but, in the end, it will always be left behind. Only an entrepreneurial culture can lead. Is the United States really becoming corporatist? I don’t entirely agree with such a notion. Even so, President Obama has been talking a lot about innovation as a job creator this year, and while some of his intentions may be good, I’m afraid that some of his proposals look a little corporatist, and might suppress individual initiative. . . ."

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19 August 2013

Science of the Deal, Google Ventures

Google Ventures Stresses Science of Deal, Not Art of the Deal - NYTimes.com: " . . . Unlike venture capitalists of old, the company’s rising V.C. arm focuses not on the art of the deal, but on the science of the deal. First, data is collected, collated, analyzed. Only then does the money start to flow. Google Ventures and its take on investing represent a new formula for the venture capital business, and skeptics say it will never capture the chemistry — or, perhaps, the magic — of Silicon Valley. Would computer algorithms have bankrolled David Packard or Steve Jobs? Foreseen the folly of Pets.com? . . . " (read more at link above)

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16 August 2013

Digital Capital, Employee Productivity, Revenue Per Employee

Measuring the full impact of digital capital | McKinsey & Company: " . . . One clue suggesting that a company might face emerging digital challenges is the existence of businesses that have unusually high levels of revenue per employee in adjacent market spaces. Amazon.com’s employee productivity, for example, is double that of traditional retailers. Netflix, similarly, generates more revenue per employee than traditional cable operators do, by leveraging intangibles such as its highly evolved recommendation algorithms. Unusual financial profiles are another warning sign. Since digital funding is counted as operating expenditure, digital leaders often have small capital-investment levels relative to their size and growth potential. They also borrow less, both because they may not need to (some reap sizable market rents from, for example, search licensing fees or patent income) and because banks may be less likely to lend against intangible assets. . . ."

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14 August 2013

Miami a hot spot for VCs

Miami: A hot spot for venture capitalists | The Starting Gate: "A few weeks ago, I had my first-ever opportunity to visit the Miami startup ecosystem. I was visiting as part of Terrapinn Private Equity World, a leading private equity conference for the Latin American technology community. You might assume the event took place in Sao Paolo or Mexico City, but no, it was in Miami, and will be again in 2014. The decision to host the conference in Miami is hardly unfounded. Miami is one of the fastest growing new startup hubs in the US. As a VC, Miami is exactly the sort of place I love to invest in: a city filled with entrepreneurs who not only want to be successful in their own endeavors, but also strive to create a sustainable infrastructure for others to succeed after they do. Miami has many of the assets of an entrepreneurial hub, notably a flourishing creative community, and a strong public university system. . . . " (read more at link above)
Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/the-starting-gate/2013/08/miami-a-hot-spot-for-venture-capitalists.html#storylink=cpy

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12 August 2013

Saying No, Saying Yes, Profitable Business

Small-business owners often have trouble turning down business. As a result, they often end up extremely busy doing unprofitable work.

The Value of Saying No - NYTimes.com: " . . . .She took my advice and started to say no. And an interesting thing happened. The profit at her firm increased, and it became easier for potential customers to recognize her specialty. When the firm decided to specialize, it made a commitment to an industry about which it had specialized knowledge. Now, the portfolio that potential customers look at has other specialty food companies. They can easily see how the firm’s work helps specialty food companies get their message across. Most of us in business have never really learned how to say no. We are afraid that if we don’t say yes to everybody who walks in the door, no one else is ever going to walk in. When the graphic artist started to say no, she created capacity in her business to say yes to high-value and high-profit customers, clients she really could help. Instead of starting from scratch every time a new project appeared, she could start from a base of knowledge. Saying no to the person who doesn’t fit leaves you room to say yes to somebody who does.. . ." (read more at link above)

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09 August 2013

Rebranding: From YouSendIt to Hightail

Why YouSendIt had to change its name - Fortune Tech: " . . . The question now for Garlinghouse is whether the rebranding will be enough. With $49 million in funds raised since it was founded in 2004, YouSendIt is not cash flow positive. And while Hightail's 43 million-strong userbase isn't small, it's a far cry from the 175 million that rapidly growing startup Dropbox trumpeted earlier this week. Although, as Garlinghouse, quickly notes, YouSendIt has managed to grow its userbase without requiring hundreds of millions of dollars in backing – a reference to fellow enterprise-focused competitor Box, which raised $150 million during its latest round of funding and is eyeing an IPO by 2014. There's also the issue of whether Hightail will alienate some long-time users who have long since grown comfortable with the old YouSendIt. Garlinghouse admits that may happen with a very small minority but says the new service's ease-of-use will earn even more customers. Indeed, Hightail may not be cash flow positive, but with the rebranding, the company hopes it will have a better shot at competing. Says Garlinghouse simply: "We wanted to be in, be real, and be bold."" (read more at link above)

