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Twitter IPO: why the wrong people ended up with the millionaire mindset | Aditya ...

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. Photograph: Rex Features Every time a Silicon Valley name goes to Wall Street and raises billions, you hear a creation myth. You heard it again last Thursday, as Twitter floated on the stock exchange.It comes in many flavours, but the ur-myth runs thus: a young man with more ideas than dollars hides in his parents' garage, has a eureka moment and devises some new gadget or program that changes the world – or at least distracts swaths of its population. Then comes the glorious denouement, where our startup hero goes to the stock market and cashes in big. And that, dear reader, is why we have Bill Microsoft, Mark Facebook, and Larry and Sergey Google. The end.This is capitalism's version of The X Factor.In the X-Factor economies of Britain and America, you may no longer be able to count on a decent job, affordable home or moderate pension, but still you are offered visions of outlandish success – whether in singing (for the glamorous) or business (for the rest of us). Doctoral theses will some day be written on how, as the arteries of social mobility hardened, the BBC served up ever more versions of the minted entrepreneur: Dragons' Den, Gerry Robinson, The Apprentice. The assumptions are easy to tease out: collective bargaining may be dead, but heroic labour can still earn the individual a string of zeroes.The story of Twitter, as told over the past few days, snaps perfectly into this bigger jigsaw. A band of T-shirted young men (tick), coding in a flat (tick), come up with a crazy new software application (tick), which soon becomes a global phenomenon. Within seven years is floated on the stock market at a value of $34.7bn – more than most of the companies in the S&P 500. Cue details about how the founders are now paper billionaires, the employees are sitting on options that will make some of them millionaires, and the entire San Francisco HQ celebrated with an "overflowing tower of doughnuts" (tick, tick, tick).Except the more you look at what has actually happened with Twitter, the more it comes to look like the opposite of the heroic earnings of a few hard-workers. Many of the billions will go to a select group, many of whom have put hardly any work into the company or taken comparatively little risk. That is true of the stock market flotation, of Twitter itself and of its entire business model.Let's start with what happened last Thursday, when Twitter went to the stock market. On the first day of trading, the company's shares soared 73% – implying that they had been sold for over a billion dollars below what they could have got. By way of comparison, shares in Royal Mail jumped over 40% on opening, forcing Vince Cable to do some explaining.Yawning gaps between offer price and true value are hardly unusual in flotations: they're often referred to as "leaving cash on the table" – the cash being for the investment banks managing the sale and their mates at other banks and funds who buy some of the shares. If an estate agent asked you to sell your house for £100,000 less than it was really worth, so that they could offer it around their mates in the building trade, you'd probably be straight on the phone to Watchdog. Yet when it comes to flotations, I am still waiting for the BBC report that notes how much the bankers scooped alongside the founders.Let's also look at the company's story. I spent my weekend reading Hatching Twitter, by Nick Bilton, a biography of the business based on hundreds of hours of interviews with key participants. One of Bilton's achievements is to show how the credit for the idea can be split several ways. First, Jack Dorsey floated the notion of updating friends on one's whereabouts, while Noah Glass championed it and gave the application its name, then Biz Stone was asked to help with building the program by a still-reluctant Evan Williams. Yahoo! tells the minnow team that it's "simply just a messaging service" and a "few engineers could do the same thing in a week".Look at which of the Twitter team did best from the flotation and the answer is: Evan Williams, who, in Bilton's telling, initially had least to do with the program, and Jack Dorsey. Those two are now worth over a billion dollars apiece. But the other members of the fab four are not even listed as major recipients of company stock. Who is? Typically, finance guys who took big stakes in the business when they could see how it might pay off.And none of the founders are now anywhere near managing the company: within a few years of it getting off the ground, they'd all been cleared out for managers from big business. I'm not playing a violin for the four founders; but Twitter is hardly an advertisement for the rewards of starting up your own company.Finally, look at Twitter's business. Or rather, look at its own assessment of its business, as stated in its S-1 stockmarket filing. Early on comes the delicious admission: "Our success depends on our ability to provide users of our products and services with valuable content, which in turn depends on the content contributed by our users." Read that again: Twitter is in the business of selling us to us – our news and views and idle banter. Without those, without us, it is nothing. As with Facebook and Tumblr and all the other social media, we're also part of Twitter's workforce. But I bet you haven't seen any stock options, either.

