Bluebonnet Hill Golf Club, Austin TX
Bluebonnet Hill Golf Club, Austin TX
Daytona 500 winner 1962

February 24, 2013:  I’m filing this report from the 2013 Daytona 500, or rather from my couch.  This is one of the many sporting events where the living room experience for the casual fan can now be better than being there in person.  I’ve done both in the case of the Daytona 500 and have some basis for comparison.  The big news this year is Danica Patrick’s pole position.  That was somewhat dampened by the spectator injuries at Saturday’s Nationwide race, but thankfully all those folks are apparently on the mend.  Getting knocked out of your chair by a few hundred pound missile consisting

Kentucky Derby

February 19, 2013:  In the thousand or more deals I see annually, I’ve come to prefer the ones that actually let you DO something.  This point hit home at SeatGeek’s OnDeck Conference in New York last week when I saw the presentation by Derby Jackpot.  This company lets you bet real money on real horse races and claims to be legal in 43 states.  You get to watch a live race from a distant city and wager on the ponies.  You’re not collecting points, badges, or rankings; it’s old-fashioned hard cash leaving y

In the Longhorn Startup Lab last evening Professor Metcalfe gave his primer lecture on spreadsheets to the gathered undergraduates.  You are probably facile with spreadsheets and consider them to be a basic skill – these days listing “proficiency with Microsoft Office” on a resume looks like filler.  However, the undergraduate students soaked up this information, and for many of them this good foundation on the basics was a necessary step toward modeling their business plans for

After a first round of coaching sessions with the five SXSW Accelerator companies assigned to me, I thought about some general advice on pitches.  This particular batch is starting out pretty well, but I still find myself pointing out many of the usual problems that fail to get the message across.  There have been millions of words written on pitch presentations and techniques, but nothing beats live coaching to fine tune the process.  You can see that vividly in the polish shown by the Longhorn Startup Lab teams as they progress through the semester.  We have a TA who is a Ph.D.


As your editor I generally bring you content based on my experiences in the investor and entrepreneurial circuit in Austin and Atlanta.  Last week was one when the number and quality of such experiences outraced the time needed to summarize the wisdom gleaned from them.  I don’t cover breaking news, but when I watch the local CBS TV affiliate do a segment on chickens in the road in Bastrop County (yes, true), I sometimes think what I do provide has more lasting value.

January 29, 2013.  Among the many events worth your time at SXSW is the Accelerator competition.  The 48 interactive finalists who will present on the Monday and Tuesday (March 11-12) of SXSW were announced today.  Eight companies in each of 6 categories were selected, along with 3 alternates in each of those categories.  On Wednesday the 8 music finalists will present, those also backed up by 3 alternates.

Whac-a-Mole game

January 25, 2013.  A board meeting yesterday for a P2P marketplace venture swung to a focus on what field-testing data is really telling us.  Creating a P2P company requires sellers, buyers, and actual transactions.  Like any consumer venture, there are plenty of unknowns in consumer behavior when a shiny new object is made available to them.  Trying to interpret each week’s worth of data can be a lot like Whac-a-Mole.  A/B testing becomes more like A-Z testing when all the variables are factored in.  You think you understand one side of the equation, but you tweak the other side and get ve

January 17, 2013.  Editor’s Note: Today we welcome a guest post from TechDrawl contributor Cindy Grossman, a partner at Giordani Swanger Ripp & Phillips LLP in Austin.  Cindy specializes in business transactions, particularly with respect to tax implications.  This is a bonus edition of TechDrawl, about twice the normal length, but it’s a complex subject that deserves your attention if you are scaling up a technology company.

December 15, 2013.  Entrepreneurs frequently question me about how you protect your prized IP or your business methods from theft by others.  The less you disclose, the less help you will get from your mentors and peers as your company evolves.  And, potentially, fewer opportunities will come your way if you hold your cards too close to your vest.  I’ve repeatedly seen companies hide or delay their best product features for fear others would copy them, only to see themselves surpassed by competitive surprises.   What’s the point in waiting until you look like the follower and not the innova


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