A Few Things....

August 7 2019

Hope you’re having a great summer. Wanted to send a quick note from beautiful and sunny London with a few ideas.

1. Prof. Ed Zschau has taught high tech entrepreneurship at Princeton & Caltech, started a few companies, been a venture GP and a US congressman. He was recently on the Tim Ferriss podcast discussing his life. There were a few ideas that really resonated with me.

“You don’t get a quick return creating value for the world, you get a quick return doing something that doesn’t matter. If you’re going to make a difference in this society, changing the world for the better, you better be geared for a long journey.”

The Role of Optimism:

“I’m a chronic optimist….When people say, ‘That’s going to be hard.’ I say, ‘That’s going to be more fun.'”

“Career planning is overrated….Why?…Opportunities unexpectedly happen…..These opportunities only matter if you take advantage of them and commit yourself to doing something you’ve never done before”

“Entrepreneurship isn’t about starting companies. Entrepreneurship is an approach to life.”

Entrepreneurship = innovation + implementation

Implementation is the most important

“I’ve had, from the time I was in grade school, an overarching goal, and that is to live a life that matters, to make a lasting and positive difference in the world. I call it ‘leaving footprints.’ That’s what drives me.”

“The most important thing you can do is to do it your way. Don’t just follow what’s recommended. Don’t just pursue what others are pursuing. Do what you enjoy doing. Do it the best you know how and good things will happen.”

This is the life I want to live.


2. What will a recession do to venture capital ? I spend a lot of time in venture and technology, given the opportunity to create change and large businesses….but that industry and start-ups broadly no doubt have been beneficiaries of liquidity.

Josh Wolfe of deep-tech VC Lux Capital was on Real Vision discussing this question (let me know if you want the transcript)

Liquidity really is a big issue in the venture world, given the need (not just desire) for the companies to raise money at higher and higher valuations. That means that each point you need to wonder who the incremental buyer is and at what price ?

He’s focused on being ready in the secondary venture market when other LPs need to raise liquidity and / or when companies need to get a round done at the time when their original backers are stuck on liquidity.

The timing he thinks comes when the narrative shifts to companies needing profitable growth vs equity funded growth.

Be careful out there.


3. A few things worth listening to:

A. Short selling is hard and few have done it well in these QE driven markets. One of best has been John Hempton @ Bronte Capital. I really enjoyed his authenticity, advice and thoughts on bubbles, portfolio management and finding frauds on this podcast. One to listen to twice.

B. Having a good relationship with your life partner is probably one of the most important sources of happiness in your life. Dr. Sue Johnson was on the Knowledge Project podcast discussing how to create, protect and nourish fulfilling emotional relationships.