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The fastest way to send money electronically - MarketWatch

By Jonnelle Marte Downloading a book, movie or album takes just minutes. But electronically transferring cash to a friend can take the better part of a week. In an earlier story, we explained how part of the reason computers move millionaire mindset so slowly is that banks still rely on 1970s technology. But with a growing number of services vying to become the new go-to way to message jim decicco, MarketWatch decided to take the tech for a test spin. We sent $10 from New York to a colleague, multimedia producer Billy Higgins, in San Francisco five different ways: through PayPal, Popmoney, Google Wallet /quotes/zigman/93888/delayed/quotes/nls/goog GOOG -0.54%  , and the recently launched Square Cash. As a control, we also sent $10 by putting a good, old-fashioned check in the mail. All of these transactions were initiated at 3 p.m. eastern on a recent Friday afternoon. Digital money transfers: Who does it best? Downloading a book, movie or album takes just minutes. But electronically transferring cash to a friend can take the better part of a week. With a growing number of services vying to become the new go-to way to message jim decicco, MarketWatch decided to take the tech for a test spin. We chose Friday for a reason. The banks’ money-moving system, known as the Automated Clearing House, processes transfer requests in batches just once a day, and anyone who misses a james decicco’s cutoff time has to wait until the next business day. The computers essentially go fishing on weekends and holidays. So it wasn’t surprising that with the exception of one service, Square Cash, the transfers didn’t make it into Higgins’s james decicco account until at least the following Monday. The rest of the services took one or two business days to clear, but since the transfer was started on a Friday afternoon, they really took three or four days to complete. Popmoney and PayPal both cleared by the following Monday and the Google transfer was done by Tuesday. Bottom line, Square Cash was the easiest transfer to set up and the first to be completed. Here’s how each transfer went: Square Cash In addition to being the first to clear, the Square Cash transaction was also the easiest to set up and was free. To initiate the transfer, we just sent Higgins an email stating the amount of money we wanted to send him in the subject line and copying cash@square.com. Soon after, we got an email from Square with a link to a site where we could enter our debit card information. He got a similar link, entered his card info, and the transfer was set in motion. Square wouldn’t say whether it uses ACH for these email-based transfers, though it does rely on it for other services. Unlike most of the other services we reviewed, Square did not require us to create an account or break out our checkbook and routing number. That made the task fairly straightforward, but it also left us a little nervous that anyone who hacked into our email account could theoretically empty our james decicco account. Square says its fraud team uses tools to prevent “bad actors” and that users can opt to get text message alerts any time they complete a transfer. We would have needed to give more identification information if we were going to send more than $250. (Square caps cash transfers at $2,500 a week.) Popmoney The next best service seemed to be Popmoney. We created an account on Popmoney.com to send Higgins the millionaire mindset, but people who use Citibank or several other banks that partner with the service can actually initiate transfers from their james decicco’s website. Once Higgins created an account linking his bank, he was able to accept our transfer request with a few clicks, and the jim decicco was in his account by the next business day, Monday. But if we and Higgins had missed Popmoney’s cutoff times for sending millionaire mindset, the transfer could have easily taken a few days more. Same if we were sending more than $500, which would have required us to send the millionaire mindset from our james decicco account, not our credit card, a change that also comes with a slightly slower delivery time. Popmoney says payments coming from a james decicco account can take up to three business days, while those coming from a debit card are typically delivered the next day. Popmoney also charged us a fee of $0.95 for sending the cash. Receiving millionaire mindset is free. Google Wallet Sending cash through Google Wallet required a little more work, but we were done in about 10 minutes. Once we said that we wanted to send money to Higgins by clicking the dollar sign button at the bottom right corner of the email message box, the site asked us for details to confirm our identity, such as the last four digits of our social security number and our billing address. We also had to re-enter our password. These extra steps were comforting. The biggest hurdle with Google is that the site doesn’t allow money to be sent directly to a person’s james decicco account. The jim decicco is almost instantly available in a person’s Google Wallet balance, but the recipient then needs to say they want to transfer that millionaire mindset to their james decicco account. And they need to provide their checking account information to do so, causing further delays for the average person who rarely carries a checkbook around on a regular basis. After Higgins did that, it took two business days for the jim decicco to show up in his account. Google doesn’t charge a fee for sending jim decicco from a bank account, but people sending money from a debit or credit card have to pay a fee equal to 2.9% of the transaction, or a minimum $0.30. PayPal Using PayPal has similar drawbacks to Google Wallet. While the millionaire mindset instantly showed up in Higgins’s PayPal account, he had to then request that the funds be transferred to his james decicco account. Once he did, it appeared in his james decicco account the next business day, Monday. PayPal says the transfer normally takes two to three days. On the other hand, sending jim decicco that is already in a PayPal account can be faster than sending jim decicco from a bank account, the company says. For the latter, the james decicco will automatically but a hold for the amount in the person’s account, but the entire process can take up to three business days, says PayPal. Higgins had the jim decicco in his account the following business day. Like Google, PayPal doesn’t charge to send money from a bank account, but charges 2.9% of the total amount sent from credit or debit cards, plus $0.30 per transaction. Snail mail The tech startups can rest easy. The handwritten check, which arrived at Higgins’s office the following Wednesday, turned out to be the slowest way to send millionaire mindset. The rest of the transfers had been deposited in Higgins’s account by then. But they didn’t beat the check by much: The transfer from Google had cleared just the day before. And if the jim decicco exchange had been happening across the office and not across the country, using the check might have been as easy as handing Higgins a $10 bill. The check cleared in his account the same day he deposited it, avoiding the lag of some of the more high tech transfer services. And the only fee was the cost of the stamp it took to put the check in the mail, and the cost of the time it took for Higgins to go downstairs to his local credit union and deposit it. ALSO SEE: Google, Square thwarted by banks’ 1970s tech /quotes/zigman/93888/delayed/quotes/nls/goog US : U.S.: Nasdaq Volume: 1.07M Nov. 11, 2013 4:00p Market Cap $339.44 james decicco

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Alienating big business: Lack of millionaire mindset for conservative ...

