Conjunction Junction – What’s your function?

I received a call from a friend the other day seeking some guidance.  He’s newly unemployed and we were discussing his options.  He said, “I’ve never really been in this position before… not sure if I should start something on my own or if I should go back and take up a new job?” In the midst of the conversation, my mind froze!  There it was!  The infamous grammatical conjunction that stops us in our proverbial tracks almost every time we use it.  Can you guess which word I’m referring to?  It’s the word, “OR”.  Don’t get me wrong… the word ‘or’ can be critical at times when faced with the difficult decision of choosing between the lesser of two evils.  For example, would you like to be audited by the IRS or spend a week with your mother-in-law?  Depending on your circumstances… the IRS may not seem so bad! Continue reading “Conjunction Junction – What’s your function?”

Employees First, Customers Second

It absolutely goes without say that today’s business environment is ultra-competitive.  Over time, brick-and-mortar evolved to click-and-mortar which essentially leveled the competitive playing field.  Today, your new competitors may not only be located around the corner or in the next town over, but half the way around the world!  In fact, technology advancements have created the new “self-serve” business models whereby customers no longer need to interact with an employee to seek out what they are looking for.  For example, do you need a customer service rep to help you open a new account on Facebook or Twitter… or hundreds of other companies online? Continue reading “Employees First, Customers Second”

Entrepreneurs Wanted – Apply Within

You may have heard about StartupVisa – a movement that seeks to change the current EB-5 visa (immigrant investor) guidelines. To summarize, “Under the proposed legislation, instead of the visa going to an investor, a startup company founder or entrepreneur who receives a minimum equity investment of $250,000 could qualify as an EB-5 visa recipient.  At least $100,000 would have to come from a sponsoring US investing entity.”  To say that this movement is critical to the entrepreneurial and further economic development of the US would be an understatement! Continue reading “Entrepreneurs Wanted – Apply Within”

Communication – 101

After having worked in both the entrepreneurial and corporate worlds, I’ve realized the value of communication and its direct relationship to being successful. Below, are some tips that I’ve collected over the years that could prove beneficial to you too. Continue reading “Communication – 101”

The Power of the Network!

The “Social” Network (no reference to the movie!) is, and will always remain, the most powerful yet most underutilized network known to mankind!  And today, more than ever before, it’s become the most important network you need to actively participate in!  It not only has tremendous utilitarian benefits but its new social benefits are incredibly persuasive in this digital age.  Nowadays, the more people you know, your ability to influence becomes greater because you have a semi-captive audience that’s ready to listen.  Think about it… who’s potentially got more leverage – the person with 100 Facebook friends or the one with 5,000?  As the world becomes flatter, your ability to stand out from rest of the pack becomes more challenging and requires a new strategy and subsequent tactics.  Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide – do you want to be a big fish in a small pond or a whale in that same small pond?  I don’t know about you, but you can call me Orca! Continue reading “The Power of the Network!”

So you want to be a VC, eh? (Part 3)

If you take but one thing away from these posts, let it be this:  venture capital is a tough business to get in, be in and stay in. During 2009, the VC industry continued the downsizing that became very visible in mid-2008.  While the global economic issues that surfaced in 2008 (e.g. banking meltdown, subprime market, global economic recession) accelerated the decline and definitely added stresses to the industry, this resizing is a function of the technology bubble bursting several years earlier – also known as the “dot com to dot gone” era.  With many firms that raised money during the bubble unable to raise new funds at this time, a further decline in the number of firms is likely.  While fund raising and investment entered a new range, IPO activity remained at a mere trickle and the acquisition exit marketplace declined both in quantity and quality. Continue reading “So you want to be a VC, eh? (Part 3)”

So you want to be a VC, eh? (Part 2)

So, you still want to be a VC, eh?  I don’t blame you… besides the challenges getting started, venture capital is exciting and provides a level of exposure, both technologically and business-wise, that is hard to match.  And look at some the new friends you get to make… Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Marc Pincus (Zynga), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Biz/Ev (Twitter)… you get the point. Continue reading “So you want to be a VC, eh? (Part 2)”

So you want to be a VC, eh? (Part 1)

So, you want to be a venture capitalist, eh?  Why not?  It just sounds cool, right?  Imagine you’re at a typical Silicon Valley meet-up or in your social circle – usually, everyone around you is an “engineer” but you respond with, “I’m a VC!”  All of a sudden, you’ve just moved up their speed dial and your personal stock skyrockets because you have everyone’s attention!  Look at some of the perks associated with being a VC: you have the potential of doing well financially; you can meet some of the brightest minds with amazing ideas that are about to change the world; you can become part of that elite Silicon Valley (and now Silicon Alley, NYC) group like Jim Breyer, Ron Conway, John Doerr and Fred Wilson; you can ‘get in the know’ about what’s happening, and most importantly, be a part of something that can change the entire landscape of how we technologically live our lives!  After hearing all of this, the question could easily change from “why do you want to be a VC?” to “why would you not want to be a VC?”, right?  Ready to sign up?  Slow your roll homeboy… it’s not as easy as you think! Continue reading “So you want to be a VC, eh? (Part 1)”

Whatever, Mr. Know-It-All…

“That’s the problems with kids today… they think they know everything!”  Where haven’t you heard that before? Unfortunately, it’s true!  I think what I find most enjoyable about getting older is that I realize at 36, I still don’t know that much.  Looking back however, one thing is for sure; at 22 I didn’t know anything that I thought I knew – period! Continue reading “Whatever, Mr. Know-It-All…”