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07 August 2013

Roger Lee on Next Big Thing and Biggest Mistake of Entrepreneurs

Elevator Pitch: Roger Lee of Battery Ventures | SiliconBeat"Q: WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISTAKE ENTREPRENEURS MAKE? A: Bad hiring. They either hire the wrong people, and/or they don’t remove them quickly enough . . . Most entrepreneurs have a bold vision, but they need to complement that with great execution. If they don’t hire the right people, great execution is nearly impossible.
A: I think the entire enterprise software stack will get rebuilt over the next 10 years. Enterprise software will look much more like Google/Apple/etc. and much less like Microsoft/Oracle/Salesforce/etc. It will be beautifully designed; be ‘bought’ (not ‘sold’) through freemium models; will incorporate ‘Big Data’ to make end-users more productive; and will factor in mobility from day one." (read more at link above)

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05 August 2013

Silicon Valley VC deals fall, VC climate change

Silicon Valley VC deals fall to $2.6 billion in the second quarter, the worst since 2009 - Silicon Valley Business Journal: " . . . Venture capitalist Ben Horowitz addressed the “climate change” around venture capital in a blog post earlier this week, where he said valuations for many startups were falling, with VCs increasingly pushing entrepreneurs to accept “down rounds.” “Hoping that the fundraising climate will change before you die is a bad strategy because a dwindling cash balance will make it even more difficult to raise money than it already is,” Horowitz wrote. “You need to figure out how to stop the bleeding, as it is too late to prevent it from starting.”.  .  ."

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02 August 2013

Venture Capital, Diversity, Density

The Connection Between Venture Capital and Diverse, Dense Communities - Richard Florida - The Atlantic Cities: " . . . venture capital investment is positively associated with both density measured as people per square mile (.52, .38) and even more so with population-weighted or concentrated density (.64, .55). In addition to this, there is an interesting connection between the way we commute and the geography of venture capital investment and start-up activity. Venture capital investment, according to her analysis, is negatively associated with the share of commuters who drive to work alone . . . Taken together, these findings are suggestive of an urban shift in venture capital and start-up activity. The reasons for this, as I've noted previously, include the urban preferences of a growing segment of tech talent, the changing nature and speed of technology, and the tight clustering of end-users and consumers in urban centers . . . When all is said and done, venture capital and start-up activity today is associated with denser, more talent-driven, more diverse and innovative metros, reflecting the increasingly spiky nature of America's economic landscape. . . ."

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31 July 2013

Brad Feld on the Rise of Global Startup Communities

Brad Feld on the Rise of Global Startup Communities | MIT Technology Review: " . . . Just do stuff. It’s kind of that simple. It’s literally entrepreneurs just starting to do things. If you’re in a city where there’s no clear startup community, the goal is not raise a bunch of money to fund a nonprofit, the goal is not get your government involved. The goal is start finding the other entrepreneurial leaders who are committed to being in your city over the next 20 years. Then, as a group, get very focused on knowing each other, working together, being inclusive of anyone else who wants to engage, doing things that help recruit people to that geography, and doing selfish stuff for your company that also drives your startup community. . . ." (read more at link above)

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29 July 2013

VC funding soars in Florida led by two Miami companies

VC funding soars in Florida, powered by Open English’s results - Business - MiamiHerald.com: Venture capital funding in Florida soared in the second quarter of 2013, thanks to large investments in two Miami-based companies. According to findings of the MoneyTree Report  . . . investment in the state totaled $155.8 million, up from just $11.29 million in the first quarter and the highest amount recorded in the survey since the third quarter of 2007. Florida’s total was powered by the $65 million Series D round in Open English — the 7th largest investment in the country — and the $20 million round in CareCloud, the top two investments in the state. . . . According to the survey, 14 Florida companies received venture capital in the second quarter, up from six in the first quarter and the highest number in more than two years. . . ." MoneyTree Report results are available on www.pwcmoneytree.com and www.nvca.org

