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Lucky Investments

Luck is an important component of investment… mostly because there are so many brilliant investors out there! This is an interesting perspective that essentially boils down to a few key points… There are a lot of really skillful investors out there If you aren’t one of those skilled investors you are at a disadvantage when it comes to investing Amongst skilled investors, there is a bit of luck that comes into play (considering the skilled investors are competing against each other) Unskilled investors are better to invest in an index and not touch their funds (don’t pull out and put in because that is essentially dumb money)   Interestingly, this is for the public markets and I suspect there is a direct correlation to the private markets (with the exception that there is no easy “index” fund … Read entire article »

Filed under: Investing

Understanding the problem

Amazing that it has taken over ten years to be diagnosed with Complex regional pain syndrome. I’ve been to see physicians, neurologists, hand surgeons, acupuncturists, pain therapists, and a long list of them at that. Most have told me that my pain sounds like it sucks and that they don’t know what to do about it or who to refer me to to get treatment. For anyone claiming that our medical system in the United States was good before the ACA… I have news for you – it isn’t. It Fucking Sucks! Some of you may remember my posts from a few years ago when Dr. Jerry Huang performed surgery on my arm to try and alleviate the ongoing pain. Reading through those posts now make me so angry and frustrated. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Innovation, Investing

Pitching angel groups

We are coming into the semi-finals at the 5th Seattle Angel Conference and will soon be getting ready to write a big check (May 22nd is the day of the big conference at the HUB in Seattle). This week and next we’ll be hearing from the top twelve teams pitch our group of angel investors as we try to refine the list of semi-finalists to a list of six finalists. We’re a diverse group of angel investors who are collectively trying to allocate the sum of our group’s investment dollars. This approach to angel investing is somewhat unique where the dollars are committed up front and who gets the dollars is determined at the end. One great thing it does for the entrepreneurs is that it puts some parameters around the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Entrepreneurship

Engaging with angel investors

I went to the MIT Enterprise Northwest event “Meet the Angels” last night and there was a lot of great conversation from the leaders of the local angel groups in Seattle. Most of you know I’ve been interviewing angel investors all over about how they angel invest for my upcoming book. The interviews have been great and have given me a new lens to view the comments from sessions like this. I hope that when the book is available it will help you to develop a new lens to look at angel investing as well. One point at the event that caught my attention was the drastic difference of opinion about online angel platforms such as Angel List and FoundersClub. It was like someone farted on stage and everyone was pushing … Read entire article »

Filed under: Entrepreneurship, Investing

Being in Beijing

I was lucky enough to be the traveling spouse on my wife’s recent trip to Beijing. It was her third trip to Asia for work and second to China. It was the first for both of us to be in Beijing though and I took the opportunity to spend some time vacationing and working. We were incredibly lucky to have flexible work schedules to allow this to happen as well as an incredibly supportive family to keep our rigorous home life moving with Robin and I out of the country… seriously I put together a huge spreadsheet outlining the crazy schedule we somehow keep every week with four different sporting activities, tutoring, music, school, and other family commitments. I was exhausted just making the spreadsheet let alone doing it every … Read entire article »

Filed under: Entrepreneurship, Innovation

Analyzing global culture

I often hear entrepreneurs talking about bringing a product from one market to another market under the assumption that the cultural drivers to adoption are the same in multiple geographies. Sometimes this is true and other times it isn’t true. When I hear these pitches I always try to dig in to find what core assumptions are being made (there usually are some big ones). Then I can try to understand what the entrepreneur knows and doesn’t know about those assumptions and can see if they know enough to make me believe them. Here are a couple of examples to think about in this space if you find yourself thinking about a company trying to do this. After the WhatsApp acquisition there has been a lot of focus on mobile messaging … Read entire article »

Filed under: Investing, Technology

Investing Lessons from Mohnish Pabrai

Here is a great video from a Mohnish Pabrai (author of The Dhando Investor) presentation at Boston College from November 2013. It is sort of long at 1hr 53min. It is definitely well worth the time. One of the things that Mohnish talks about is doing all of his own research. I’ve provided my notes here from the video – but you should watch the video (a.k.a. do your own research). Interesting insights from Mohnish Do your own research – If you invest in ideas that you have not fully researched, you may fall into investments that are outside of your circle of competence. It is interesting that Mohnish says you shouldn’t hire analysts and you should do your own research and then readily explains how he uses Warren Buffett and Berkshire … Read entire article »

Filed under: Investing

The Success Matrix

As many of my readers are aware I’ve been doing a lot of angel interviews lately and talking to a lot of people about content for my upcoming book on angel investing. That has led to a number of reviews of pre-release books that I’ll comment on here and may also comment on over at GoodReads and/or Amazon. There is a lot of great stuff out there and all writers should be readers. I was a little skeptical about The Success Matrix at first, Gerry sent me a pre-release copy after we met at an event. The book is only 150 pages and a little bigger than a 5×7 photograph in size. Keep in mind, Gerry is a managing director at OVP (one of the oldest venture firms in the Pacific … Read entire article »

Filed under: career