Entrepreneurship

The Cost of Cash

Cash is great. I think all stores should accept it. In fact, there’s been plenty of backlash when stores don’t accept it because it limits consumer choice and can be seen as a form of discrimination against those who don’t have a bank or credit card. But accepting cash isn’t free. For stores that accept cash-only, or those who pass the 3% charge on to the customer, I think they’re missing something critical: there is absolutely an associated cost with each transaction, and in some… Continue reading

9/27/19

Software as a Competitive Advantage

One of the best podcast interviews that I’ve listened to in a while is Tim Ferriss’ interview with Stripe founder and CEO Patrick Collison. Around minute 35 they discuss something that I find fascinating. Patrick says: We surveyed companies fairly broadly across multiple industries. And we just asked them what’s holding them back. And that’s a very imperfect methodology, of course, because it’s hard to know what the candidate answers there should be. And maybe those questions are – do they all interpret it the… Continue reading

1/9/19

Bad Blood & Business Books I Can’t Put Down

I recently finished reading Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. It’s the now infamous story of the rise and fall of blood testing company Theranos and CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Carreyrou was the original reporter who broke the whole thing wide open a few years ago. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading. I typically read just before bed, and I had to give myself time cutoffs so I wouldn’t stay up all night. The story is so compelling… Continue reading

8/17/18

Sometimes You Won’t Love Your Job

One thing I’ve noticed anecdotally with many people in the generation younger than me – those who are currently in their early to mid-twenties – is an assumption that work should always be great and fun and rewarding. If it isn’t, something is “wrong” and the solution is to quit and look for a new job or even a new career. It’s a wholly unrealistic expectation, and if it’s not adjusted could set one up for a miserable career. Everyone dislikes their job sometimes. Everyone… Continue reading

7/18/18

Is Shark Tank Good or Bad for Aspiring Entrepreneurs?

I was never really a huge fan of Shark Tank until a couple of seasons ago when I had a few people recommend I give it another try. I did, I liked it, and since then it’s been one of the few shows I subscribe to on my DVR. The REWORK podcast recently did an episode entitled Life After Shark Tank that explored three companies who did not have great experiences on the show. In doing so, they discussed a lot of the pros and… Continue reading

4/17/18

Tuning out the Noise, When Not to Finish a Project, and Planning vs Doing

In the comments section of my last post Rob left a comment with some really good questions that I thought were worthy of an entire post. These are all things that I constantly struggle with, which makes them great questions to think about, write about, and discuss: How do you tune out the noise? How do you manage to avoid the Firehose of great ideas from every direction – colleagues, friends, yourself, the internet? There seem to be opportunities around every corner. I have a… Continue reading

4/11/18

Free Isn’t Usually Free

Time. It’s our one non-renewable resource. A few years ago I wrote about how a single meeting can derail an entire day, in part because “having a fixed stop time completely changes my approach to the day.” Well, now that I’m a dad that’s been amplified. Every day has a fixed stop time when my daughter gets home from daycare. I have a lot more days where I’m not at my peak too – sometimes it’s a bad night of sleep, or we’ve all got… Continue reading

3/21/18

Customer Service as a Competitive Advantage

In the first season of the Masters of Scale podcast I heard Reid Hoffman tell a story about the early days at PayPal. I couldn’t figure out which episode it was from, but he told the same story to the Harvard Business Review last year: We faced this issue at PayPal. In early 2000, payment transaction volume was growing at a compounding rate of 2% to 5% per day. That kind of growth put PayPal in a deep hole as far as customer service was… Continue reading

11/7/17

Would Universal Health Care Encourage Entrepreneurship?

I’ve always thought that the answer to that question is a resounding yes. While I do think that employers have a role in the health, balance, and overall well-being of their employees, it never made sense to me that as an employer I decide my employee’s health care options any more than it would make sense for me to make decisions about their schools, parks, and roads. Nothing about running an e-commerce company makes me qualified for those types of decisions. We provide our employees… Continue reading

10/18/17

My Single-Slide Entrepreneurship Talk

A few months ago I gave a talk to the SUNY Albany Entrepreneurship class that my good friend teaches. We had been discussing previous talks, some of which went better than others. The best ones, we agreed, were interactive and conversational. I had the idea to cut my entire presentation down to one slide, the slide that I typically reserve for questions at the end. So, somewhat nervously, I got up in front of a class of 45 students, briefly introduced myself and then put… Continue reading

10/10/17