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The Best Movies About Real Business, Not Hollywood’s Idea of Business

Eric Ries likes to asks audiences who has seen a movie about a startup.  Normally everyone has seen “The Social Network”. But, quoting a recent profile: “Perhaps Ries’ most important message was that the same democratization of entrepreneurship has been tied to a glorification of the profession. [...continue reading]

Design Your Company Culture Like The World’s Largest Hedge Fund

Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, is a man after my own heart.  A few years ago he publicly set down his core Principles for living, managing, and investing.  Bridgewater uses these codified rules for recruiting, training, and most important, managing the [...continue reading]

How To Pitch An Entrepreneur And Persuade Her To Take Your Cash

With the rise of a trillion-dollar crowdfunding market, angel investors bundling their investment offerings, and family offices doing more direct investments, venture capitalists are no longer the only available source for entrepreneurs seeking funding. Now that anyone can benefit from the global [...continue reading]

How and Why To Be an Angel Investor

Dave Kerpen, founder and CEO of Likeable Local, just published an interview with me on Linkedin, which I've included below .  (He's the #1 LinkedIn Influencer of all time in page views, ahead of Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Mark Cuban, and President Barack Obama.  Incidentally, this is a great example of [...continue reading]

How to Get World Class Experts to Support Your Company

As the former CEO of a professional expert network, I’m a firm believer in the value of speedy access to relevant experts.  I was excited to see that GLG (formerly Gerson Lehrman Group), the industry leader, is now offering a professional network service geared to the needs of the startup community: [...continue reading]

The Real Reasons Adults Love To Give Kids Sugar

The world rains sugar on my children. The bus driver offers my child bubble gum. The teachers offer a cupcake for every birthday party. The school vending machine is full of junk food; so is the one at the Y. At camp, the counselors offer candy and a freeze pop at the end of the day..and [...continue reading]

You Are Leaving Money On The Table: The Secrets Of Pricing

Oscar Wilde said that a cynic is a “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” A startup CEO should know both. One of the most powerful levers a CEO has to impact profitability is pricing. Typically, a 1% price increase has more than twice the impact on profit of a 1% [...continue reading]

How To Disrupt The Investing Business, With Katina Stefanova (Ex-Bridgewater Management Committee)

I had a conversation recently about the investing business with Katina Stefanova, who recently left Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund in the world. I’ve always had great respect for Bridgewater, which unlike most investing organizations realizes just how critical processes and culture are to [...continue reading]

Why Are Venture Capitalists (76% White Men) Ignoring The Future?

Why do so many venture capitalists ignore the single best predictor of the future: demographics? Paul Graham, cofounder of Y Combinator, observes, “Many suspect that venture capital firms are biased against female founders. This would be easy to detect: among their portfolio companies, do startups [...continue reading]

Why Some Investors Are Happy with Lousy Returns

My recent post on “Asset Management is a Peculiar Industry Ripe for Disruption” got one of the most interesting reactions I’ve received.  Among the more thoughtful respondents was Terri Chernick, Chief Investment Officer, The Koffler Group.  We had an email conversation about the rationality, or [...continue reading]

Where are the Deals? How VCs Identify the Next Generation of Winning Companies

You’ve probably read dozens of articles about how to raise capital from venture capitalists. However, as a VC, we have the opposite problem: how do we find companies in which to invest? It might appear that origination is becoming much easier because of new tools like AngelList and the SEC moving [...continue reading]

Asset Management Is a Peculiar Industry Ripe for Disruption

Since I became an institutional investor, my #1 learning is: this is a highly unusual and somewhat baffling industry.  Asset management shows the traditional earmarks of an industry ripe for disruption -- most obviously, unhappy customers and extremely profitable incumbents.  Despite this, it’s [...continue reading]

ff Venture Capital Is First VC Fund To Raise Capital Under The JOBS Act

ff Venture Capital has consistently generated a gross IRR on invested capital in excess of 30%, in a world where the average ten-year returns for venture capital firms are in the single digits.   But, historically we couldn’t say that it in a public setting.  Now we can. Software is eating every [...continue reading]

How To Hire An Outsourced Web Designer And Survive The Process

Last week I had a chance to interview Kyle Stalzer, President at Tackk (a portfolio company of my firm, ff Venture Capital), about an issue that’s top of mind for a lot of our companies: How to Recruit an A-Quality Designer for Your Company.  This week, I’ll discuss the second-choice alternative: [...continue reading]