Delacroix painting

November 23, 2014: This essay perhaps should have been posted for Halloween, but, regardless of the timing, it’s a fair recap of the experiences of the week past. Just when you think you’re sailing on a steady course, events unexpected and beyond your control can blow you in a very different direction. Here are some examples:

Ronald Reagan pardons turkey 1983

November 16, 2014: TechDrawl is distributed every Monday to my core list and republished on Friday by Texas Entrepreneur Networks; so, this week’s edition serves as my Thanksgiving essay. I hope you and yours enjoy your Turkey Day and that Texas beats the stuffing out of TCU that evening. It will also be darn nice if GA Tech can grab one of its all too rare victories over UGA the following Saturday.

Atcheson Topeka Santa Fe passenger train circa 1895

November 9, 2014: Patience is one of the seven heavenly virtues in Prudentias’ 5th century epic poem “Psychomachia.” You recall that, right? However, this past week’s election showed that voters are running short on patience, especially on matters that raise taxes.

NASA TV coverage of Antares launch failure

November 2, 2014: The Antares rocket launch at Wallops Island, VA this past week drew considerable interest in Austin. The vehicle payload included a CubeSat named RACE, a ten-pound satellite constructed by a team of graduate and undergraduate Aerospace Engineering students at UT Austin. That satellite was itself carrying a new JPL-designed instrument to measure atmospheric water vapor.

Beluga whale in GA Aquarium

October 26, 2014: In this essay Jesse Dyer reports from Venture Atlanta, held Oct 21-22 in the Georgia Aquarium (not inside the tank, but in the adjacent ballroom).

Fat Canvas by the Author

October 19, 2014: The headline above is a statement that comes up time and again when I meet people who want to become entrepreneurs. They may have the drive, intellect, and requisite instincts, but they’ve not been inspired by a particular mission and often don’t have a team to help them toward that goal. If they force the issue by gathering up some colleagues and entering a class like our Longhorn Startup Lab, they’ll often settle for the next “find me a beer” app that they draw from their current experiences as undergraduates.

Air Force Academy football

October 12, 2014: The lean canvas methodology is all about de-risking each component of a startup idea. You talk to customers, build an MVP, try to get trial users to prove that somebody will adopt the product, and analyze carefully all your assumptions as you work your way through the process. The lean canvas is ideal for web and app concepts but may not apply, for example, to heavily science-based and capital-intensive ventures that rely on university IP. The US didn’t put men on the moon without taking considerable human, technology, and financial risk.

Metronome artwork, Union Square, NY

October 5, 2014: A common theme in my student office hours and other meetings with tech operators in recent days has been headaches with iOS 8. One head of a development shop told me that half of the apps he has produced for clients are now misbehaving as iOS 8 proliferates through the iPhone user base. There are more than 1 million apps in the App Store, and that would imply 500,000 of them are no longer working as intended. As an example, I got an email from my bank asking me to download a new version of their mobile app to address this very problem.

Painting of woman with pen in hand

September 28, 2014: About a month ago I wrote an essay on keeping your angel fundraising inside the box with respect to customary deals. Over the last week, in what some call office hours but are more like therapy sessions, I met with a succession of young companies that had no box. The conversations generally went like this: “I need an introduction to Mrs.

train leaving the station in Spokane

September 21, 1014: The headline above is a quote from an investment banker who looked at a deal with which I’m very familiar and concluded that the company was falling behind in its tech sector. That was about 4 years ago, and that particular sector has attracted high profile VC funding or generated an M&A deal nearly every week this summer. Billions of “smart” dollars are putting more trains on those same rails and stoking them with plenty of fuel.


Subscribe to