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Venture Capital (in general) Doesn’t Work

For years I’ve been talking about California Capitalism, how the traditional model of venture capital doesn’t work outside of the Bay Area, New York City, and Boston, and rather than just rant I’ve been explaining and implementing alternative investment models including revenue-based finance and holding companies. The latest issue of American Affairs magazine includes a deep...

19,001 Contacts

In 2011 I left my life as a tech entrepreneur and began my work as a teacher, mentor, and impact investor. That change meant building a new network of contacts, and I started that effort with just a few dozen curated connections from the first twenty years of my career. Ten years later, I’ve been keeping a CRM database of (almost) everyone I’ve met and today the 19,001st person was...

The Anti-SPAC

Wall Street has a hot new old tool, the special purpose acquisition company, a.k.a. the SPAC. This is a public company that is nothing more than a pool of capital and set of advisors in search of a business to buy. It is supposedly a more efficient path for private companies to become public companies instead of the following the traditional IPO. At worst it is flawed solution to a flawed IPO...

5 Vaccines and Counting

For truth in the pandemic I’ve been following Dr. Eric Topol on Twitter. Last week he tweeted: Summary of the 5 Phase 3 vaccine trials. One theme: 100% protection from death and hospitalizations That is impressive! While the media is focused on all the troubles in quickly getting these vaccines into people’s arms, we need to realize the historic accomplishment of getting not just one...

Alternative Investment Models for Africa

In this episode, Geetha Tharmaratnam, Raj Kulasingam, Vivian Nwakah Christophe Viarnaud, and Luni Libes discuss alternative investment models in Africa.

For more details on these models, see California Capitalism or buy the book on Amazon.

The scale of agriculture

If you took all the maize (corn) farms in the world and put them together, they’d not fit on the British Islands. Neither would rice or wheat. This fun YouTube video shows just how much space each crop takes up:

Efficiency vs. Resilience: The Texas Blackout

The right framework can uncover the most hidden of assumptions. For example, the 2021 winter blackouts in Texas. While the politicians and news debate over windmills, natural gas, and deregulation, they are missing the the framework and thus talking trees instead of forest.   The better way to look at this problem is the consequence of a hidden tradeoff we make with all our big, complex...

Creating Angels

Out of the 320 million Americans, fewer than 320,000 are Angel investors, investing in startups. Quick math, that is less than 0.1% of all Americans. The ratio only gets worse elsewhere in the world. Why? Investing in startups is complicated. Historically, it’s a skill learned in an ad hoc apprenticeship, with new Angels observing more experienced Angels for months or years. Few people have...

Three types of companies and three types of mission-driven companies

I categorize companies into three categories: A- Companies focused solely on profits, running extractive businesses, unconscious to the needs of their employees, their communities, and the world as a whole. Most of the S&P 500 and Global 1,000 are in this group. B- Companies that truly care about ESG: Environment, Social, and Governance. In short, companies whose management works on improving...

Milquetoast

It’s been a long time since I mentioned my love of long-lived assumptions. This time it isn’t a story of a startup, but a story of an not-uncommon, but no everyday English word, milquetoast. The spelling makes it looks like an old loan Latin word borrowed from French 1,000 years ago. It’s not. It’s a fancy way of spelling “milk toast” a simple breakfast dish...

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