Jocko and Startups: Default Aggressive.

[There are countless obvious lessons from Jocko's books and podcasts that apply to all people and all companies. Here are some insights that might be less obvious from the last #muster.] Some VCs talk about startups needing to be paranoid, with an obsessive attention to what is going on in the environment around them. I … Continue reading Jocko and Startups: Default Aggressive.

The Future of IT: The Next Five Years.

Enterprise CTOs or CIOs often ask me about how IT will change in the future, about the "Disruption of Technology in 3-5 years". Most CTOs and CIOs realize that that is primarily a strategic question rather than a question about a certain vendor or technology. I usually explore the specific challenges together with the executive … Continue reading The Future of IT: The Next Five Years.

Datasets for Public Companies with Negative EBITDA or Net Income

After the last blog post (Startups: Don't compete on "nimble" and "cash burn.") I got a lot of questions on how to look at these public companies with negative EBITDA or negative Net Income. Here are some ideas. Dataset 1: Public Companies with Negative EBITDA Some companies have a negative EBITDA, but massive revenue growth, … Continue reading Datasets for Public Companies with Negative EBITDA or Net Income

Startups: Don’t compete on “nimble” and “cash burn”.

Fifteen years ago I was sitting on a panel with senior executives of large enterprises. We were discussing how startups, with their limited resources, are competing against established, well-funded public enterprises. A Corporate R&D executive of a public company quipped: Publicly traded companies usually can't afford to lose money. Internet companies and startups can, at … Continue reading Startups: Don’t compete on “nimble” and “cash burn”.

What’s Hard and What’s Not as a VC.

I often ask entrepreneurs during pitches "What's hard to make this a successful company?" I am particular about this one.  I am not asking "what's difficult." Difficult is fundraising, hiring great people, finding customers, making customers pay on time, getting renewals, opening a new office, etc. "What's Hard" is something that hopefully the entrepreneurs are better … Continue reading What’s Hard and What’s Not as a VC.

Digital Transformation Strategy — You Don’t Need One.

I talk a lot with very large enterprises in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.  Sometimes they have a question regarding their IT infrastructure, sometimes they want to hear about shifts in industry trends (few of them want to hear 'trends in the Silicon Valley,' thank god!). Sooner or later they tell me about their digital … Continue reading Digital Transformation Strategy — You Don’t Need One.

Your fiercest Competition is your VCs’ Other Portfolio Companies.

If you believe you have a great startup, then I hope you have a great product. And, naturally, you will have competition. Gartner is not going to create a magic quadrant for a new huge market with only a single company in it.  Your product should be awesome. You should strive to find product-market-fit fast. … Continue reading Your fiercest Competition is your VCs’ Other Portfolio Companies.

Negotiations: Focus on What You Don’t Know.

I remember one sentence from the many books I read while doing business in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia: Your relative power in a negotiation is your capacity to use resources to influence another’s circumstances. In 1962, Richard Emerson published Power-Dependence Relations. I found that Richard's focus on "In how many ways can I demonstrate my … Continue reading Negotiations: Focus on What You Don’t Know.

Bring me Problems.

The management-craze of "bring me solutions" has gone too far. I recently met with two spin-out teams of enterprises where the engineers and interim-CEO were scared to share any challenges or problems with corporate management because they were expected to be more "solutions-oriented." When I went back to one of the senior executives with a problem … Continue reading Bring me Problems.