Archive | March, 2012

5 “Jobs Act” Takeaways!

30 Mar

The Top Five Takeaways-

1) Among other provisions, the bill does away with the ban on so-called “general solicitation” — the idea that a company can’t advertise itself to investors. If it is signed into law, start-ups would be able to announce their fundraising intentions to venture capitalists.

2) Allows start-ups to pursue crowd- funding. They can raise up to $1million with a business plan and $2 million if they provide audited financial statements. Investors with incomes or net worth below $100,000 would be restricted to putting up just 5% of their annual income, up to $2,000. The cap for wealthier investors is 10% of their income or net worth, to a maximum of $100,000

3) The JOBS Act includes other measures that would loosen regulatory requirements for smaller companies seeking to go public, creating a new classification called “emerging growth companies.” For companies with less than $1 billion in revenue, the number of audited financial statements required for an IPO would be reduced, and those companies would be exempted from having to hire an external auditor prior to the offering.

4) Furthermore, it provides for “mini” public offerings, under which companies raising $50 million or less would not be held to some of the financial disclosure requirements that most publicly held companies are subject to.

5) The law also raises the limit on the number of shareholders a company can have before it must file financial statements with the SEC. That will enable profitable private companies such as Facebook to stay private longer if they choose. 500 to 2000 investors,

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/jobs-act-passes-case-any-time-theres-change-theres-going-to-be-concern/2012/03/27/gIQAJJheeS_story.html

Seth Godin- Pattern Up

30 Mar

Seth Godin  wrote an interesting blog post on pattern recognition and it really resonated with me;

Venture capital, marketing and pop culture are largely about pattern matching. Something happens, something else happens and it’s the beginning of a trend.

Some people (like Clive Davis and Fred Wilson, to pick two) see the trends before others, often without being able to verbalize them.

If you are around people who are able to understand these things before you are, it’s worthwhile to call yourself on it, and see if you can get into some discussions about what they see that you don’t. I get particularly restless if it’s obvious that there’s something going on but I can’t see it. I can’t move on until I see it too.

The more often you match patterns, the better you get. (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/03/i-dont-see-it.html)

It’s hard to imagine any one of us would be alive without an innate capability for pattern recognition.  Picture yourself driving in London and not being able to recognize the pattern of mini coopers driving on  “the wrong side of the road!”…Yikes! Speaking of foreign countries, travel  is one of the best tools for enhancing our ability to recognize new patterns.  Travel with Fred Wilson and your destined to enter soothsayer territory.

Office Gift For Aspiring Entreprenuers

29 Mar

A Startup Is a Temporary Organization Designed to Search for A Repeatable and Scalable Business Model

  1. There Are No Facts Inside Your Building, So Get Outside
  2. Pair Customer Development with Agile Development
  3. Failure is an Integral Part of the Search for the Business Model
  4. If You’re Afraid to Fail You’re Destined to Do So
  5. Iterations and Pivots are Driven by Insight
  6. Validate Your Hypotheses with Experiments
  7. Success Begins with Buy-In from Investors and Co-Founders
  8. No Business Plan Survives First Contact with Customers
  9. Not All Startups Are Alike
  10. Startup Metrics are Different from Existing Companies
  11. Agree on Market Type – It Changes Everything
  12. Fast, Fearless Decision-Making, Cycle Time, Speed and Tempo
  13. If it’s not About Passion, You’re Dead the Day You Opened your Doors
  14. Startup Titles and Functions Are Very Different from a Company’s
  15. Preserve Cash While Searching. After It’s Found, Spend
  16. Communicate and Share Learning
  17. Startups Demand Comfort with Chaos and Uncertainty

Get your print here- http://www.cafepress.com/nsficorps.632701449

(Via Steve Blank- http://steveblank.com/2012/03/29/nail-the-customer-development-manifesto/)

Meditation for start-ups?

