Thursday, August 6, 2015

How I Predicted Donald Trump's Current Success

Several years ago, after I wrote a column about why promoting Entrepreneurship was important for the economy's future. The editor was so impressed, he asked what else I would like to write about.

Since this was at the beginning of the last election, I said my next column would explain why the people will be begging for Donald Trump to run. I never heard from the editor again and Trump chose not to rum (something about his financials).

The editor obviously thought this was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard.

So why was I willing to go out on a limb about the Donald for that column?

First, let's understand that I wasn't saying that Trump would make a good president, that he would win or even that I supported him. I was just saying that people would be begging for Trump to run. The editor may have heard what he wanted to hear, but that is all I said.


The answer is that Trump spoke at the global level and he did with big but simple concepts. In particular, he spoke about how other countries see us. He talked about how they take advantage of our pieties, our political correctness, our petty fears, our blind spots and, most of all, the way we have backed off fearless leadership.

We have gone form being a nation of doers, backed by laws, to one lead by lawyers who just talk about laws.

I have nothing against lawyers. We need them. But they live in a special, cautious kind of world. Just because they write and argue laws doesn't make them leaders any more than accountants should be salesmen or scientists CEOs. They could be, but not all of them.

Most politicians are lawyers and behave not, surprisingly, like lawyers. The better they are, the slicker their speech and we have gotten all too used to it. But once a plain-speaking, popular and successful person shows up that you see the difference.

My point was that once people hear Trump's big talk schpiel they will hunger for it. And they did.

My background with Entrepreneurs tells me that we see exactly the same with Startup pitches: a clear, boldly spoken pitch will win over a slick, incomprehensible mish-mosh that offends no one while sticking to some preconceived party line.

I can't say that I would actually support the Donald for President although I would definitely support for him long enough to keep the game of refreshment going.

Trump may be the genuine bearer of America's future - unlikely as that may seem - or simply the jester who brings truth to the king's court. You decide.

What I can say is that, whatever he is, his is a voice we welcome.

In fact, people are begging for it.

Boston Startup Winners: SeedCX: Medical Marijuana "Seeds" the Future in Boston

Winner: SeedCX

Finalists: Human, Spot, MyLumper and

The winnerSeedCX will be participating at the Private Equity Forum at the Yale Club in October.

HUMAN presents at Startupalooza Boston

SeedCX is a new futures exchange for hemp & marijuana growers and traders. They won because of the combination of excellent planning, appropriate background and the offer to participate in once-in-a-generation opportunity at its moment of substantial growth.

MyLumper was a finalist because they represented domain experts in an entirely fresh, payment processing field - truck loading - that had significant potential upside with minimal competition with the introduction of a disruptive solution and significant pain point. However, it is an unfamiliar area to most investors and so requires more due diligence.

Spot is the “AirBnB” of parking spots and lets people and companies rent out their underutilized parking spots - thereby turning empty spaces into hard cash and preserving city resources. This is a very well executed plan that is showing real numbers in the Boston area and could scale nationally. It may not work in all cities and it is not always clear there where the best opportunities lie are, but they are nevertheless, a close runner-up.

HUMAN offers a better way for users of Virtual and Augmented Reality to interact with all emerging platforms as well introduce the element of collaboration - especially in high value business and medical fields. There are patents pending and the team has much experience. Nevertheless, it is a crowded though growing field, where many competitors abound and their positioning is still not quite focused. is a travel website and mobile app for Muslim travelers in the west with a special focus on visitors from the high value Gulf States. It has special features that offer unique value to these well-heeled travelers. However, the financial model is all advertising and therefore limited, while there is a clear opportunity for a higher value “Freemium" model offering specialized high cost services for the higher-end travelers.

Next Boston Startupalooza: Sep. 29th Register here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Order "Are You Fundable?"

Are You Fundable?

How to prepare your plan - and yourself - for funding.

Now available online.

Digital or Print

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Treasure in Truckloading: Winners from our June Startup Event

Here are the full results from the June Event:

Winner: MyLumper

Finalists: Vipsie, Augmented Reality, Cosign, SimplyCalled


MyLumper won because they represented domain experts in an entirely fresh payment processing field - truck loading. It offered a disruptive solution with significant potential upside and minimal competition.

Cosign was a very close second which monetizes visual interest through online sales. While there is a potentially bigger market with greater viral growth potential there are also likely to be more technologically empowered competitors.

Augmented Reality this is a fascinating but unproven area that requires high capital infusion to test. If deliverable in an affordable package, could change ambiance design for interior spaces everywhere.

