How To Be A Visionary Leader

visionary leadership

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. 

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.

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.

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.

When Competition is Not Healthy

Competition is not healthy all the time.  There is a cliche that competition always brings out the best in people.  That is a lie. 

Competition always brings out a winner, but that may not always be the best person.  Tom Brady is a prime example.

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.

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. 

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

Venture Capital Is Like Launching Bottle Rockets From Your Hand

Venture Capital is a bit like launching bottle rockets.  I saw a statistic in Fortune Magazine last month that emphasized this.  And as with anyone launching bottle rockets, each “venture guy” does it a little differently.