Formula 1 weekend took your writer away from the keyboard for 2 days of “field research” at the inaugural event at Circuit of the Americas. I’ve written previously about F1, and this post is about startup practice, drawing on a few racing analogies.
Quoth Aesop: “Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.”
While you eagerly await 2016, here for your edification is a list of five non-partisan post-mortem takeaways for tech entrepreneurs from the election results.
There was an interesting juxtaposition of events here over the last few days. On Friday the ATI hosted a group of five companies in the digital entertainment space along with a number of tech community advisors with particular knowledge in that area. The intent was to explore ways to strengthen the sector with more access to investment capital, talent, and more entrepreneurs to bolster one another’s efforts. It always seems like there must be a pony in blending the “Live Music Capital of the World” and technology, but Austin is more of a B2B town and less fertile for this than LA, SF, or
Formula 1 has made one previous stop in Texas – June, 1984 in Dallas on a temporary street circuit around the Texas State Fair grounds. The Wikipedia photo above shows Ayrton Senna chasing Nelson Piquet in a race ultimately won by Keke Rosberg in 100° temperatures on a less than pristine track surface. Now we get a chance to welcome F1 back to our state after what Forbes calls a “Sordid Saga” in a recent issue. I’m a bit off topic today with this racing discussion, but I’d say Circuit of the Americas (
Regardless of who wins the election in a couple of weeks, there is much uncertainty around taxes and benefits along with all the usual pressures of annual reviews, bonuses, parties, and work interruptions associated with the Holidays. As of this writing, the Presidential election is still too close to call, and even the control of the Senate is possibly up for grabs. Dealing with the looming fiscal cliff is going to require some cooperation in Washington that we haven’t seen in the last four years.
Here’s a discussion that has come up in several business situations in the last week. In a startup setting it is very difficult when your very survival seems to depend on the next customer in the door, or perhaps even the next investor. If you are pressed to the wall and absolutely can’t turn away an opportunity, chances can be pretty high that you will later regret that decision. It’s great to get yourself in a position where you can afford to say “no” when you realize that is the right thing to do.
Ace field reporter Jesse Dyer files this report from the Georgia Aquarium today. Not exactly the shark tank, but beluga whales for sure:
Entrepreneurship life in the post-Pardot era has begun in Atlanta. What the Pardot sale means for the city is easily an essay unto itself, but that $96M exit was definitely the buzz in the room at Venture Atlanta 2012. Will the local tech community really broaden its interests with this exit, or will it just double down on marketing automation as it previously did with Internet security in the footsteps of ISS? Time will tell.
After some kind feedback on my test for entrepreneurs in my previous post, I’m today thinking about the notion of what Bob Metcalfe calls “scaling entrepreneurs.” Those are the leaders who not only can create a startup but who can operate it to the level that it creates enterprise value. Yes there have been some Valley successes like Instagram where founders built a cool product and were swallowed by a big fish long before they had to deal with the pesky details of actually running a business. But, those are rare exceptions.
Yesterday I was invited to be one of the mentors at Austin Startup Week’s “Office Hours” at Capital Factory. There were a couple dozen tables set up for meetings on 20-minute intervals over 3 hours with an assortment of active investors and mentors. Those who presented themselves for these sessions picked from the available slots on the signup sheets, and there appeared to be more potential entrepreneurs than there were open times. That’s a good sign for the entrepreneurial fever in Austin.