Nixon''s Saturday Night Massacre

June 12, 2016: This essay is a sequel to last week’s war stories and advice on firing people. Let’s say you’ve pulled the trigger, what can you expect next? There are many potential problems, to wit:

Corvette Z07

June 5, 2016: Have you ever been fired? I have, a few times. My first was in the retail hardware business that predated my transition to software. The owner by whom I had been engaged to execute a turnaround brought into the business his brother-in-law, much my elder (I was 23 at the time.) who had some relevant experience in paint products, versus my having no experience in anything to speak of. A change in personal circumstances caused the owner not to want to continue to fund this enterprise, and there wasn’t enough cash flow to cover two executives. How did I respond?

GT Astrophysics Team

May 30, 2016: May we respect the Fallen on this Memorial Day...on now to my essay:

This past weekend I attended a Georgia Tech Research Corporation board meeting in the North Georgia mountains. Our meeting was highlighted by fascinating research presentations on Einstein’s gravitational waves and water on Mars, but more on those in a moment.

auto wreck 1923

May 22, 2016: Enough about TNC’s this week. That issue continues to dominate social media in Austin, but let’s get back to our own businesses. I’ve had a few occasions over the past month to witness startups going through the normal anxieties that accompany each inflection point. There’s no magic cure for those. A leadership team all acting in good faith will have vigorous and honest disagreements about major decisions. Startups are usually bereft of solid data and are forced to “wing it” more often than not. And, it all gets very personal.

early law -- Code of Hammurabi

May 16, 2016: This past Thursday I was in Atlanta for the annual ATDC Showcase, a crowded event where I ran into many friends. Even though my son was exhibiting a very interesting business there and I’m personally working on a venture to raise the standards of cancer care, the one universal question I got was: “What did Austin do to run off Uber and Lyft?”

fancy baggage

May 8, 2016: Office hours in our Innovation Center at UT Austin attracted some inquiring student minds this past week. I engage in frequent mentoring or advising sessions like this as part of my EIR role, and there is always a wide range of questions.

railroad engineer in Stasburg

May 1, 2016: Wednesday night I was grateful to be invited to Andrews Kurth in downtown Austin to be a mentor for the McCombs MBA “Venture Fellows.” There were six teams working from a very detailed case presentation provided by the AK lawyers. In my room we had three Fellows playing their assigned roles per the case script and duking out matters of ownership percentages, titles, founder stock vesting, an already messy cap table, and assorted IP landmines.

room full of generals and admirals

April 24, 2016:  You’re financially viable to commence operations, either by running leanly or by having achieved an adequate level of funding to execute your plan. Congratulations. Now comes the hard part.

Startups are easy, scaling them is hard, and exiting successfully is even more difficult. But, to claim your battle ribbons (See plenty in the photo above.) as an entrepreneur, you need to achieve the full cycle. Finishing the job is what distinguishes you from the countless actors in Startup Theater in every high-tech town.

baseball laces

April 17, 2016: Time flies, in English or Latin, but time is also power. The latter is the more relevant notion for a startup.

R/C airplane

April 10, 2016: Thanks to all of you who commented on my essay last week about laws and regulations running amuck and running counter to the priorities of our society. Let’s examine this week two unrelated contemporary legal arenas that DO deserve interference by our elected leaders and their operating agencies.

Experimental Medicine


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