Archive for August, 2011

Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Vince writes:

I’ve got a few ideas for an internet startup but a few VCs I’ve talked to basically laughed when I mentioned I wanted seed capital to start a business at my age.  One other person told me being over 45 was a negative indicator for eventual success. The closer to 60 you are forget it.  If you are young < 30 you have a  much
better chance.

So …here I am wondering what opportunity will come along for me (and many other software developers that I could help employ), or should I keep swimming out to meet yet another opportunity hoping I don’t drown in shark infested waters as my idea goes elsewhere and I’m left without a life raft (humor) after I submit an idea.

Vince,

Entrepreneurs can be any age. Don’t believe the myth that young people make the best founders.    Adeo Ressi combats ageism in Is There A Peak Age for Entrepreneurship?  I know a few Dallas entrepreneurs who are in their 60s. So don’t be discouraged because …

Investors are lemmings.   Some do follow what’s hot and want the hip 20 something.  Really, as a founder, why would you chase such shallow money? Many investors, like BAE, evaluate companies irrespective of age. Founder and team experience are a big plus.  We see past the hype of concept ventures that are hot air.  But if you’re concerned about this …

Accept God.  Our God. You must accept the Church of Infinite Rejection as your true savior.  You WILL be turned down and receive grief  for thousands of  reasons on a daily basis from everyone in your life – loved ones, investors, partners, staff, volunteers, service providers.  But frankly this is jumping the gun because at this point …

You are not  an entrepreneur.  Everyone has ideas.  It’s the execution that counts.  You have barely started.  Being an entrepreneur is a long, hard, painful path.  If you truly believe in your mission, you do it because you’re driven.  It’s in your DNA.  You invest the time.  You find solutions.  You adapt.

Now there are incubators that will provide seed funding on concept.  But enrollment is very competitive.  Assuming it’s not a fit or you can’t get in …

You survive.  You don’t pay yourself or your partners or team members.  If you have hard costs, seed capital comes from your savings, credit cards, other personal assets and debts, family, friends, and crowdsourcing.

If you’re just at the idea stage, you have far to go to be ready for an accelerator like BAE, angels, or VCs.  You’ve got to refine your business model, find customer pain, acquire partners, demonstrate market need and demand, create value, start a prototype, build your business plan, and show your sweat investment.  Try my BlueEntrepreneurs.com Resource Guide for helpful links.

Now young kids often are more successful at getting to this point because they have no obligations.  It’s easier for them to make the sacrifice and survive while they build the business.  They don’t have to have a full-time job, support others, or make house, car, or insurance payments.  They can live at home with mom and dad or with other starving entrepreneurs.

Vince, if you truly believe, just do it.  Anyone can at any age.

Good luck!

Marc

Your Bubble or Mine?

Alex Epstein comments on and shares an excellent video of TED presenter Eli Pariser on Beware the Online Content Filter Bubble.  Pariser shows that Google search results are highly customized.  They are not uniform from user to user.  They represent an insular view of the online world based on the user’s preferences and behavior, a personal bubble cut off from the rest of the Net and the real world.

Pariser innocently pleads that large companies like Google and Facebook have a social obligation to connect that bubble to the world.  They should include content that isn’t just relevant but important and fair, and even challenging and uncomfortable.

He points to changes in the newspaper industry a century ago that resulted in a seachange of social-based journalistic and editorial ethics with the hope that such integrity will happen again.

Eli, seriously?  [Insert evil laugh here.] This isn’t your great grandfather’s society. This is anarchy.

Current media can have its benefits, like social media used to report atrocities and uprisings. But that’s a lucky side effect. No one calls Fox TV on its absurd claims of being unbiased. It’s only when it gets truly outrageous like the News of the World’s voice mail invasions that anyone notices … long after the government has been co-opted. Google’s mantra of Do No Evil quickly gets compromised in the complexity of a pluralistic international community. Facebook is frequently lost when it comes to personal privacy.

Corporate self-regulation is a failed experiment, especially in a competitive tech market that must produce ever better results to generate more revenues the next quarter. The US Supreme Court has given corporations individual-like powers to spend money on elections and influence government and policy but without the concomitant nuisance, I mean obligation, to be a socially responsible citizen.

Our me-first consumer generation expects higher service and relevance in an Internet awash with virtually unlimited choices. And even if people aspire to higher ideals their actual actions don’t reflect it, such as in dating.

Externalities be damned, even in politics. The current conservative government and the rise at all costs of the individual as the final  decision-maker and budget spender over government and social institutions mean the bubble will have metamorphosed into an entire virtual universe before anyone gets around to worrying about it, much less noticing.

Still, it’s good to know. I applaud Alex Epstein for sharing a few options to insulate oneself from the prying eyes of the Net.

