How Much is an Hour of Your Time Worth?

A founder recently told me that she’d won an opportunity to fly over to Europe and attend a startup event there, and asked if I’d think it’d be a good use of her time.  Quick answer: I told her “no” because there was simply no good reason for her or her company to attend that event: the fit was very weak, she didn’t have any plan for European markets and most certainly she won’t raise her seed from the European investors.  In fact, I think she also knew that it wouldn’t be a good use of her time because otherwise, knowing how she is committed to her startup and driven for success, I know she wouldn’t have asked in the first place.  I think, she just didn’t have a good idea about the value of her time that she could compare the benefit from the opportunity to.

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Manage Your Growth Velocity

At the core of a startup is a high growth. Let’s think about it: there are incredible university labs that develop state-of-the-art and first-in-class technologies but we don’t call them startups; you have your favorite bar or restaurant down the street that you visit (well, used to, at least before the Pandemic) frequently but you don’t call it a startup.  It’s not the technology, product, VC funding or anything else that qualifies startups to be startups but a high growth. Therefore, as a startup founder, you need to understand what a high growth looks like and know what to manage to achieve it.

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Time Traveler Founders

* Note: I invest in seed/pre-seed-stage frontier tech companies and this blog post is to some extent biased toward such thesis.

As a founder, you must have heard the word pain-point so many times. And I do think it’s a very important word – as sailors say, “without knowing where you’re headed there’s no favorable wind.”  The downside, however, is that I think the mighty word can be dangerously misleading.

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“Eating Glass and Staring into the Abyss”

I admire entrepreneurs.  I admire them for the fact that they took real actions purely based on their vision and passion toward it.  They want to take their vision to life and that in itself is a noble cause.  It’s also a talent – which is so rare to find, to have the level of conviction high enough to put one’s life on the line and start a company.  Entrepreneurs should be admired for their braveness and rarity because they’re the ones that move the boundaries and eventually change the world.  Whether they’re to be successful or not is secondary because God only knows.

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How to Get Intros like a Boss

If you’re a founder that is raising VC for your company, you must have heard thousands of times (if not more) how you should get warm intros to your target investors!  And you – especially if you’re a first-time founder, might think such remark is only an elitism as you don’t have many good friends in the ecosystem that can bridge you to investors.

Well, I don’t (after ~15 years in the ecosystem on both side of the table).

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