Back in 2011 I left the world of tech and joined a world that has no universally agreed upon name.  Back in 2011 it was the world of “social enterprise” and “social entrepreneurs” and those terms are still commonly used, but these definitions vary from organization to organization.  These are terms that first arose in the nonprofit sector, and nearly all my work is with...

Why Africa?

Why is so much of my work with entrepreneurs in Africa? Two main reasons:

There are fewer quality business accelerators in Africa than in other regions of the world, and thus Fledge receive more quality applicants from Africa
The opportunities in Africa are enormous. It’s the last place on Earth with 1 billion people growing from poverty to middle class.

The most popular posts in 2018

The 18 most popular posts in 2018: Selling the first telephone A realistic view of the startup “hockey stick” The 140-character (Tweet) pitch Investing without “Exits” The unintuitive Hype Curve (of startup value) Your entrepreneurship skills The art of “cold email” messages SunCulture: drip-irrigation for Kenyan farmers Breaking the paradigm of startup investment Before the chasm… comes the...

Infinite games have different rules

We are taught how to play finite games.  Games where there are fixed rules, a fixed timeline, where the purpose is to win.  But life, sustainability, and the world we want is part of an infinite game: players that come and go, rules that change, where the objective is to keep playing the game. Simon Sinek explains this in the following interview, which is an overview of his new book, The Infinite...

Put yourself in the shoes of a startup investor

Put yourself in the shoes of a startup investor. Every day you review entrepreneurs, through a sort of funnel: very wide at the top and narrow down below, with only a few investments coming out the bottom each year. The average venture capital firm reviews approximately 1,200 companies in order to make 10 investments. At Village Capital, we make contact with nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs a year...


Working with hundreds of startups, various patterns eventually become obvious.  One common pattern is wrapped around the common refrain of mentors to entrepreneurs, “focus“.  The actual pattern is a bit more complex.  It goes like this: 1. You have an idea.  It may feel fully formed, but it’s half-baked.  You know enough about the problem and just enough about the customers to...

Tomorrow will be worse

Earlier this year I had a most amazing experience, traveling to India to meet the President of the Tibetan government in Exile, the Speaker of the House, the Chief Justice of their Supreme Court and his holiness, the 14th Dalia Lama. One of the take aways from this trip was the Tibetan attitude about the present and the future, first shared by Lobsang Sangay, the current President.  It goes like...

Lords of Finance

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World continues my research into wealth inequality and the real-world workings of capitalism.  This book is the story primarily of four men: Norman, Strong, Moreau, and Schadt, the heads of the central banks of the UK, U.S., France, and Germany in the 1910’s through 1940’s. These are the men who restructured the financial world at the end of...


Last week was my sixth consecutive SOCAP in San Francisco.  If you’ve never been, SOCAP is the largest impact investing event in the world.  Over 3,000 attendees.  Hundreds of speakers.  Big and messy, but one place where you can meet 50 people in a week, all working toward the same goal of improving the planet. The impact above is the pile of cards I collected during the week.  I stare at...

War and Gold

Continuing my series of book reports on economics, I was walking through my public library when the title War and Gold caught my eye.  The book explains (in far too much detail) the history of money over the last 500 years, starting with the Spanish exploitation of the New World and the subsequent flood of silver into Europe and continuing century by century to the Volker/Regan solution to...


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