Saturday, October 11, 2014

Danielle Brody Debuts on iBreakfast - The Lessons from Peter Thiel

Dear Reader - it is with pride and delight that I introduce me daughter, Danielle, the journalist and graduate of U. Delaware (the home of Joe Biden and tangentially, Bob Marley....!) who is now covering the digital media and Startup scene.

Danielle's first post on Peter Thiels' speech at Columbia and a review of his book Zero to One have made quite a stir!

See for yourself:

When the man behind PayPal and Facebook talks, we listen

Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, spoke in conjunction with the release of his new book Zero to One last week at Columbia University. As an investor and entrepreneur, Thiel based the book on a course he taught at his alma mater, Stanford. Lucky for us, he pretty much gave the Cliff Notes of his book, which came out in the middle of September. But we suggest you read it anyway (we don’t want to hear any of those excuses about how you couldn’t “find the book” or the bookstore “didn’t have it yet.” We’re past that now.)
While not for everyone, Thiel calls himself “contrarian,” peeking into his libertarian ideals to tell you a lot about the way investors think.
For now, here are some takeaways from his recent talk at Columbia, in a list format. (It’s also free with no ads, which CliffsNotes doesn’t even offer.)
1. If you didn’t create Google, you aren’t going to
“I think that all the sort of ‘great moments’ .....
Continued on Jay Melone's, The New Haircut Blog

For a full report of Peter Thiel's speech at Columbia - her sample. (Go to Danielle's blog for more!)
Peter Thiel Discusses Zero to One at Columbia
Hours after PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel provocatively proclaimed Twitter to be “run by potheads,” he kicked off the release of his new book at Columbia University. The entrepreneur, investor and author shared his “contrarian” ideas from Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
“Tell me something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on,” is one of Thiel’s favorite interview questions, he said, hinting at his innovative yet unconventional opinions and affinity for nonconformity.
Click for more more
[Originally written for Office Lease Center's blog]



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Invite to my UN Panel Tomorrow on Global Entrepreneurship


Please join me tomorrow at this Global Conference. Free to readers of this blog. Must preregister.

2014 World Forum on the Diaspora Economy
"Creating New Capital, Jobs & Wealth North-South"

When:  Friday 19, September 2014, 3pm - 6pm
Where: United Nations Headquarters, ECOSOC CHAMBER
Brought to you by the Financing for Development Business Advisory Group (FfD-B.A.G)
Please join my panel at 4pm. (See details below)
The conference is free to attend.  RSVP is necessary for guests outside of the United Nations
RSVP here or reply to reg@ibreakfast.com by Sep 18. 


FRIDAY - United Nations 
SEP 19th, 3 - 6pm





Peter Thiel Speaks at Columbia: Contrarian, Aspergers and One-of-a-Kind



PayPal founder and Facebook investor opened up to an auditorium full of Columbia students last night.

His most compelling observations seemed to be that conformity is the enemy of Entrepreneurship and the high occurrence of Asberger types in the Entrepreneur camp. He also noted that capitalists are anti-competitive in the sense that they are always looking for monopolies - but you already knew that!

It would be hard to draw everyman lessons from what he said, except that when it comes to Entrepreneurship, being out of step with everyone else may be the first sign that you are on the right track.

It's a tricky lesson because being a contrarian doesn't also make you right. But Thiel has made billions by placing big bets on those rare people who can seem wrong but also be so defensibly right. Facebook was unfundable for its first two years - in both Boston and New York - but Thiel wasted no time writing the first $500,000 check before anyone else did.

His craziest bet - at least according to his limited partners - was Elon Musk's Space X. Aside from the fact that he knew Musk as a fellow PayPal founder, when he looked deeper into the business, it made a ton of sense. They had a champion at NASA who was happy to order rockets and who also got Uncle Sam to pay up front. SpaceX, as it turns out, was a great cash flow deal hiding under space exploration! As for PayPal, they were really out to create a new currency but tat the same were responding to a need created by eBay - how to make online payments to individuals.

On a personal level, Thiel is a Stanford grad, lawyer and chessmaster, who hated lawfirms and had an early life crisis that drove him to the "wild west" of the Internet.

If you had to draw an inference from his somewhat rambling philosophy of investing - what he looks for is something like this: a well-structured renegade thinker who has taken on a challenge that could go big and that has no easy competitor.

This sounds obvious enough until you realize that few investors go with renegade because they tend to go with what they know and understand. But we all know that the next big thing never is. As for the renegades themselves, let's just say they are not the most outgoing people either. Hence the title of the book One to Zero - as in one of a kind.

Fortunately, there are more conventional ways to understand Investors. You can get an insight on the rules and mindset of the Investor community from my forthcoming book Are You Fundable? which will be released - finally! - in early October.




Monday, August 25, 2014

July/Aug Startupalooza Results

The judges were impressed with the high quality of pitches at the July 25th event.


Winner: Flower Turbines - vertical windpower with aggregation leverage

  

Here is an explanation of how the investors ranked the top picks based on our textbook Are You Fundable? 
  
Background
When Investors look at a startup up they value the idea and the entrepreneur at a ratio of roughly 40% (idea) to 60% (entrepreneur/management).
  
When we ask Investors to rank Startups, they are looking at the idea and then the presentation to help determine their estimate of the management and their likelihood to execute.
  
The Entrepreneur estimate is a hierarchy described in Are You Fundable?  
  
