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Fantasy Portfolio – Uber

I wrote a couple months ago about my fantasy startup stock portfolio and am finally getting the follow-up posts published. The list in my portfolio include Robinhood – Twilio –Sendgrid – Fitbit – & – Uber I am starting to think Uberconference may be a close second and SendHub is starting to get on my radar as a result of Uberconference. Both are worth more exploration. Let me dig into one in the portfolio though – Uber. If you haven’t used Uber yet it is definitely worth a try. Aswath Damodaran’s valuation in his post Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble: The Costs and Benefits of Market Timing Bill Gurley (Uber investor) attempts to refute Damodaran with an equally long read and important criticism of where models fall apart in his post How to Miss By … Read entire article »

Filed under: Investing

Letters to my kids – Professional opportunities

Eleventh in the series – letters to my kids… Hey guys, Been a while since I sent you a note, but I saw this and immediately thought about sharing with you. I know you have a while to really worry about this one – but you should be saving all of these little notes I send you… you are saving them right? The whole startup vs. corporate life thing is an interesting thing. I too have worked at both startups and corporations and I got into a long conversation about some of that experience last night with your Mom. We were talking about the difference the team makes and it depends a lot on whether or not you’re the smartest person on the team. I guess someone has to be the smartest person … Read entire article »

Filed under: career

The PreMoney Conference

I thought about trying to make it down to the bay area for Dave McClure’s PreMoney conference. I had heard great things about it and the lineup looked rather appealing. I came up with all sorts of excuses and didn’t go – instead I followed the livestream, tweetstream, and of course the slideshare. I made note that I should definitely be there next year as the quality of the presentations was high and the attendance was interesting. I won’t go into depth and pretend I learned a lot because I wasn’t there, I’ll let you grab the slides and dig through the tweets yourself. A few that I pulled out that I thought were particular interesting though included… Don’t quickly dismiss things that look like toys, look for compounding fast growth even … Read entire article »

Filed under: Investing

Organizational grape theory

I don’t know about you, but when I get some grapes I usually let them sit in the bag for a while and just through out the bad ones as I see them. Occasionally everyone in the family slows down their grape consumption and then I know it is time to clean them up a bit and present them in a nice bowl so that they get eaten. So I spend five minutes and get out the grapes and run some water in the sink. Then I go through the process of picking out each of the little branches in the bag and run them under the water kind of rubbing the grapes together and a bunch fall off right away. Usually the bad grapes are the first to go … Read entire article »

Filed under: career

It doesn’t get better than American Apparel

If you ever wondered where some of these crazy stories come from about visionary founders who are just so over the top it takes a special kind of board to keep them on for the long run or wondered what happened when the visionary founder’s other habits interfere with their ability to stay on as CEO, this story about American Apparel is an amazing exampled. Full disclosure I am long the stock – in part because of the visionary founder. Where did it start? Well American Apparel $APP is in the clothing business, cheaply made cloths that have high turnover rates allow for quickly adaptations to styles – faster than anyone else. This makes perfect sense of course. The problem is that most retail chains aren’t fully integrated where manufacturing, distribution, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Investing

Doctors are better growth hackers than you

With growth hacking poised to be the word of the year (now that Microsoft is sort of taking it over and coming up with their own definitions)… I was wondering about the best ways to learn to be a growth hacker. There is the Microsoft interpretation of growth hacking and the rest of the world’s interpretation (as led by Sean Ellis). Those are all great and I hope that Microsoft can avoid varying too much in their definition of growth hacker from what everyone else in the industry is using as a definition. If you are a Microsoft person or really anyone else in corporate America and are trying to wrap your head around what the heck a growth hacker really is, I like this description Brian Balfour the best – … Read entire article »

Filed under: Technology

Perceptions of failure

I recently had a conversation about failure that struck me as particularly odd and out of context. It was a conversation around the perception and culture of failure. There were a few things in it that really got me thinking about how culture and now the media play into our perception of failure. Then I came across this great post by Brad Feld on what’s next after failure and couldn’t resist writing a little more on the topic. I’ve had a number of failures myself (some like those Brad discusses in his post and some that are completely different) – three failed startups, one failed marriage, many failed projects, been sued and won for crap I didn’t do, and so on. What is similar about all of them is that they … Read entire article »

Filed under: career, Entrepreneurship

3 things for aspiring entrepreneurs

We have something special here in Seattle in the form of Madrona’s Julie Sandler. Usually I try to summarize videos with words or expand on things with my own thoughts and insights. The truth is – you should spend the 8.5 minutes to watch this video. In the roughly 60-120 minutes you spend today on consuming content of all sorts – this message is worth the whole amount but it is done in just 8.5 short minutes. Share it with your kids and grand-kids, send it to your friends, and take the message to heart yourself. We Day Speech – Julie Sandler from Madrona Venture Group on Vimeo. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Entrepreneurship