Me, I’m done training wives and search engines. I don’t want to start again. I don’t have any boundaries. I’m thrilled Google is listening to me and creating my own bubble. I’m fine with my dalliance with leather crotchless chaps and hairless goats a few days years ago following me around. I just want to know when I get to name my bubble and start selling virtual real estate there in my new world. I’ve long said that I live in Marcland.  Come over and join me any time.

Venture Funding: BAE Brings Silicon Valley to the World

We just finished an exciting Summer program at Bay Area Entrepreneur Workshop & Investments (BAE). Our startups encompassed cloud testing, a parallel OS for supercomputers, mobile identity protection, smartphone traditional media bookmarking, a real estate database, and e-commerce and social media for entertainment brands.

It’s all part of the BAE Funding Accelerator, a 21st Century Accelerator without bricks or mortar, our proven process to accelerate and dramatically increase your prospects for angel and VC funding.

We’re expanding with an exciting new announcement for the Fall. You know that the San Francisco Bay Area is the center of the world for tech, web, and other fast growth startups. It’s THE place to be to get the best shot at angel and VC funding for your venture.

But not everyone can be there. Now you don’t have to be. We bring Silicon Valley to you. Whether you’re located in Dallas like me … or anywhere else in the world.

Our program starts with seed capital of up to $5,000 when you’re accepted to show our confidence and commitment in getting you funded.  Then our workshop shares eight weekly sessions with personal coaching to get your business plan and presentation fully investor-ready. The meetings are delivered in person if you’re in the Bay Area and via the web anywhere else in the world.

Lastly we personally introduce you and go with you to meet Bay Area angel and VC investors. Our seed investment more than covers the $1,000 workshop fee and your travel expenses if you’re not local.

BAE makes getting funding even simpler … no matter where you’re located.

Send your Executive Summary now to me at marc@baeworkshop.com to be considered for our Fall program starting late September. The Fall Program is already filling up, so don’t delay.

Marc Freedman
Managing Director
Bay Area Entrepreneur Workshop & Investments
Investability. Simplified.

PS. If you’re an investor, contact me at marc@baeworkshop.com to be a part of the BAE success.

They do protests right – Israel

As the US and Obama continue the decade-long sellout to big business and the rich, and death dance with Tea Party anarchists, the article below is instructive on how to organize, hold, and react to truly civilized protests.

Hello World: Israel is Out-Classing You in Civil Disobedience

In the four weeks since the social protests have begun in Israel, hundreds have been killed, dozens of women have reportedly been raped, a number of children tortured, and countless districts have been looted. The authorities have imposed a complete lock-down on all cellular networks. All access to Facebook and Twitter has been blocked. Little information is going in, or out.

Except the absolute, complete opposite.

The social protests in Israel began 4 weeks ago with a national outcry over the rising price of basics such as cottage cheese. They then snowballed into a full-blown national movement by way of a simple act by a then unknown young woman. The act? Striking a tent in Tel-Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard in protest of high apartment rental costs.

A single tent became the heart and soul of the movement whose main gripe is that the middle-class is bearing the brunt of an imbalanced budgetary spend. “The People Demand Social Justice” is the key chant.

The protests are local, scattered all across Israel, drawing hundreds to hundreds of thousands. Big name musicians volunteer to headline these protests. Barricades and PA systems, all donated. People talk about the movement at every cafe, over every lunch, at every business meeting, at every family dinner.

There have been a few skirmishes with the law. Small stuff though… For example, small groups of protesters were arrested by the police for blocking roads and were released without charges within a day.

Small potatoes aside, it’s been four weeks and zero acts of the barbaric, non-discriminatory violence we’ve seen across the middle east, and even in the UK. No shots fired. No stores looted. No form of communication has been shut down. In fact, not only have the Israeli police and army not taken any role other than safeguarding the protests themselves, they have even been applauded, literally, by hundreds of thousands for their efforts.

While in neighboring countries regimes are slaughtering the opposition, in Israel we have complete free speech to criticize our politicians and leaders. As I’m typing this, on the TV is Israel’s version of SNL doing a parody skit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mishandling of the situation (they have him wearing a red t-shirt with Che Guevara on it). YouTube mashups featuring the PM’s soundbites? Posted below for your scrolling convenience. Professional-level videos advertising the protests? Also, posted below.

Sorry Shervin, no need for your curation and retweeting on this one, the Israeli people are doing A-OK. Really, look:

The backbone of the movement has unquestionably been Facebook, via pages, and events, and of course Twitter, via the #j14 hashtag. A revolution needs a site, right? Right.

At this point there’s no guessing which people will next rise-up and demand political and social change. The world is not what it used to be before Tahrir. I wonder though how many of these future civil disobedience movements will be modeled upon Israel, where technology and love trumped violence.


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