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26 July 2013

Blackbox Connect, Two weeks in Silicon Valley

Official Blog: Two weeks in Silicon Valley: Startups from many nations join together at Blackbox: . . . . Blackbox Connect brings founders from top accelerators around the world to take part in a two-week, fully immersive program where they live and work at the “Blackbox Mansion” in Silicon Valley, collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs, investors, experts and executives from the Silicon Valley community. They then return home to their native countries to scale their big ideas. . . . .(read more at link above)

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24 July 2013

Business Leaders Need Vegas Mindset

The Growth Gamble: Why Business Leaders Need a Vegas-Mindset to Successfully Grow | WE magazine for women: " . . . the only certainty about growth is its uncertainty. Growth takes people into unchartered waters, and the processes used for daily operational excellence do not work. Likewise, the management mindset to eliminate variance and to strive for standardization is counterproductive to growth and innovation. “Venture capitalists seem to be the most comfortable taking on the gambler mentality needed to grow successfully,” says Hess. “They understand that the force at play here is uncertainty. They see themselves as managing portfolios of growth opportunities. They also know that their ability to predict at the early stages which of two ventures will succeed is poor. They do not attribute this to their personal failings; instead, they recognize that the inability to predict is a property of the uncertainty surrounding any new business. “Like professional gamblers, they develop a set of practices that acknowledge this reality,” he adds. “They bet heavily on the individual leader of a new business and look for people with experience; they try to keep their bets small and affordable until they have better data; and they develop approaches that help them get in and out of new ventures intelligently and swiftly. Their goal, in other words, is to succeed—or fail fast and cheap.”. . ." (read more at link above)

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15 July 2013

Non-binding Term Sheet Can Become Binding

When a Non-binding Term Sheet Becomes Binding | Mintz Levin - Corporate & Securities - JDSupra: " . . . The SIGA court held that expectation or “benefit of the bargain” damages would be an appropriate remedy where (1) the parties memorialized the basic terms of a transaction in a term sheet; (2) the parties expressly agreed to negotiate in good faith a final transaction in accordance with those terms; and (3) but for the breaching party’s bad faith negotiations, the parties would have consummated a definitive agreement having the terms set forth in the term sheet. See SIGA, 2013 Del. LEXIS 265 at 52. Benefit of the bargain damages are meant to compensate a party with what it would have received had the contract been finalized and fully performed. It is usually measured in terms of reasonably expected profits. The reliance measure of damages, in comparison, provides reimbursement to the non-breaching party for expenses it incurred in reliance on the contract. . . ." (read more at link above)

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12 July 2013

Waze leads Israeli Internet growth

Overall, Israel is the world's largest destination for high tech venture capital after Silicon Valley.

Waze could lead way to Israeli Internet growth - 07/04/2013 | MiamiHerald.com: " . . . Some experts warn of overconfidence. The low costs of launching a consumer-oriented startup, which do not require factories and large machinery used by traditional companies, has made it easy for anyone with an idea to start a business. Those low costs make the companies attractive to investors, who can afford small bets on promising startups. "I do expect more entrepreneurs to throw their hats in the ring," said Adam Fisher, the head of the Israel office of Bessemer Venture Partners, a U.S. firm. He cautioned that with few barriers to entry, the Internet market could be flooded with companies that have little chance of success. "We welcome them, but we hope they don't misread the success of Waze," Fisher said. He pointed out that a company that develops an app or program must also figure out how to make it profitable, a problem that traditional tech companies like chip manufacturers don't have. . ." read more at link above

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08 July 2013

Billions wasted trying to replicate Silicon Valley

Billions have been spent trying to replicate Silicon Valley, with little to show for it. | MIT Technology Review: ". . . . (Harvard Business School professor Michael) Porter and legions of consultants following his methodology prescribed top-down clusters to governments all over the world. The formula was always the same: select a hot industry, build a science park next to a research university, provide subsidies and incentives for chosen industries to locate there, and create a pool of venture capital. Sadly, the magic never happened—anywhere. Hundreds of regions all over the world collectively spent tens of billions of dollars trying to build their versions of Silicon Valley. I don’t know of a single success . . . " read more at link above

