A Business Idea You Can Steal – Radio Broadcasting

Periodically I post a business idea that I’d love someone to steal.  It’s usually something I would personal do if I had the time, talent, or knowledge.  But since I don’t, I hope to find someone who does, so I can fund them.

radio broadcast

This time, the business idea I’d like to fund is a radio broadcasting or podcasting for syndication.

Why Doing Nothing Is Good For Investing

In a world where we’re always on, doing nothing is sometimes the best thing an investor can do with his time.  Many top investors have been known for their almost isolationism.  Here’s why doing nothing is good for investing.

doing nothing is good

I once read an article about Tiger Woods, where he said he doesn’t remember most of his best golf shots.  He claims that he is at his best when he can turn his mind off and just let the training take over.  His body knows what to do, his mind just gets in the way.  The same could be said about investing.

The One Reason I’m Keeping Meerkat and Deleting Periscope

Meerkat might have been the biggest star of this year’s South By South West (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas.  Just as quickly as it grew, it began to fizzle when Twitter launched Periscope a few days ago.  It doesn’t matter to me, I’m sticking with Meerkat for one simple reason.

meerkat

Streaming through Twitter is a feature people have wanted for a while.  In January, Twitter purchased Periscope to bring the people what they wanted.  But Meerkat grabbed the first mover advantage by taking over SXSW.

How To Be A Visionary Leader

On Christmas night 1776, General George Washington visionary leadership carried his troops across the Delaware.  On the other side they faced an opponent far larger, and more skilled and warfare than they. 

visionary leadership

Michael Dell once arrived at a shareholders meeting wearing army fatigues.  He made a valid point.  The computer industry was warfare and he was planning to do battle. 

The Only Way To Keep Your Inbox Empty

The inbox is a never ending topic.  I’m convinced that I’ve finally found the only way to keep your inbox empty.  It’s so simple I almost can’t believe it works so well.

Inbox Zero

The inbox is an on-going debate.  The Today Show recently brought up the subject, so I thought I’d address it again.  It seems there are two classes of email users.  One class always has thousands in their inbox, the other has zero.

Advocating For Small Venture Capital

Bigger is not always better, that’s why I’m advocating for Small Venture Capital management firms.  Small, is a business model I’ve always liked.   Austin Ventures is proving that big might be bad for venture capital.

Small Venture Capital

I went to business school at Texas State University simply because their school focused on small business.  I’ve always been a big fan of small business.  It is my belief that the best “Big Businesses” run like they’re small businesses.

Berkshire Hathaway employs more than 300,000 people.  Their Omaha headquarters on the other hand, staffs only 23.  They run like a small business.

Steve Jobs once said of Apple, who employs more than 72,000, that they run like a start up.  Here is a video of Steve describing it himself.  He starts to describe it at the 2:00 mark.

I tweeted a link (see below) to an article in the Wall Street Journal about a company I’ve idolized for a while, Austin Ventures.  To add icing to the cake, it’s by one of my favorite editors at VentureWire, Russ Garland.

av tweet

Austin Ventures recently announced that they will not raise another seed fund.  Russ dove deeper.  The venture capital arena is vastly different than it was in 1999 and Austin Ventures is struggling to decide what their place is in this new arena.

I wrote about “pre-seed funds” last week.  Austin Ventures is feeling the crunch of these small firms getting in on the early action.  In 1999, Austin Ventures was the only place to get early stage capital in Austin.  Now, it is everywhere.  So where does that leave Austin Ventures?

I feel that their real issue is scale.  According to TechCrunch, Austin Ventures now has 20 members on staff, 15 of which are VCs.  They also have billions in funds.  By comparison, my favorite tech Venture Capital firm Union Square Ventures, has 6 VCs and only $1 billion.  Fred Wilson will admit, with the maturity of their funds, he spends more time in board meetings than he does finding new investments.

I really like Chris Pacitti’s new approach.  He’s working a pledge fund instead of a classic venture fund.  Rather than having hundreds of millions he HAS TO put to work, he has a very small venture capital fund that he only puts to work when his LPs like the idea.  This will allow him to operate a multi-billion dollar backed fund like it’s a small venture capital fund.

I love that he’s approaching Austin Venture’s woes by dialing back and operating like a small business again.  His approach is a creative way for a big business to operate like a small business.  I think this fund is going to be very successful.  I can’t wait to watch it work.

A Business Idea You Can Steal – Biometric Notary

Something new I’m going to begin doing on this blog is giving away my business ideas.  Sure you might steal them, in fact, I hope you do.  So here is my latest idea that I really would like to see flourish.

Biometrics

I’m giving away these ideas because they’re great ideas (at least I think so) but outside of my sphere of competence.  My hope in giving these ideas out is that someone out there with a different skill set than I will take the idea and make it into something.  All I ask for in exchange, is a chance to invest in you.

Is Pre-Seed Venture Capital A Smart Investment?

On Wednesday I tweeted a link to an article in the Wall Street Journal about Notation Capital.  They’re a Micro-VC fund that just raised $8 million to participate in pre-seed venture capital investments in New York City. 

pre-seed venture capital

There has been a recent spark in these types of funds but they make me curios about the end game.

Investing In Process Not Profits

Warren Buffett is notorious for buying a business, then leaving them alone for years.  This is not very typical in the investing world but it proves he is making sound investments.

Time Loop

I’ve seen many companies acquired in long drawn out legal jousting matches.  Pricing negotiations, conference calls, redlines, and hard nosed tactics are often the what goes into an acquisition.  But it shouldn’t be.

Easy Start-up Success

Today at lunch I had the privilege of hearing a remarkable success story of a guy who quit his job, started a business, and in only one year, is living his dream.  I wanted to share this story because it is the type of small business I love because it proves that anyone can quit their 9 to 5 and start something incredible.

Young City Professional Man Success

A little over a year ago this guy was tired of his job as an investment banker.  Imagine hearing people share with you their brilliant ideas, then you find them funding so they can go live it.  All the while, you want to quit your own job.  That was this guy’s story.

New Beginnings

Today I’m pleased to publicly announce my departure from Allied Equipment, Inc.  During the last eight years I helped grow the company’s revenue by 2350%.  That equates to tens of millions in new revenues.

Austin'S Congress Bridge

It was quite an impressive and fast paced run.  The company is poised to grow further, recently starting a new field services business.  Both their field services and engineering groups are lead by outstanding individuals whom I was very proud to partner with.  I wish them all the best.

Moments of Monumental Change

Ten years ago today I was loading a BBQ pit into the bed of a guy’s truck.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a cute girl walking out of the grocery store.  I dropped the pit and told the guy I had to “see about a girl.”  He said “Good luck” as I sprinted across the parking lot.

change

I narrowly missed being hit by a few cars and a shopping basket.  I finally reached her as she was cranking the engine on her bright red Mustang.  I like to think it was my good looks, but she says she only rolled down the window because she thought there must have been an emergency.  The truth is, there was.