Distributed Ledger Technology and the Future of Life As We Know It

From time to time, some of my good friends whom I have known for a while guest post on my blog.   I am en route to Italy and Trace Schmeltz gave me something interesting to post.  He is an attorney with Barnes and Thornburg.

If you don’t know Trace, he helped out James Koutoulas tremendously when Jon Corzine stole money from his clients at MF Global.  Trace is an expert on financial regulatory law.  He has practiced in Chicago for a long time.  He’s working with the state of Illinois to make sure crypto regulation is correct.

Here is his post.  Given all the hype on crypto currency and blockchain, I thought it was timely.  Especially because I ripped into ICO’s yesterday.

Take it away Trace:


Distributed ledger technology or, as it is commonly called, the “blockchain,” is essentially an account Continue reading "Distributed Ledger Technology and the Future of Life As We Know It"

Who Startups Truly Compete With — Each Other

When a founding team is raising institutional money — either an institutional seed or Series A/B round — those founding teams may have a slide in their pitch deck which shows the competition in their market or sector. This is often referred to as “the competition slide.” Yet, while many investors do want to know what other incumbents and upstarts are competing in the space, oftentimes the startups pitching miscalculate who their real competition in that moment is. For instance, say an education marketplace company is about to pitch a firm for their Series A. That team may assume they’re competing for investment dollars against other education marketplaces who seek money. It’s slightly true, yes, but what is often more true on the ground is that startup is actually competing with every other single investment opportunity an investor sees on a daily or weekly basis.

I’ll illustrate with an Continue reading "Who Startups Truly Compete With — Each Other"

Equifax and Why It’s So Hard to Sue a Company for Losing Your Personal Information


After years of screaming headlines about data breaches, we all know the drill. A major company announces it has been hacked, a brief public outcry ensues, and then… not much happens. Down the road you might read about a government inquiry or a class-action suit being settled. People have become numb to these announcements. We assume our personal information has been compromised in some way, take reasonable precautions like canceling a credit card or instituting credit monitoring, and move on with our lives.

The Equifax breach is different. It isn’t the largest (that would be the 2016 Yahoo breach, with over one billion accounts affected), the most embarrassing (Ashley Madison, the affair website), or the one that raises the most national security concerns (North Korea’s hack of Sony). But a couple of key facts give Equifax its own watershed moment in the sordid history of data breaches: (1) Many of

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ubiquity6 and returning to angel investing

i launched Ascolta Venture’s, prior to KP,  to invest in various *very* early stage companies (people) that i had been involved with in some capacity. From Cloudera to Hearsay Labs, each investment was driven by having deep conviction in the founder – and often independent of their vision/product. i had faith in the grit of the individual to deal with challenges of being a founder – and as an investor/advisor I wanted to be available to listen.  the Italian word ‘ascolta’ translates to ‘listen’ and I am assembling a set of advisors that founders can leverage to listen and provide counsel as various inflection points are reached. as i return to working directly on technology/ products, i am excited to again be doing angel investing on the side to support the courageous folks starting companies. and as first investment in a number of years, i am thrilled to announce

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5 Ways to Focus Your Energy During a Work Crunch


Work invariably ebbs and flows, cycling between steady states, where we feel more in control of the pace and workload, and peak periods, where the work crunch hits us hard. Unexpected setbacks, project sprints, or even vacations and holidays can create mayhem and tension. Maintaining focus and managing energy levels become critical as tasks pile onto an already full load. When you’re in your next work crunch, there are a few things you can do to focus and manage your energy more productively:

Accept the situation. When an acute period hits, it’s easy to resist the fact that it’s happening. We wish for things to be like they were last month, or we long for the pace we had during vacation. By not being present to the here and now, we drain our energy by ruminating on the situation. In fact, physicists define resistance as “the degree to which a

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