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Keeping Your Cool

Keeping Your Cool

What’s the craziest business meeting you’ve ever been to? Think about it. How did you react? Did you step out of the room? Did you lose your cool? What went down? The craziest meeting I’ve ever been a part of is when one employee got caught stealing, knew we had found out, and brought a 357 Magnum to the meeting we’d arranged to let them go. That was crazy. Keeping cool that time probably saved about five people’s lives including…

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My Wisest Mentor: My Grandmother

My Wisest Mentor: My Grandmother

This is the inaugural post of my Series on Mentorship which appropriately, given my subject, is written on Mother’s Day. Although I advise a healthy number of entrepreneurs on a regular basis as a friend and/or in my roles at Columbia University, I also have the privilege of playing the role of very involved mentor to a few select entrepreneurs at any given time. It is a role that I take very seriously as I believe it to be an…

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Bitcoin’s Dark Underbelly

Bitcoin’s Dark Underbelly

An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay… Kipling       Watch this video below before we talk, (yes it’s worth your time):   Questions for you: Is this the trailer for a new Werner Herzog documentary? Or is it just another awesome example of what journalism can be with the likes of @Vice as opposed to the shallowness of the MSM? Is it the story of a new kind of entrepreneur (Chinese in this…

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‘Tis the Season for… Pro-Rata Rights?!

‘Tis the Season for… Pro-Rata Rights?!

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the country families had gathered around the hearth and reveled in the peace and quiet of the season. Children were on their best behavior having been reminded of the impending arrival of all-knowing Santa Claus. Angels and VCs had consumed large quantities of alcohol and food and were borderline comatose.  Even the internet had slowed to a crawl.  Not a creature was stirring…….  wait, that is except for my friend @semil who…

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Hacking Diligence

Hacking Diligence

dil·i·gence1 ˈdiləjəns/ noun careful and persistent work or effort. Middle English (in the sense ‘close attention, caution’): via Old French from Latin diligentia, from diligent- ‘assiduous’ (see diligent). —– Diligence! It’s the sort of word that commands respect. “Be diligent, children”, says the kindergarten teacher to us. “Have you done your diligence?” says the trusted friend advising you on the job offer you just received. “Let’s do some diligence on this” we investors say gravely to each other after hearing a very impressive entrepreneur…

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Launching the Columbia Startup Lab!

Launching the Columbia Startup Lab!

If you hadn’t heard- over at my day job as Columbia’s Director of Entrepreneurship, our team was proud to recently announce the opening of our Startup Lab downtown in Soho. It’s an incredible space built-out in partnership with our friends at WeWork and in true collaboration with our various partners at Columbia’s Business, Engineering, Law, SIPA and College and their respective Deans. We currently have 71 young Columbia alums representing all of these schools running approximately 40+ startups in a…

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Of Missionaries And Mercenaries…

Of Missionaries And Mercenaries…

This is part of my Series on Entrepreneurial Culture. I just received an email once from a young, first-time entrepreneur that I was helping out informally on a few matters. He had a good product that he’d spent a lot of time developing and was looking for a few introductions and some advice. His email was sort of a cross between a short update and thank-you note and I was happy to hear that some of the introductions and information I had provided…

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Sometimes Nothin’ Can be a Real Cool Hand

Sometimes Nothin’ Can be a Real Cool Hand

(before reading this post click on the picture just above for this video) This is part of my Series on Entrepreneurial Culture. There are many occasions in the life of an entrepreneur or investor when bold action is required: Do we make this acquisition? Should we hire this developer? Do we offer them a term sheet? Tweak the pricing? We’ve all been faced with such critical moments when a decision needs to be made. In fact, it’s very much the archetype of the “decisive man/woman-of-action” that…

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Brother Mouzone on Respect & the Value of Your Word

Brother Mouzone on Respect & the Value of Your Word

(click on this link to play video) This is part of my Series on Entrepreneurial Culture. As Chris Dixon has aptly pointed out in a recent post, start-up culture is very much built upon people’s reputation and their word as opposed to the transactional/legalistic constructs of corporate culture.  Once the word is out on someone being unreliable, mendacious, mercenary or worse, his/her career in the local ecosystem is pretty much over. Angel, VC, Entrepreneur, Lawyer- it doesn’t matter. No one…

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Stop Looking for a CoFounder

Stop Looking for a CoFounder

I recently wrote this article for Amex Open Forum. The original text can be found here. This is part of my Series on Entrepreneurial Culture Everywhere I go, I hear the same refrain from fledgling entrepreneurs I meet: “I’m looking for a co-founder.” I hear it from many of my students, from folks at various entrepreneurship events and meetups, and from people suffering in jobs at large companies who would love to pull the trigger on their startup—if they only…

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