The Last Mile in Rural Tech

Over the course of the last ten years, I have spent a lot of time in rural Midwestern and Southern America.  When we drive through small towns, we always wonder what the heck people do there to exist.  Many of those small towns were “factory” towns.  When the factories left the towns were devastated. Another thing we have noticed is that rural areas are experiencing some of the exact same problems inner cities are. Drugs, out of wedlock babies, depression.  It’s real.  At least in the city, you can go to a library.  You can go and get a job by walking somewhere.  You have more of a chance in the city than you do in a remote rural area. The Illinois Policy Institute has been running a series called “Forgotten Illinois”.  It profiles various areas of Illinois that are struggling.  They have been neglected.  Government isn’t going to provide Continue reading "The Last Mile in Rural Tech"

What Makes You Happy? Experiences.

As an alum of Chicago Booth, I look forward to reading their magazine.  It has an article or five I always find interesting.  I tore one below out and wanted to blog about it. The study is “Cultivating Gratitude and Giving Through Experiential Consumption” by Jesse Walker, Amit Kumar, and Thomas Gilovich.  Buying experiences makes you more generous.  You know where you can do that? If you are a business, Kapow. In my own family, we quit giving material gifts at Christmas years ago. Now we try to organize an experience.  Even if we stay home, we do the Carter 12 Days of Christmas.  We pick something to do in the city that we haven’t done before and do it together.  We find we remember the experiences a lot more an a gift.  I remember being in a warm rainstorm in the middle of a Balinese rice paddy with my
Continue reading "What Makes You Happy? Experiences."

Deliberative Practice and Grit

While on vacation, I read a couple of books.  One of them was Grit (which I still have to finish).  It’s a great book. I was intrigued because her initial research on grit was with West Point cadets. Since I was an Air Force cadet, I totally understood. I made it through BCT. The reasons I left had nothing to do with the process. It had to do with being stubborn. It had to do with a lot of other things that had nothing to do with the Academy. BCT wasn’t easy. But, I survived it and was accepted into the Cadet Wing. Angela also found that people who go to two-year colleges and finish usually have a lot of grit. 80% of people that go to a community college don’t go on to a four-year school and get a bachelors degree. I left USAFA and went to a two-year Continue reading "Deliberative Practice and Grit"

Accounting Versus Economics When It Comes to Tax Policy

Trump is moving ahead with his tax plan.  Strategically, it’s smart to do this now because everyone in America just paid taxes.  I guarantee that no one will report it correctly no matter what their political bias.  People look at tax cuts with the green eyeshade of an accountant.  What do I mean by that?  You will hear statements like, “How are you going to pay for that?”  Or, “This tax cut is paid for by cuts in X.” In budget math, it might be like this:   Last year, we had a tax rate of 35% and realized $XXXmm in revenue.  If we decrease the tax rate to 15%, we won’t realize the same amount of revenue.  The budget people just imply a 15% tax rate on the same numbers as the 35% tax rate.  On spending, they do the same thing. If something was budgeted to Continue reading "Accounting Versus Economics When It Comes to Tax Policy"

Financial Services Internet Security; What Should Be Your Concerns?

On May 15th with the cooperation of: West Loop Ventures is happy to host an event on Financial Technology Security.  It’s going to be at Illini Center in downtown Chicago.  We will convene on the 4th floor at 200 South Wacker at 4:30pm-6pm.  There is a small fee to cover some incidental expenses.  Sign up here.  Joe Rickard is the CTO of Incapital, and Stelios Valvanis is the CEO of OnShore Security.  They approach financial internet security from different angles.  Joe from an enterprise perspective.  Joe also has a unique problem because Incapital has a high profile CEO.  How do you keep your company secure?  Stelios looks at it from an institutional perspective.  How do you keep your bank and the banking system secure? You will be part of a lively discussion.  Joe and Stelios will Continue reading "Financial Services Internet Security; What Should Be Your Concerns?"

How Long For Robots?

Most of the stuff you read these days is all politics, even when it comes to real data. Here is an example. Recently, Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said it would be 50-100 years for robots. I’d love to see the data he’s looking at. Certainly, they’d like that to be true. Of course, they do have a lot of more pressing things on their plate right now like tax reform.  Here is the quote from the Axios story:

On AI supplanting human jobs: “it’s not even on our radar screen…. 50-100 more years” away. “I’m not worried at all” about robots displacing humans in the near future, he said, adding: “In fact I’m optimistic.”

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers wrote an article with a differing opinion.  Jeb Bush thinks it is imminent.  PWC says that 38% of all US jobs are subject to being disintermediated Continue reading "How Long For Robots?"

The Founder Equity Split

Michael Siebel of Y-Combinator wrote an excellent blog on equity splits among founders.  I love some of the points he made and they cannot be underestimated.  The conversation about splitting equity will help you have a conversation that helps founders learn about each other.

I find the “priced round” versus the SAFE or Convertible Debt round conversation is similar with entrepreneurs.

Brad Feld also has a nice post up about how to split equity and why.  In his book, Do More Faster, they talk about how to split founder equity. The post I linked to from Brad is from 2011.  Nothing has changed and it still can be a thorny issue.  I think Brad’s advice is right.  Invest the time needed to get the founder’s documents right.  It might be frustrating, and you might try and avoid it.  But, it’s important because it’s part of the foundation of the Continue reading "The Founder Equity Split"