Entrepreneurial Blind Spots

Everyone has a blind spot. When I work with entrepreneurs, it’s sometimes easy to see what their blind spot is.  It’s harder to recognize it in yourself.  You have to work to uncover them.  It’s important to do that, because you can round out your team with people who are strong in things you are weak.

Often when I ask entrepreneurs who are engineering focused what they are going to do next they tell me about all the different engineering things they will be doing.  New websites.  New features inside a product.  A new engineering wrinkle that is cutting edge or current in the main stream VC world.   They think that will increase their valuation and allow them to raise money easier.

What they forget about is the customer might not need or want it.

Other entrepreneurs that aren’t technically focused turn their attention to their strengths.  If a Continue reading "Entrepreneurial Blind Spots"

Do You Seed/Angel Invest For Wealth Accumulation? Or Not?

Have been reading Jason Calcanis book, Angel, lately.  I haven’t finished it. I plan on finishing it in the next couple of weeks and will write a review then.  Today, I caught the end of a Facebook Live gig, This Week In Startups, that he did.  Jason has an enviable track record of investing in seed stage startups. One thing that Jason talks about when discussing the process of angel investing is wealth accumulation.  By the way when I describe it as a process, I want to be clear that it is.  If you aren’t using some process, you are throwing dice.  Being a successful early stage investor is a lot of work.  It’s also a little bit of luck.  You never know who is going to hit it big and who is going to go down. Jason and I might differ on wealth accumulation as it relates to early stage Continue reading "Do You Seed/Angel Invest For Wealth Accumulation? Or Not?"

This Law Is Going to Change

There was no way that I was ever going to law school.  It just wasn’t for me. In high school, I thought about it but knowing the lawyers I know I don’t think I would have enjoyed the occupation.  Some friends of mine tell me to tell people never go to law school. I am pretty good friends with some law professors who teach at top schools.  It’s interesting speaking with them and listening to them.  Glenn Reynolds has opined quite often about how law schools are but one part of the education monolith that will implode. Law school remains.  It’s a skill.  It’s a certification. My wife drew my attention to a couple of articles about law school that were really interesting.  One is from Stanford.  Stanford is immersed in Silicon Valley and innovation.  One would think that the startup culture would rub off on Stanford Law and Continue reading "This Law Is Going to Change"

Schlep.it A Pretty Cool App

I have a lot of spinning plates in my life right now.  I am rehabbing a place 10 hours away.  I bought a small place in Lincoln Park and I am moving.  All at the same time.  Over the past several years, I have acquired a bunch of storage lockers.  The goal for this summer was to go down to 1. Yesterday was crazy.  My new Lincoln Park place had a cruddy stove in it. I found a beautiful used Dacor but it was up in Milwaukie.  I rented a trailer in Milwaukie and drove it down to Chicago.  While I was driving, I got an email telling me a person wanted to meet me in Winfield, IL to buy an antique shuffleboard I had been storing.  There is also a lot of outdoor furniture in that locker that is going up north. This shuffleboard had been in my wife’s Continue reading "Schlep.it A Pretty Cool App"

Bitcoin is a Teeny Market

One of the things that people trading Bitcoin think is that it’s a huge market.  They look at all the notional volume, the ICO’s and all the press and confirmation bias skews their thinking.  I got news for you, it’s teeny.  Not just teeny.  When it comes to bigger markets out there, Bitcoin is a pimple on their ass. I want to be clear.  I am bullish bitcoin long term. I was a part of one of the original blockchains. A commodity clearinghouse was a private blockchain.  The other day I blogged about how CME should do an ICO. Here is some data. One Bitcoin is worth $2700.  It got hit a bit yesterday.  If I want to move a billion dollars worth of bitcoin, what will happen? Suppose I want to move a billion euros?  I know I can do that with nary a ripple.  How about Eurodollars?  1
Continue reading "Bitcoin is a Teeny Market"

Does Cheap Office Space Matter?

Our mayor in Chicago is starting a program to offer cheap office space to startups in order to entice them to locate here.   The co-work spaces participating are great spaces. If you are a startup, you’d like working there. I remember an interview I saw with Social+Capital VC Chamath Palihapitiya about the rising fixed costs of startups in Silicon Valley. Chamath said, “I don’t want to invest a bunch of money just so real estate brokers get rich.”  Funny, but there is some truth behind that statement.  Real estate costs in the Bay area are painfully high. In Chicago, the cost of real estate is pretty reasonable compared to both coasts. I am always encouraged when local politicians lend their vocal support to the startup community.  They can be the best salespeople sometimes.  Mayor Emanuel has been a big backer of the local tech community.  Mayor Emanuel’s retiring
Continue reading "Does Cheap Office Space Matter?"

Need Some Office Space?

One of the companies I invested in when I was doing angel investing was Build Truss.  They have an awesome team.  They are tackling a thorny problem.  CRE agents have no interest in leasing out spaces less than 20k square feet.  Just no money in it.  Building owners that have smaller spaces have trouble leasing them. Enter Truss. They have an amazingly efficient platform for search. Already in Chicago and Dallas they dominate.  The cool thing is they help the CRE brokers by putting everything in one place along with paying commissions.  They make it so no one wastes time. For businesses looking at space, it’s super frustrating. It takes time.  It takes negotiation skill.  It is just a royal pain in the ass.  I know from experiences with different startups I have been exposed to, the market for space just isn’t very efficient when you are looking for small Continue reading "Need Some Office Space?"