Raising More Funding Than You're Worth

I've come across a handful of ambitious entrepreneurs that are still in the idea or vision stage of their startup. Even if they're the only ones in the "company," they tell me they're taking meetings with investors to try to raise 1 million dollars (or more). 

To those that are in that boat, here is a recent response I shared via email:

Lowering the implied valuation and/or elevating the amount of equity you are offering is what will make the opportunity more compelling to an investor.

Think of it all as just a simple math problem. 

The amount you're asking for + the perceived business opportunity = current valuation

With the above formula, the amount you ask for is your future working capital, which you use to build (more) value into the company. But since you don't have any products or revenue yet, the amount you ask for is much more expensive than it would be if it were a post-revenue or post-user raise. 

For example, in order for an investor to get interested in something this early, they'd want at least 51% equity. That way, at least they'll have control of your great idea. For that, though, they won't even know how to evaluate your company without any financials, so they'll round up to some relatively low whole number like $50,000 and call it a day.  

Therefore, if you need $1 million, you better be worth at least that already. Otherwise, you either won't find an investor, or if you do, they'll be treating it more like a controlling acquisition of your idea/opportunity. 

If you are unwilling to accept such a low number, you need to PROVE how and why you're currently worth more than that. It's virtually impossible to raise any sum of money when you haven't built anything yet. No savvy investor will put more money into something than the entire company is worth. It would be considered a gift at that point. 

So my advice has always been to go out and create that value yourself. Now. 

  • Embody the brand you want to build everywhere you go.
  • Acquire a customer by forging a personal relationship with them. Repeat.
  • Learn to code (or build the product yourself).

Ultimately, there are plenty of better things to do today than to passively ask for capital. 

Your Own Version of Enough

Enough is designed to be relative. It's an imaginary line that tells us we're about to be overwhelmed with too much of something.

Enough should be made finite in your life. It can be based on what you think you need to survive.

  • How many pieces of furniture do you need in your home?
  • How much money do you require to live? 
  • How many close friends do you need to socialize with?

When these numbers match a real world value, you'll find great relief in life's simplicity. 

Having enough.... Now that's true success. 

Throw the Penny

I'm a believer in the notion that luck comes to those that prepare, show up, and remain open to receiving it. 

Good luck is having a penny in your hands while walking toward a fountain. 

All you can do is throw the penny. 

Leave the rest up to chance. 

Forever the Student, Forever the Teacher

Think back to that influential teacher during grade school. I bet you remember them clearly. 

Think about the mentor that welcomed you into the professional world. You'll never forget them. 

There's something always connecting our brains with those that impact us the most. We may look at our teachers as just that - someone that helps us learn, but an educational transaction is far more than that. 

Ask these inspirational teachers and mentors if they love what they do. I'd venture to guess that more than 95% (of the good memorable ones) will respond with a resounding "yes." 

Why is that?

Because they can trace their impact throughout eternity. They're making a mark on the world through human empowerment. They're leaving a legacy by proxy. 

It's a magical thing when inspired students feel this fulfillment by helping their peers. Once you experience the delightful overwhelm that is equipping others with tools to succeed, you will find more joy in your life and a purpose in your work. 

Not Confusing

"Not dirty" isn't the same as clean. 

Just like how "not light" doesn't suggest dark (or heavy). 

When marketing to the masses, it's tempting to move toward specificities. We hope to create messages that are familiar and easily identifiable. 

When we do this, though, we risk muddying the message for everyone else outside that circle. 

Make it relevant and relatable, but start by working on making everything "Not confusing" first. 

Then, calibrate from there.

Completing the Circle

When you close a complete loop, you're right back where you started.

When you are able to see the end approaching, and you love the enclosure you're in, you might want to turn around. 

Turn around and keep enjoying the moment. 

Your Memory in Moments

Facebook wisely announced a slew of updates at their F8 Conference this week. Among them was Oculus Go, a dating functionality, and increased privacy settings (of course).

One technological advancement that received less attention is their 3D Photo Memory capability.

facebook-moments.png

With this release, Facebook will essentially be bringing 3D illustrations and models to the News Feed. It’s also going to turn standard 2D photos into VR memories, or 3D environments you can explore using a pretty slick mosaic cloud design.

Facebook obviously wants to stay ahead of content visualization trends moving forward. It's these types of subtle improvements that will keep the moat around them when it comes to sharing personal moments for years to come. 

May 2018

I'm going to spare you from the popular gif that will tell you that "It's Gonna Be May," but the fact that we are already in the fifth month of the year is laughable in other ways. Where is the time going? 

