Posts in Start Ups

Maybe We Need to Redefine What A Small Business Is

On CBS Sunday Morning, they had a segment about three women in Wisconsin that are challenging Big Food.  They are challenging the Wisconsin law that prohibits the sale of home baked goods.  The Republican Speaker of the House won’t bring …

Innovation Has Unintended Consequences

One of the best things about economics, if you think about it right, is you see both sides of the coin.  Costs/Opportunity Costs and other concepts are very powerful.  My friend Professor Craig Pirrong is an economist.  He teaches at …

The Difficulty With Blockchain

Yesterday I was at the OnRamp conference in Chicago.  The guys at Gener8tor put it on and they do a good job.  OnRamp is about insurance and fin tech. One of the panels that they had was on blockchain.  If …

Don’t Tip Your Toe in The Water: Go For It

Yesterday I met a really successful entrepreneur.  They had built companies their whole life.  Some went IPO.  Some just got acquired.  One of the most interesting things about the conversation was that when it was time to press the button …

How To Do Social Entrepreneurship Right: Guard Llama

Social entrepreneurship has been a trend.  I think it’s great to use capitalistic enterprises to solve problems.  But, there are some troubling trends I am seeing within social entrepreneurship.  I have written checks to companies that clearly perform social good …

Banks in The Cloud

The backbone of finance is going to change.  Who really likes the user experience of their bank?  Most of the websites are clunky and hard to use.  Banks have a hard time adding features.  I was speaking with a banker …

Should You Call An Acquisition an Exit?

The prediction is that acquisitions are going to increase in frequency and volume.  Big corporates are hungry for new innovation and they are going to buy it.  Their balance sheets are healthy.  If the tax overhaul that is being promised …

The Voice Will Change Everything

Yesterday while the NCAA games were going on I was judging a Capital One/Amazon Alexa hackathon.  The theme was fin tech.  It was pretty cool.  Hackathons rarely put real companies together.  But, occasionally they do.  The biggest thing they do …

Lots of Failure

I think that startup CEO’s can learn a lot from the four act drama that just played out in Washington DC.  Learning from failure is an important concept.  In the startup world we are told to embrace failure, or ignore …

Voice Over Trading

I learned how to trade in the open outcry era.  We used our voices.  The people that were the most aggressive won.  Sometimes it meant having a big body.  In certain pits, traders were pretty beefy.  I remember slamming my …

The Founder Equity Split

Michael Siebel of Y-Combinator wrote an excellent blog on equity splits among founders.  I love some of the points he made and they cannot be underestimated.  The conversation about splitting equity will help you have a conversation that helps founders learn …

The Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Trust

Trust is one of the more fleeting things in human society.  It’s why lawyers exist.  Think about whom you really trust in the world.  Think about how many people that you do business with in your life that you would …

The Practice Gym

It’s NCAA time and people are bemoaning their busted brackets.  Mine is broken, damn you Iowa State and damn you Big Ten.  A friend of mine knows a lot about busted brackets, and busted psychology.  I met Tom Heitz when …

The Big Data Blind Alley

My friend Notre Dame Law Professor Laura Hollis turned me on to a new blog. I was scrolling through it and his post on gambling caught my eye.  In it, he talked about a system he discovered for betting on …

FinTank Chicago

Thursday evening, George Vukovich revealed FinTank in Chicago.  I was fortunate George let me speak for a minute or two at it and then shoved off to a HPA meeting.  Financial Services are core to Chicago’s DNA. In 1848, someone created …

The Blockchain Road Will Go Through Chicago

Been sitting on this news for a bit.   One of the hardest things to sell in startup land is what Chicago is about.  I have had people look at me and wonder why they should have any money on …

When Things Screw Up, Tear It Down

Startups at seed stage execute on a hypothesis.  They either think they see a problem they are solving and fill the gap, or they create a new market that didn’t exist before.  No matter what they do, they often struggle …