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Best of Bootstrapping: Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars – Go as Kings

Posted on Friday, Feb 1st 2019

Negotiation is a straightforward game. You can only negotiate if you have options.

A long time ago, when I was a young entrepreneur making my way in Silicon Valley, I found myself at the mercy of people who knew I had no option.

I did not have a Green Card.

My negotiating leverage was limited, almost non-existent.

And people took advantage of me.

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Best of Bootstrapping: How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently?

Posted on Friday, Jan 25th 2019

Let me start with a quote from Marc Andreessen:

“At our venture capital firm we only invest in a sort of Silicon Valley–style tech. We see 3,000 inbound deals a year. And those are inbound and coming through our referral network, so those are sort of prequalified. We can do maybe 15 or 20 investments out of the 3,000 a year. So I like to say our day job is crushing entrepreneurs’ hopes and dreams. Our main skill is saying no, and getting people to not hate us.”
Source: Inside the mind of Marc Andreessen – Fortune Management

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Best of Bootstrapping: Why is Bootstrapping Important?

Posted on Friday, Jan 18th 2019

Over the last decade and more, I’ve had the privilege of working with a large number of bootstrapped entrepreneurs. These include self-financed companies and also modestly capitalized startups that operate in a capital-efficient manner applying the principles of bootstrapping. [You can review my Bootstrapping course on LinkedIn to recap these.]

For our Seed Capital series of podcasts and blog interviews, I’ve interviewed hundreds of investors, especially micro-VCs and angels who are playing and important role in the early stage game.

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Man and Superman: Augmentation of the Human Brain

Posted on Friday, Jan 18th 2019

As automation devastates the fundamental economic model of the human civilization, we are faced with the option of augmenting the human brain such that ALL unskilled, low-IQ humans become upgraded.

I wrote on this topic last year: Man and Superman: Can Displaced Blue Collar Workers Become Doctors?

Since then, Elon Musk has made public statements about Neuralink, his venture to connect the human brain to computers.

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Best of Bootstrapping: Bootstrapping to an Exit

Posted on Monday, Jan 7th 2019

Over the last decade and more, I’ve had the privilege of working with a large number of bootstrapped entrepreneurs. These include self-financed companies and also modestly capitalized startups that operate in a capital-efficient manner applying the principles of bootstrapping. [You can review my Bootstrapping course on LinkedIn to review these.]

For our Seed Capital series of podcasts and blog interviews, I’ve interviewed hundreds of investors, especially micro-VCs and angels who are playing in the early stage game.

I’ve asked all of them the following questions:

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How Can We Continue to Use Facebook Without Facebook Manipulating Us?

Posted on Thursday, Dec 20th 2018

The media is currently rife with articles about Facebook’s various nefarious practices and sinister violations of user privacy. Against that backdrop, I would like to invite my readers to a slightly different discussion: How can we use Facebook without Facebook manipulating us?

I am interested in continuing to use Facebook. In various ways, I find the platform useful. However, I have never been big into sharing a lot of personal details on Facebook. You won’t find my birthday listed on the platform, so I do not receive thousands of birthday wishes from random followers. I don’t post a lot of family photos. I will, however, share with you how I use Facebook and my thinking behind those usage models. I am very interested in learning how each of you are using Facebook, what experiments you have conducted, and what conclusions you have drawn.

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A Meditation on Gratitude

Posted on Monday, Nov 19th 2018

It is Thanksgiving 2018.

I have lived a fair bit of life already.
I have observed a fair display of human drama.

A few thoughts come to mind, as I sit down to write this piece.

When I was young, I used to think bad things happen to other people.

I don’t think that anymore.

Plenty of bad things have happened to us.

So, in theory, more can happen.

I certainly do not feel entitled to a no-adversity existence.

But I make it a point to focus on all the things that make my life wonderful.

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15 Questions for Managers of Technology Startup Accelerators

Posted on Monday, Sep 17th 2018

On August 23, 2013, my Harvard Business Review article, The Problem with Incubators and How to Solve Them, was published. At the time, there were 7,500 incubators and accelerators in the market.

There is a very real knowledge gap in the early stage start-up game, on both sides of the table. First-time entrepreneurs lack the seasoning to captain a steady ship through turbulent waters. Inexperienced friends and family (and, increasingly, crowdsourced investors) lack the ability to gauge the viability of a business, or to mentor naïve entrepreneurs.

This knowledge gap, I have come to believe, is best filled by savvy incubators. However, there are over 7,500 business incubators around the world. Most of them fail.

I don’t know what the number is today. I do know that the phenomenon has now spread globally.

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