Here is what I have on my calendar for the month:

  • May 3rd-6th: Sunfest
  • May 6th: Darcy Lynne at Broward Center
  • May 11th: Mike Birbiglia at Parker Playhouse
  • May 12th: Nick Swardson at Parker Playhouse
  • May 13th: Braves at Marlins
  • May 16th: Jersey Boys at Broward Center
  • May 19th: Justin Timberlake at BBT Center

There are a lot of great events scheduled for this month. I look forward to enjoying a great mix of music, sports, and performance entertainment this month. 

What about you?

What do you have planned in May?

may.gif

Compassion Before Action

With love comes empathy for others.

The path from empathy leads you to compassion.

Compassion is empathy in action.

If we don't allow the compassion to influence our thinking, our actions may be guided without enough context. Misinformed emotion is what triggers a potentially dangerous knee-jerk reaction. 

We could all use a little more compassion in our lives. 

The In-Between

As workers, we flock to the most exciting projects first. On a to-do list, it's alluring to cherrypick the items you want to work on most. 

On the other end of the spectrum, you're simultaneously inundated with "assignments." These are the projects your boss tells you to do, which coincidentally, are always due "ASAP." This forcing of work and the stress of the urgency, makes this type of work extremely undesirable.

So there we sit uncomfortably straddling the two extremes in the contents of our work. We juggle with our passion while maintaining a smile through work we dislike.

Unfortunately, throughout all of this, we forget about everything in the middle. There are undoubtedly smaller tasks, dependent side projects, and byproducts of all the other things that are keeping us busy. 

Convincing yourself, and sometimes your boss, that the in-between is an important treasure trove of necessary projects is a talent in and of itself. The ability to see them as if they are the legs of a table will surely establish the understanding that the other work can't stand on its own. 

So treat each day like a dance. Frolic back and forth through the contents of your work, but try not to turn a blind eye to the other important stuff you pass by when you do. 

There's This Bird

There's this bird that sits in a tree outside of my window every morning. Her subtle tweet sounds would normally be welcomed in any peaceful ambient environment, but as the first thing I hear, it serves as more of an alarm clock. 

She stays there, on the branch of the tree, for a few more hours - audibly chatting away with her surroundings. 

Then she leaves. 

This pattern repeats, and is essentially mirrored at the same time every single day.

This bird seemingly has no understanding of the construct of time. She moves and acts by feeling. 

And for whatever reason, she feels most comfortable in my tree in the mornings. 

Where does she go at around noon every day? I'm not sure. But I can guess that it's somewhere that she feels she is needed and welcomed. 

How Much is Left?

Rather than...

We've lost everything.

How about...?

What do we have left?


Rather than...

We're moving too slowly.

How about...?

What's one thing we can do to pick up the tempo?


Rather than...

This isn't going to work.

How about...?

How can we increase the probability that this is a success?


Positive questions in the face of doubt, lead to the more detailed answers that get you back onto the correct path toward success. 

De Minimis

Many tiny things bonded together equates to one giant thing. 

In fact, that's how the best organizations are run. Equal parts of value revolving around an illuminated and inspired structure. 

No one's saying the workers are small or unnecessary. But they don't have to be anything more than what they are. There's harmony in knowing where you create the most value. That's where you probably belong. 

Sometimes it's the little things that matter most.

We should try harder to not overlook that. 

The Mountain

You don't have to be at the summit to experience great views. 

Just look out. Not down. 

Don't look back. Look up.

It's your natural craving for more that will keep your feet moving. 

Don't go beyond your limits, though. Take it slow. Take it easy. 

There are so many others that aren't even on this same mountain. 

Make your climb different. Make it count. 

Hollow Bodies

At the core, central to everything that functions, the heart is the engine. 

Without a single passion or purpose, the system finds contentment in its emptiness.

It's about much more than a storage vessel.

Even if it weren't, find a way to fill it to the brim.

A List of Obligations

The best way for a busy professional to find their true purpose is to strip obligations from their regimen one-by-one. 

After all, when we're truly being, we forget about what we're actually doing. The outcome is action without too much thought and stress.

Thus, when you remove one of those "things," the resulting feeling will either be a liberation or an emptiness. 

It's an experiment in the measurement of stress, but more importantly, it's a path to identifying what makes you whole. 

Smiling Makes You Happier

It's not the other way around.

Therefore, if you can smile your way through the events of your life, you'll find yourself enjoying more moments. 

So please try to smile more.

What Makes a Man?

This might be my new favorite definition of what constitutes the way a man is supposed to be. 

A real man is a man that gives love that he never received.