I am most engaged, satisfied and passionate when I am getting my hands and mind dirty knee deep in the active creation process. It’s a risky, chaotic, intuitive process. Both in business and in life there are two differing positions that you can be in. Hands dirty and knee deep in it creating Or hands-off above it all doing the minding Both have incredible value, both are needed and can provide satisfaction and quality. I know many great people who are exceptional at the hands-off, above the fray minding level. I’m not one of them. I’m a hands dirty, get in there and literally create things kind of person. it doesn’t always have to be physical creation, but it must involve creating. David Maister wrote a classic treatise on Managing The Professional Service Firm. In this book Maister outlines a simple concept postulating that in business there are basically three types of people and roles. Finders (leaders, idea and product creators, rainmakers etc) Minders (managers, builders, operation management, accounting etc) Grinders (Doers, the more technical work, contributors) I have always wished that i was a better minder. Successful entrepreneurs tend to be exceptional finders and strong grinders and hire Continue reading Hands Dirty and Knee Deep in the Messy, Risky Act of Creation
There is a great deal of myth and legend surrounding the idea of entrepreneurs. Investors love entrepreneurs because we make them lots of money. Of course we lose them lots of money even more often. Employees love entrepreneurs because they create jobs and a culture that is inspiring and exciting. The media loves entrepreneurs because of all of the above and quite often the best and worst entrepreneurs make compelling stories. Stories sell. Entrepreneurs are not normal people. They don’t think like most other people. They don’t think like investors. The whole risk vs reward relationship is horribly skewed in their minds. Rewards burn brighter than the sun and eclipse most risks into dark, shapeless voids. To me the essence of an entrepreneur is questioning everything. Taking nothing for granted and constantly asking why. In today’s startup and entrepreneur obsessed culture there is a lot of founder worship and startup envy. I am at heart an entrepreneur, not because I have started five different companies and had 3 successful exits, but because when I get bit by the bug of a unique solution to a compelling problem I literally can not NOT do it. The bigger the obstacles the bigger Continue reading Can You Hire an Entrepreneur?
There is a mythos surrounding the perfect pitch in the tech startup world.The mythical elevator pitch that you can whip out in under 30 seconds for that rare life changing moment when instead of getting your ass kicked by Solange you find that your elevator car mate is Marc Andreesen. You have practiced and polished it to razor-sharp perfection. You have so many pitch perfect words poised to pounce that cougars cower in fear when you approach. (Axe doesn’t work on cougars) I was actually quite distressed by the whole Solange/Bey/Z situ – then this Geordi La Forge meme happened pic.twitter.com/7HEXq0dWes — Dan Carson (@ddancarson) May 13, 2014 Your pitch is tight, compelling, convincing, lust inspiring, forehead slapping perfection. Zero wasted words. Zero wasted time. Perfect product/market fit in less than 30 seconds. Although if it takes you the near eternity of 30 seconds to deliver your pitch in today’s market you are considered a dinosaur. The hot young hipsters are racing to perfect their one sentence perfect pitch. I’m not kidding. it’s a thing and they are dead serious. (And for the record I am very much in favor of this exercise as a tool to refine Continue reading The Perfect Pitch – Can You Really Get VC Laid In An Elevator?
My Wife Is An Entrepreneur. She is at least as batshit crazy as I am. Most of our life she has felt the need to be the grounding rod to my lighting storms of lunacy. She has, to date, failed at this. My utter lunacy and overwhelming propensity to leap before looking overwhelms all safeguards and damping engines. She has done a lot of different things in her life. Read about how awesomepants she is. She has been an employee, the boss, manager, cop, dancer, brewer and everything in between. You do what you gotta do. She has had two jobs in the year since we have been back in the US of A. Both are with great companies. The first one she had the boss from hell and had to leave. Her current one is far better and her boss is pretty good. But as all jobs there is stress and frustration (read meetings) and a whole lot of NOT doing, stalling, postponing, NOT deciding and the rest of indecision’s hellish minions. Today over sushi we were discussing ways she could overcome the inertia of indecision that weighs down the company (And so many other companies). I was acting like Continue reading All You Have To Do Is Think Like An Employee. (So We’re Screwed.)
A friend on twitter asked me this question: What venture would you start if money was no object? I thought about it and realized that money has never been the object of why I started a venture. It is ALWAYS the roadblock and the downfall, but has not yet ever been the object. The Why. So I changed the question to this one: If money were BOTH: No object (roadblock) AND Not the objective What business would I start today? The answer is still none. Since money has never been my objective in starting a business then having all the money does not change the objective. And since, like most entrepreneurs, I have never let lack of money stop me from accomplishing a business idea; the idea that money was the roadblock is somewhat weird to me. People have always asked me how we do the things we do business wise with no money. I always say i don’t know. We just do. You do what needs to be done and you create the resources and skill out of thin air. This is not to say that I have not done things for lack of money, because I have hundreds of Continue reading If Money Is Not the Object, What Is?