Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

11TH November 2014

500 Start Ups - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Timely - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized

500 Demo Day, from an Intern’s perspective

Guest post from Aitran Doan, Choate ’12. My name is Aitran and I’ve spent my freshmen fall interning with TrustCloud. I learned about TrustCloud as an intern at Grand Central Tech where I sat in on some of the business meetings. TrustCloud intrigues me because it presents a tangible way of quantifying trust, something so intangible. I wanted to follow the journey of this product and see how well it can solve the trust and safety problems we face in the online market. A fellow Choate Alum agreed to show me the behind-the-scenes of TrustCloud. So in early September, I visited the 500 Startups office in San Francisco. Seeing so many people working together in such a collaborative atmosphere excited me. I saw the experiential learning eseence of the start-up […]

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23TH October 2014

500 Start Ups - Business Tricks - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized

Where did you come from, where did you go

  I was at dinner with 80 or so batchmates from 500 Startups last night, and with half of them coming from overseas the discussion turned to “IS America still great”. While that’s pretty subjective, the consensus was that.. “it is still better than where I came from”. And I thought about that a bit. If talent is evenly disbursed all over the world, (let alone the US) then bringing them to places that could accelerate that talent is a great arb. Dave McClure knows this well, and GOAP seeks out talent from the most crazy places. My batch ten buddies included great entreprneurs from Jordan (Silk Road), Thailand (Yoga Trail), Tomsk Russia (Promolta). I came from Pittsburgh, and my Dad was a coal miner from Clearfield. Taking a look […]

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29TH September 2014

500 Start Ups - Business Tricks - Entrepreneur - Mobile - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized

The 500 Start Ups Dogfood: Try it!

Part of the experience of 500 Start Ups is discovering new ideas and processes that other batchmates have blazed the trail on. And yes, after 30 years of being an entrepreneur and an investor, I still learn new stuff every day. Herewith, my list of favorite shortcuts: Founder wall is a great hack for short terms memory people like me- pictures, faces and logos there on the wall just before meeting someone. Open the door with lockitron. It’s just so cool to walk into the ante room, put the phone up to your head and presto, something opens. The batch 10 email blaster is for founders with challenges- any challenges. And it rocks! We have solved for everything from free lance graphics to interviewing coders. (sorry-internal) Ping board is an in […]

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19TH May 2014

Business Tricks - Choate - culture - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Leadership - Mojiva - Timeless - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized - Venture Capital

Next Stop: Grand Central

My Mom used to answer the phone at our house : GRAND CENTRAL !@#$%^ STATION. It was nuts with activity; cats sleeping with dogs, kids not sleeping at all, random neighbors, dangerous art projects, three legged bunnies, ninja turtles- with real num-chucks, 1,000 ping pong balls, 60 foot tree swings, snakes in sleeping bags and ill-advised science experiments. It was an incubator of sorts, but all she was able to raise was a bunch of crazy kids and a few Estes Rockets (with pet mice aboard no doubt). The fact that four of us survived to adulthood was testament to her unique no-helicopter policies ( I am not sure how many she started with). To cry about anything short of a compound fracture was simply bad form. Cuts without stitches […]

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31TH July 2013

culture - Leftovers - Legends and tales - Mobile - Social - Timely - Trust Cloud

#Weiner, Trust and our digital worlds

“This was done in the privacy of my own home” says NYC Mayoral Candidate Anthony Weiner about his recent social media escapades in this YouTube. Quaint, but utterly disconnected with the world around him, and how it works. Why the disconnect? The world has changed (well, we added another, parallel one). Think of it like this: if you wink at someone across the table, it’s likely going to be private or at least defensible under “he said, she said”. If you tweet your groin from the privacy of your home IT IS NOT private. Flash a favorite finger to the jerk that cut you off in traffic: likely private. Wake up in a gutter: likely private. Post the evenings fall from grace: not private. Why is this so? So here is the […]

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19TH June 2013

Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Good Story - Leadership - Mobile - Mojiva - Race to the Bottom - Timely - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized

I am shocked, shocked that there is big data going on in this Establishment

So, the NSA has been snooping the data at most of the big Silicon Valley tech titans, who snoop the data of most of the planet. The former is looking for bad guys, the latter are looking for customers. What’s the diff? What cracks me up is the outrage. It reminds me of Captain Renault’s great line outside Rick’s Cafe the night he shut it down. How did we get to this place? Data used to be such a hard and fast thing. Name, address, and social security was plenty to get a verification going. It worked well for high stakes actions like getting a mortgage, a car loan, a college education… and it still does. The titans of big data and credit have built tremendous businesses based primarily on […]

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07TH May 2013

Angel investing - Business Tricks - Creative problem Solving - Food - Leadership - Leftovers - Mojiva - Operative - Timeless - Trust Cloud - Venture Capital

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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17TH March 2013

Adventure - Creative problem Solving - culture - Entrepreneur - Geopolitical - Mobile - Mojiva - Timely - Trust Cloud - Venture Capital

SWSX: Live in the Future, Build What’s Missing.

I hadn’t been to Austin for SX for awhile, and the differences are palpable. Each of these observations deserve a post on their own (blog tonnage warning), but here’s the brief from the plane 1: These kids won’t lap their Parents, but they’re over it UT Spring break notwithstanding, SXSW trends pretty young but not tragically hip. I’d call it self-sufficiently hip. Perhaps its a stack of student debts, lack of faith in future entitlements, or a crap job market but most everyone here lives and breathes self-reliance. Kinda reminds me of KFAC in some ways. No, they likely won’t end up better off than their parents but they have founds ways- ingenious ways – to have a share in interesting events, luxuries and experiences. It is the walking personification […]

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01TH March 2013

A Line In the Sand - Angel investing - Business Tricks - Cellufun - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Geopolitical - Good Story - Leadership - Mojiva - Operative - Timeless - Timely - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized - Vision

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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17TH January 2013

culture - Geopolitical - Good Story - Mojiva - Race to the Bottom - Timely - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized

You think the BCS data is bad? Turns out ND’s star linebacker was dating a digital ghost!

  I was saddened to hear of the death of Manti Teo’s girlfriend. It was a moving story of courage and recovery for Manti, and  demonstrated the empathy possible in a close knit nation called Notre Dame.  A truly moving story in time for the Heisman Media machine’s annual award. And after the fact, it turned out to be all bullshit. Manti was catfished in a hoax, whereby the girl he met online was… not what she appeared. I have written about this phenomenon extensively since the movie Catfish hit the screens a few years ago. Manti was focussed on x’s and o’s, she was all about 1’s and 0’s. If I recall, thousands of people wore lei’s to mourn the loss (of his mother as well) at a game, and the cameras couldn’t get […]

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