26 Mar

Who knew… a recent forbes article documents the benefits of meditation to entrepreneurs.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2012/03/26/transcendental-meditation-good-for-oprah-and-start-ups/

I have been meditating here in Buffalo for the last few months with my spiritual guru Sandra- she has trained under monks in Tibet and the great Dali Lama himself. It is pretty amazing the high you can get when your in the zone meditating, very akin to a runners high. I get the sensation that endorphin’s are being released. On our first session, Sandra pulled one over on me- she said we will be meditating for 5 minuets and to close my eyes and begin. When time came she said slowly open your eyes and then asked me how long I thought it had been. I assumed it was around 5 minuets, but it had been close to a half hour!  It’s really hard to believe, but I somehow lost track of time…and was completely blown away by how long it had been.

I look forward to continuing my weekly sessions  and suggest it to anyone who is interested in relaxation techniques and cognitive enhancement.  I am going to ask our newest adviser at OnCore Golf, Jeff Herold, who has built one of the most successful businesses in the industry (Club Glove), if he would be willing to share his experience with meditation.

On a recent trip to Catalina Island, he claimed meditation changed his life. I was hoping for the better because this landing was no joke and Jeff was flying the plane.

Jeff and Me

So as you can imagine,  I am curious to get a more in depth look into what he’s talking about and plan on sharing his story with you soon.

Public Speaking (Paul Graham Style)

26 Mar

I posted a few days ago about my experience at Toastmasters, the public speaking club I joined, and recommended it to fellow entrepreneurs. Fittingly, I then read an interesting critique of the value of public speaking by world renowned entrepreneur and essayist Paul Graham- http://paulgraham.com/speak.html.

Paul posts these phenomenal business essays about once a month and they are usually way more involved than your typical blog post, and more insightful as well. I advise you to spend a few hours reading through his essays linked here –http://paulgraham.com/articles.html.

The gist of what Paul is saying about public speaking resonated deeply with me;

I’m not a very good speaker. I say “um” a lot. Sometimes I have to pause when I lose my train of thought. I wish I were a better speaker. But I don’t wish I were a better speaker like I wish I were a better writer. What I really want is to have good ideas, and that’s a much bigger part of being a good writer than being a good speaker.

Having good ideas is most of writing well. If you know what you’re talking about, you can say it in the plainest words and you’ll be perceived as having a good style. With speaking it’s the opposite: having good ideas is an alarmingly small component of being a good speaker.

I first noticed this at a conference several years ago. There was another speaker who was much better than me. He had all of us roaring with laughter. I seemed awkward and halting by comparison. Afterward I put my talk online like I usually do. As I was doing it I tried to imagine what a transcript of the other guy’s talk would be like, and it was only then I realized he hadn’t said very much.

Maybe this would have been obvious to someone who knew more about speaking, but it was a revelation to me how much less ideas mattered in speaking than writing.”

After reading this I immediately sent an email to my adviser in Toastmasters and demanded a response and full refund! Just kidding, but I did request a response, which I will post as soon as I receive it. I know for me the public speaking classes are about being able to clearly articulate myself and just plain facing a fear. If I can achieve both of these aims it will only enhance the content, so its simply additive and does not need to be regressive as Paul suggests.  I think he makes a valid point that we can not let content be subservient to the actual delivery of a speech. I am curious to hear your thoughts on Paul’s essay.

Quote

“In the early 1920s, thr…

26 Mar

“In the early 1920s, three hundred to five hundred automobile companies existed in the United States; by 1960, only four of them remained.”

The Innovators Cookbook, by Steven Johnson

Toastmasters

24 Mar

As an entrepreneur trying to raise capital- public speaking skills are  a must. The good thing is you will have plenty of opportunities to hone your skills. Even if your idea is so great that the first person you pitch funds your entire round, your still left with all those nagging reporters and public appearances.  As a founder, you are the face of your company, and it’s important you convey yourself professionally. Toastmasters is a great vehicle for improving your public speaking skills and after a few classes I can already tell its going to have a huge impact. It is a national organization and you should be able to find a local chapter within reach of you. You have the option to sit in on  a few meetings and see if its something that suits your needs before you decide to become a member. The membership fees are pretty reasonable, $36 dollars for every 6 months.

http://www.toastmasters.org/

Toastmaster Champ, Craig Valentine (definitely worth watching!