The Idea evaluation is generally based on a 3 dimensional model we call the 3 Bills, that asks:
  
Bill #1. How many uses are there for this idea? (From William Whewell’s Theory of Induction)
  
Bill # 2. What is the simplest useful expression of this idea? (Occam Razor’s or William of Occam’s Law of Simplicity)
  
Bill #3. Who will pay the bill for it? (Does it serve an investor with high growth/returns, a sponsor or strategic partner- and how much?) 

RESULTS

Winner: Flower Turbines - vertical windpower with aggregation leverage
This is clearly a powerful idea - assuming the patents check out under due diligence. The question is one of execution. Can the entrepreneur, coming from an academic environment, assemble a management team that can roll this out? (Bill #1 and #2 are well covered, but Bill #3 is an open question.)

Runners Up:

Potboiler – visually optimized books for mobilephones
The pitch focused on creating custom, self tested content instead of a publishing platform for proven
content. Management complicated this assessment by virtue of having a tech rather than publishing background. (Bill#1 is good Bill #2 is questionable and Bill #3 therefore challenged.)

Celebdare –crowdfunding site based on publicity challenges
This is all about Bill # 2 – a simple, catchy idea. But where do you go with this (Bill #1)? And that puts pressure on Bill #3 – as in, who will pay for it?

90Grand – Hotel loyalty program with premium photographs
This is all about Bill #2 and #3 – a simple idea that is well paid for by sponsors and customer upsell. But where do you go with this (Bill #1)? For that reason, investors see this as a good business but one with an inherent limitation.


We hope you will be joining us again on September 10th.


ENTREPRENEUR
AVERAGE
IDEA
PRESN
FUNDABILITY
90Grand
22
7
7.714285714
7.333333333
Ameizen LLC
17.57142857
5.857142857
5.888888889
5.5
Anonygo
14.16666667
6
5.5
5.4
CelebDare
18.66666667
6.5
6.571428571
5.666666667
Central E inc
11.33333333
5.2
4.4
3.5
Digital Oxygen Corporation
10.66666667
6.5
5
4.5
ebindle Inc.
17.83333333
6
6.375
5.5
Flower Turbines
23.42857143
8.285714286
8.142857143
7
ideaphore
13
6
5.8
4.75
Just Keep Moving Fitness
21
7
7.8
6.25
Live Dating Advice
18
6
6.25
5.75
MusicSUBMIT LLC
18.5
6
6
6.5
MySportsore
19
6.6
6.333333333
5.8
Package Park
14.6
5
4.5
3.6
Potboiler LLC
21.83333333
7.333333333
7.428571429
7.166666667
See
11.2
5.5
5.2
3.5
WasteGate LLC
15.6
5.4
5.833333333
4.6
Wonderreel/The Center for Intentional Media
20.66666667
7.5
6.714285714
6.333333333
Woxxer, Inc.
13.33333333
6.4
7
6.8






July 1st Startupalooza Results

The judges were impressed with the high quality of pitches.

As a result, we had a very tightly contested finish with 5 finalists in the final shoot-out.

Nestor – A.I. article summary engine
Polysuites - web browser optimized for multi-page viewers
Kidklass - listing for after-school activities
Club Fashionista - fashion blogger aggregator

Congratulations to the winner: Mosa Mack interactive school science teaching site

The winner earns an appearance at the next Private Equity Forum at the Yale Club.

We hope you will be joining us again. Our next event is at the end of July.


ENTREPRENEUR


FUNDABLITY







AVERAGE  Idea Presentation Execution
Auto Care



17 6.4 6 5.6
Banana Bandana



5.857142857 3.25 2.75 3
Club Fashionista



20.57142857 5 5.5 5
CopyShoppy



17 6 5.25 6
Creative Group



17.5 6.3 6.3 6.7
CrowdsUnite



13.71428571 6.7 6.3 4.75
FunFitFun



9.333333333 3 1 4
Good News Broadcast



14.83333333 5 4.3 4.7
HomeKeepr



17 6.4 6.4 5.8
JKM Fitness



17.4 7 6.7 6.7
Kidklass



20.66666667 6.4 6.8 7
MCAlert



11.57142857 5 4 4.3
MosaMack



20.75 7.5 7 5.5
Nestor



7.5 5 7 6
Phone Labs



20.4 5.7 6 6
PolyInnovations



14.6 4 6 3
PolySuite, LLC



21 5.3 7 7
Re:Fresh



5.5 2.5 1.3 1.5
Samebug



13.8 5.3 5 6.3
Teem'd



16 5.4 5.4 5
WasteGate LLC



18 6 5.3 5.7


May Startupalooza Results


Spring brings another Startupalooza with over 30 presenting companies.

Here are the resuts of the May 28th event at Hive@55.
 
Winner:  Choice Appointements 
CRM for the multibillion independent beauty parlor industry.
Finalists:
EventCombo
Infomous
Teem'd
WR1
The Judges Scoring Breakdown:


ENTREPRENEUR

FUNDABLITY







AVERAGE IdeaPresentationExecution
AMARAMCO


17.255.85.45.2
Choice Appointments


17.8756.465.4
Eagre Games


10.62553.84
Event Combo



22.75877
Freshnet


14.125564
Goodnews Broadcast


14.8755.257.77
Infomous


12.428571437.578
LGBTQutie.com

8.75574.7
LipsInc LLC


6336
Loyallee


9.57142857144.753.75
Mobile POS


8.256.555.5
Scriggler


7.75880
Timeline Genius

7.375665
Tomsoft


5.25655
Teem'd


3.875665
UNIcre8


5.75445.5
Wastegate


7.666666667
75.5
WR1



8.571428571
98