Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

25TH December 2016

Angel investing - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Leadership - Mobile - Timeless - Timely - Uncategorized

Learn, or give it up to the robots

That pretty much sums up most of the 2017 resolutions I have been seeing from my friends and business relationships. Except for my Buddy Mark, who wants me to do 81 reps of different calisthenics before January 31. In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85 % of all photo paper worldwide.  Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.  What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years and, most people won’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on film again? If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” and if […]

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10TH July 2013

Angel investing - Timely - Uncategorized

Angel investing for Family Offices: What if you knew ‘Zuck… back then.

After a few years of hanging around (and learning a lot), Angelo Robles from Family Office Association asked me to host a panel on angel investing. It was based on the Angel investing White-paper I wrote about for the FOA awhile back- still relevant btw! Here’ s a brief summary on who is on the panel, and how to participate. Our first question will certainly be… So here a brash college kid in front of you, a geek savant with zero social skills. Peddling a social network… Do you touch it? And just say you fronted the money; how many ways do you get a screwed along the way? Done right, angel is a beautiful thing. But every success you hear about has a dozen (or more) orphaned peers. <Note […]

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07TH May 2013

Angel investing - Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Food - Leadership - Timeless

An Entrepreneur’s Diet: Ramen & PBJ

Being an entrepreneur is a lumpy business at best. And while I’ve written extensively about the mortality rate (95%), I’ve never written about how hard it is along the way for those 5% destined for greatness. It ain’t easy, and it ain’t easy on everyone. This is a basket of Ramen Noodles and Peanut Butter, presented on my Birthday by a very appropriate, thoughtful entrepreneur I backed; Xin Chung. Xin certainly has the moral authority to present the gift: he was liberated from Saigon as a child, spent time in an internment camp, and grew up in Valdez Alaska before settling into SoCal and pursuing his dreams as an entrepreneur. He is now Founder and CEO of TrustCloud which has emerged from a “walk in the wilderness” with 10k passionate users and a growing […]

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01TH March 2013

A Line In the Sand - Angel investing - Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Geopolitical - Good Story - Leadership - Timeless - Timely - Uncategorized

On my Kindle: a few great books for entrepreneurs

My son stole my Kindle the other day and ordered a bunch of books because the button looked good. Not much more to add to that story, aside from he’s a digital maniac and I still like to read. So, I went back and looked at what I have read in the past decade and what stuck. As many of you know, I’m still not quite done with my college degree… but I’m still an enthusiastic learner and read a book or two a month. That’s a must-do for any leader who is looking to keep his mind fresh and his thoughts topical. But there are also some books that I constantly refer to, reread, and recommend. Some of them are great learning on outright effectiveness, others highlight specific processes, a few deal with […]

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13TH April 2012

Angel investing - Creative problem Solving - Timeless - Uncategorized

Money for Something: my criteria for investing in sharing

I am asked a lot about my investment criteria, but lately many of the questions have focussed on my criteria in the sharing economy. This is pretty amazing, because less than a year ago, I could not have told anyone what the sharing economy was. Now sharing is something I do love, as I abhor waste and adore ways to get more out of any asset. Ask my wife. In the past year, a movement has surfaced that is global (big) , reflective of our economic state (sucks), green (uses our planets assets more effectively), driven by a connected group (mobile powered millennial), and highly disruptive to a bunch of  old models of doing business. It is alternatively called the Sharing Economy and Collaborative Consumption, depending on who you ask. […]

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10TH April 2012

Adventure - Angel investing - Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Leadership - Timeless - Timely - Uncategorized

Angel Series #7: The thin veil between success and failure

  Channel Shackleton This excerpt is serialized from a whitepaper titled Angel Investing for Single Family Offices (SFO’s) by The Family Office Association and Vaux les Ventures.  For a complete copy, visit the FOA website. The Social Network is a hell of a movie, but the real people upon whom the characters were based have stated that the film’s version of the founding and growth of Facebook was overly dramatized. And appeared way more fun than it actually was. Face it, entrepreneurship is hard. Angel investing is doubly hard. While we read about spectacular successes, one can hardly keep up with the many outright failures preceding them. The thin veil  can really only be perceived once you are on the right side of it-it’s practically see through! But if you […]

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06TH December 2011

Angel investing - Creative problem Solving - Good Story - Mobile - Timely - Uncategorized

A sneak peak at how luck comes about, and shapes the world (of me).

I work hard to get lucky.  I think most successful entrepreneurs do. But when luck comes, you rarely get to see what ELSE happened to make you lucky. It’s usually just some little thing clear on the other side of the world that started some sequence of events that ended with you on a good day. My friends who won the lottery last week would probably agree. You do a shrug of the shoulders and a high five before you move on, because there is just no explaining. For me,  I have long known- and given total credit– to the fact the iPhone changed my angel career. But I never knew the back story of why it was launched in the first place. Walter Isaacson’s Jobs book had a fascinating chapter on just how it came […]

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25TH May 2011

Angel investing - Business Tricks - Entrepreneur - Leadership - Timely - Uncategorized

Old people suck at Start ups… ’cause kids don’t know about risk!

That ouchie brought to you by Michael Arrington at a recent Tech Crunch Disrupt Conference. It’s not as bad as it seems. I find myself initially defensive at this comment, made by the headline grabbing (headline making!) founder of TechCrunch. I fall on the other side of thirty. If you check out this graph, which represents 300 responses from startups financed by Ron Conway, repeat founders under the age of 30 get more $500M+ exits. So if this is true, are old(er) founders more cautious, prudent, and take earlier, cheaper exits for security? Possibly. Whereas a younger founder will let their company brew for a while, gaining value, or be more tolerant of the risk along the way. Older founders have also likely seen the game played before, and know how to judge incremental success, […]

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21TH April 2011

Angel investing - Entrepreneur - Uncategorized

“I made all my money by selling too early.”

So said legendary financier J.P Morgan, who was an amazing creator of wealth and value. As the market for digital media has heated up, the question of founders and/or angels taking money off the table has heated up as well. There are at least two sides to the story, and I’ve lived them both. On one side of the argument are the VC’s, who state that they want the Founders committed to building as large a company as possible. They reason that, if a Founder has 99.99% of his net worth in their deal, then his attention is undivided. On the other side of the argument are the Founders, who’ve pretty much risked everything they have to start the business, or the angels, who risked a lot to grow it. Having […]

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26TH March 2011

Angel investing - Business Tricks - Entrepreneur - Good Story - Mobile

See Catfish before you accept your next Friend Request!

Have you seen the movie CATFISH? It’s an artsy geeky-docu-drama produced by Relativity. I heard about it a year ago and missed it at the time, but Mel resurfaced it on movie night this week.  Here’s why it caught my attention… If you’re one of the 3.3 billion people who use the web, and rely on the information spewed out by UGC (aka User-Generated Content), it’s a must-see.  Basically, a few Metro-Socials find someone online who seems too good to be true (hmmm…ever happen to you?). All’s well until they stumble upon a song that sounds a lot like one claimed by their new Facebook friend.  I’ll stop there, but the twists and turns in this “documentary” are amazingly similar to real life. This has happened to us all, in so […]

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