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05 July 2013

Fosun Investment Criteria

Mr. Liang: We want to learn from the likes of KKR, Blackstone and Carlyle about asset management. Warren Buffett is good at looking for cheap money and projects, improving them, and selling them at a premium. We also admire Hutchison because very few Asian companies are as good as they are in terms of internationalization.(source infra)

Fosun Is a Connoisseur of Brands - WSJ.com: " . . . Mr. Liang: Every time, before we invest in anything, we all have to ask ourselves, "If we can't exit, do we want to be with them for life?" If the answer is no, then you shouldn't look at it at all. Tough realities face China's private-equity industry. More than 5,000 PEs have invested in 7,000 to 8,000 companies, and the number is increasing by 600 to 700 a year. Not all of them can exit through initial public offerings. So we try to exit through various markets, or through mergers and acquisitions. . . ."

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03 July 2013

When Your Startup Neither Fails Nor Succeeds

What To Do When Your Startup Doesn't Fail, But Also Doesn't Succeed - Business Insider: " . . . . 5. Don’t shut down - airBnb had to sell cereal at one point to keep their company alive, in the early days of FedEx their CEO gambled his money at blackjack to win and make payroll. Evernote the night before closing its doors received a $500k investment from a user in Sweden and Blogger (which sold for rumors between $20MM and $50MM) to Google had to lay off every single employee before finally getting acquired. That founder, Evan Williams went off to start what is now Twitter today, so the greatest thing a founder can do when their startup isn’t failing is to make sure it doesn’t die. Timing is everything." (read more at link above)

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01 July 2013

Transforming Business Strategy

4 Ways Technology Is Transforming Business Strategy - Forbes: "For most of history, stasis was the rule.  There were different people, various empires, power struggles and perhaps the occasional discovery,  yet life went on pretty much as it always had.  The events we read about in the history books had little impact on most who lived at the time.  A thousand years could go by and daily life would stay much the same. That’s changed in a resounding way.  Life is substantially different than even a decade ago and completely unrecognizable from a century ago.  It used to be that when you entered a business, the past would be a good guide to the future. You would mostly know what your career would look like the day you entered it.  These days, on the other hand, business models have a short shelf life. . . . " (read more at link above)

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28 June 2013

Business Models and the Singularity

Business Models and the Singularity | Digital Tonto: "Diminishing Returns to Scale - Besides technological progress, there is another factor in the shortening life spans of business models: the diminishing advantages of scale. It used to be that big companies could protect their business models by exploiting their size and incumbency. They had the infrastructure, the client lists and the marketing budgets to crush new competitors. To a large extent, that’s not true anymore. Infrastructure can cheaply leased (e.g. through cloud services) and the Web is making it easier for small companies to find customers. Digital technologies are also enabling cooperation between small firms to compete with larger ones. That’s the essence of the new semantic economy. We’ve become accustomed to start-ups like Facebook and Instagram becoming billion dollar companies within a few years while established firms like GM and Kodak come crashing down in the same timeframe. Past performance of a business model is no longer a guarantee of future success."

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26 June 2013

Chinese firms buying firms worldwide

Chinese firm to buy British yacht maker Sunseeker | Business | guardian.co.uk: "The Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group is buying the British yacht maker Sunseeker, whose yachts have appeared in several James Bond films, in the latest example of a trend for Chinese companies to acquire top luxury global brands. The company said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy a 91.8% stake in privately held Sunseeker for £320m. Chinese companies have started to acquire top international brands as a shortcut to global success. There is also growing demand for luxury in mainland China, where new marinas line the country's southern coast. Set up in the 1970s, Sunseeker employs around 2,300 people in and around Poole in Dorset on the south coast of England. Following the acquisition, the firm would retain the base and existing workforce, Wanda said. Prices for its luxury boats start at £400,000 and its new top-of-the-range 155 Yacht costs £20m, with the former Formula One boss Eddie Jordan the first customer." (read more at link above)

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Mediocre Entrepreneurs | TechCrunch: " . . . . persistence is not the self-help cliche “Keep going until you hit the finish line!”. The key slogan is, “Keep failing until you accidentally no longer fail.” That’s persistence." - James Altucher

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