Monthly Archives: December 2007

Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President – New York Times

A well-timed, well-messaged article from Bloomberg. Bloomberg is as credible an independent candidate as we’ve had in a long, long time.

Also his message of pushing to break-through on gridlock is a powerful message that the Dems and GOP will need to address. Interestingly, I think his most powerful impact is to Obama, who claims that he’s the guy who can best change the tone in Washington. Bluntly, I think Bloomberg takes that brand attribute away from Obama.

The one area I’d want to learn more on Bloomberg is his approach re: national security.

[From Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President – New York Times]

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Ross Mayfield’s Weblog: Collapse: How Startups Choose to Fail or Succeed

Great article with a simple framework on thinking through maximizing opportunities to succeed.

[From Ross Mayfield’s Weblog: Collapse: How Startups Choose to Fail or Succeed]

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Feld Thoughts – F*** The Packaging

Feld’s rant on how difficult it is to open consumer packaging is right on.  CDs, DVDs, many toys, as well as the things Feld rants on have packaging that are a safety risk to the people trying to open them.

I am very opposed to class action lawsuits, but I’m surprised that there have not been any on packaging of this sort that’s unsafe to the people opening them.

There does indeed need to be a better way. 

Feld Thoughts – F*** The Packaging

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Buffett to Start A Bond Insurer For Cities, States – WSJ.com

Speculation has been rife since the sub-prime crisis from the past summer on what Buffet would do, sitting on an awesome cash position and of course a superb credit rating.

This drove BRKA from the low 100K$ per share up to near $150K by early December.

This move is a shrewd one–where Berkshire has a clear short-term defensible competitive advantage. It will be interesting to gauge it’s long-term defensibility.

I also like the move, as its an organic-growth strategy to take advantage of the mess in subprime. I prefer this far more than purchasing some Wall Street bank, e.g., Bear Stearns, which has been speculated on elsewhere.

[From Buffett to Start A Bond Insurer For Cities, States – WSJ.com]

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Happy Holidays

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(Next to) Free Stuff for Start-ups: top reads

More in the series of stuff I’ve found useful in starting a company.  These are the key books that I go back to again, and again, and again, whenever I need to think things through.  You can get these at the library if you’re cheap.  I’ve bought mine and the dog-ears, notes and underlines in them definitely argues that I got my money’s worth.

A disclaimer–I usually hate business books.  I find them usually little more than ego-strokes for the author or filled with advice that’s really pretty obvious.  (Be ethical, have a vision, etc.)  Given that perspective, here’s the books that I think of as essential references. 

The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start.  This is a mother-lode of practical, concrete tips and advice.   I’ve gone back to this book dozens of times.  No matter what you might start, go buy this and read it.  Keep it near by as you proceed with whatever you do. 

The Art of Telling Your StoryJerry Weissman’s Presenting to Win. If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to be able to tell people what you’re doing.  Whether its in an elevator pitch, in a car ride, or in a boardroom, your ability to communicate crisply, clearly and in an engaging way will have a huge determination on your ability to succeed: whether its hiring, raising money, getting the product built, et.  Mr. Weissman’s book focuses on how to ‘present,’ but the concepts I find are universal in structuring my ability to communicate effectively.  Must read.

Financial AccountingI know, I know, you can outsource accounting, why have an accounting text book included?  The simple answer is that if you’re an enterpreneur, you can’t afford not to understand accounting at a basic level.  You’ll be accountable at the end of the day for how the numbers come together.  Start-ups, like all of life, require a bit of luck to turn out well.  Luck favors the prepared. 

Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

One obvious reality that I saw when I became an entrepreneur–you negotiate *everything*.  Get into that mindset, practice it, and learn.  Getting to Yes is one of the better guides to structure your thinking on this.  I keep it close if for no other reason than to remind me to negotiate something. 

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New Jersey Governor Signs State Death Penalty Ban

I abhor the death penalty and applaud Governor Jon Corzine and New Jersey’s step to ban it there.

It is of course tragic for parents, friends and colleagues of victims of any crime, and my sympathies are with them. 

My opposition and hopes around the future abolition of the death penalty can be summarized by the Justice Brennan’s quote below:

“One area of law more than any other besmirches the constitutional vision of human dignity. . . . The barbaric death penalty violates our Constitution. Even the most vile murderer does not release the state from its obligation to respect dignity, for the state does not honor the victim by emulating his murderer. Capital punishment’s fatal flaw is that it treats people as objects to be toyed with and discarded. . . . One day the Court will outlaw the death penalty. Permanently.”

–William J. Brennan, Jr., retired Supreme Court Justice, 1996 [1]

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