SimplyCalled great solution for call centers with disruptive potential for phone systems everywhere - with some fine tuning of offering.

This was a very tightly contested event with a high overall standard of pitches.

As a result, the finalists were very close and these are a list of special mentions.








Book + Free Workshop
Please note that we have a book that explains the Investor process - what they are really looking for, how they evaluate Entrepreneurs and how to make yourself fundable - entitled Are You Fundable? (order at AreYouFundable­?)

Fundable Workshop. From time to time, we run workshops on this process and help you shape the essence of your pitch. We will be doing one again in July.

  • July Event on Thursday, July 30th at Edison Community.
  • If you want to work at Edison Community free for a week contact Karen White­

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Sandal Success: What a Real Guru's Shoe Taught us about Targeting

I met a former employee who had gone on to succeed in the New Age business. She credited her success to a lesson she once learned from me.

I called it the “Guru’s Shoe.” It explained how a cult leader was able to build his following and attract donations by identifying his true prospective believers. 

It’s a lesson every entrepreneur should learn. Ditto: artists, writers and all salespeople.

The guru did this by having his devotees hold elaborate initiation ceremonies. At the end, the head initiator would say, "the Guru couldn’t make it today but if you would like to connect with his spirit you may kiss one of his sandals.” 

Most people were reluctant to do this and just walked away. The few who did were whisked away to a special meeting where they we elevated to higher level of welcome and identified as true supporters of the Guru’s mission. At least, that was my understanding of the lesson - that, and the fact that having only to provide a left sandal probably meant they could be bought at less than half the price of a full pair. 

However, it turns out that my one-time employee benefitted because she saw it completely differently.

“The power," she said, "is in the guru’s feet. That’s what the sandals are all about!”

That's she’s big in the New Age biz while I most assuredly am not - my cynicism was her catalyst to fame and fortune.

You take off when your beliefs match your marketplace - and you identify the people who get your story.

It is also how cross-pollination in entrepreneurship works.

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 21 Invite - "Are You Fundable?" Public Presentation

Please join me for one of my rare public presentations on what it takes for a Startup to get funded.

Register for free by clicking here

Learn more about the
Market New York Expo: Sales & Marketing for Small Business
Event Management | 866.44.EVENT (38368)

Monday, January 19, 2015

What Bushmen can Teach You about Finding Money & Bootstrapping

How Startups can Survive the Drought and Find Investors

All Startups will endure "the drought" - when customers are scarce and investors non-existent.The more you can successfully bootstrap the company, the more you impress potential Investors. If you want to know how to endure “the drought” and find the money, think of the Bushmen or San of the Kalahari Desert. They get rain during one season of year, and conserve what they can with little technology - for the rest of the time, as desert insiders, they know how to find water through alternative sources.

What if you are a newcomer - a Startup in the desert? How would you find water?

You do this by what might be called "Salting the Monkey."

San drinking from a tuber
After they have run out of watering holes, wet sands and water stored in buried ostrich eggs, the San extract moisture from tubers growing beneath the ground. It is about as close as this desert comes to a water cooler but only a native could find its sublimely subtle shoots and live off the moisture they have to scrape from it. Anyone else would expire, which explains why desert Insiders have an advantage.

How to “Salt the Monkey” to Find Money and Business

How would an Entrepreneur, stuck in this wilderness, tap the resources of the true insiders? Tribesmen from surrounding areas who find themselves in this situation use other animals like baboons to help them find these sources of water. They do this by trapping the baboons or monkeys and feeding them salt so they get thirsty enough to lead them to water.

All it requires is finding a monkey hangout, an anthill, some seeds (a shiny object works too), twine and the aforementioned salt. First, the visitor makes a hole in the cement-like anthill at about crouching height. Next, the visitor appears near the monkey and plays with his seeds, making sure to get its attention. With great showmanship that ensures the monkey observes, he places his hand in the amply sized hole and drops the seeds. Then he walks away. The monkey, being a highly curious creature, will head for the anthill once the tribesman has left the scene put his hand in and grab the seeds. However, in making the fist, the monkey finds the hole is not big enough to remove his hand bulging with the seeds. Since the curiosity of monkey so consuming, he cannot let go of the seeds - and so he is trapped. He feeds the monkey the salt and soon enough the thirsty creature leads him to an underground lake.

Finding a champion in the desert and inspiring them enough so they lead you to the critical resource is they way every savvy Entrepreneur has launched their Startup.