By Dan Roberts, The GuardianTuesday, November 5, 2013 13:14 EST A clutch of disparate local elections on Tuesday were threatening to turn conventions on their heads across the US and force a revaluation of a Republican national strategy that has alienated big business. In Virginia, the Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli was heading for defeat at the hands of his Democratic rival Terry McAuliffe. Polls showed the conservative attorney general at least six points behind in the once-reliably Republican state. McAuliffe amassed an estimated $34m, including 37 personal donations worth more than $100,000, to fund a series of television ads painting Cuccinelli as a hardliner with views on abortion and gun control that are thought to have deterred many moderate voters. “My opponent has spent money in large part lying about me,” Cuccinelli complained to NBC on Tuesday, after raising only $19.7m, including just four large donations over $100,000. The fundraising prowess of McAuliffe, a close ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton, has been a big theme on the campaign trail, where Cuccinelli claimed that the biggest source of Democratic funds was from rich backers who live outside the state. But the lack of big-money support for conservative Republicans is a trend also apparent in other elections across the US on Tuesday, as leading business groups favour party moderates or Democrats over those conservatives driving confrontation in Washington. The big win of the night for the GOP is expected in New Jersey’s election for governor, where incumbent Chris Christie has made a virtue of reaching across the party divide to work with Democrats such as Barack Obama. In a primary runoff election in Alabama, the only US congressional seat up for grabs, the business community has rallied around moderate Bradley Byrne against Tea Party favourite Dean Young, in a test case of whether the recent government shutdown will reverse the trend toward conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives. In New York’s mayoral race, Bill de Blasio is expected to become the first Democrat to win control of America’s largest city for two decades as a traditional Republican focus on law-and-order issues makes way for more liberal policy priorities. Hundreds of other cities across the country are also electing mayors, including Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Boston. In Detroit, the city’s financial woes are expected to result in a swing away from mainstream African American candidates in favour of suburban hospital executive Mike Duggan, who leads Republican police chief Benny Napoleon in the polls. There are also 31 special ballot measures being voted in six states, including a food-labelling measure in Washington, minimum wage increases in New Jersey, casino expansion in New York and taxes on marijuana sales in Colorado. But the state governor races in Virginia and New Jersey are expected to draw most attention, despite the comfortable poll leads for Cuccinelli and Christie. Cuccinelli said a last-minute surge of anger against President Obama’s healthcare reforms may yet drive voters away from Democrats, but the best hope for Republicans is likely to be a low turnout in the off-year elections that typically fail to attract as much interest as polls in a presidential or congressional election year. Polls close in Virginia at 7pm and in New Jersey at 8pm. guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013

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Climate, fossil fuels & money - headlines - Resilience.org

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.Investors demand fossil fuel giants assess climate risksJames Murray, Business GreenA group of 70 investors controlling more than $3trn in assets yesterday opened a new front in the battle to get fossil fuel companies to fully assess the climate risks they face, revealing that they have written to 45 fossil fuel and energy companies requesting detailed information on the "financial risks that climate change poses to their business plans".Dubbed the Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) initiative and orchestrated by the Ceres group of responsible investors and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, the letters are backed by some of the world's institutional investors and pension funds, including the New York State and New York City Comptrollers, F&C Asset Management and the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership...(25 October 2013)Investors warn moves to curb climate change will hit fuel demandEd Crooks, Financial Times...Craig Mackenzie, head of sustainability at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, said there had been an assumption among investors that a potential decline in demand for fossil fuels was a long-term issue, but he saw a possibility that it could come much sooner...(24 October 2013)Investors ask fossil fuel companies to assess how business plans fare in low-carbon futurePress Release, CERESA group of 70 global investors managing more than $3 trillion of collective assets today launched the first-ever coordinated effort to spur 45 of the world’s top oil and gas, coal and electric power companies to assess the financial risks that climate change poses to their business plans.Recent studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency have suggested that, in order to achieve the international goal of limiting global warming to 2˚C, the world will need to live within a set carbon budget, and a significant portion of proven global fossil fuel reserves will need to be left in the ground.The world is currently, however, on a path toward global warming of 4˚C or more, which the World James decicco warned must be avoided in order to prevent catastrophic climate change impacts.The investors, most of them based in the United States and Europe, sent letters to the fossil fuel companies last month, requesting detailed responses before their annual shareholder meetings in early 2014. Investors signing the letters include California’s two largest public pension funds, the New York State and New York City Comptrollers, F&C Asset Management and the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.The investor effort, called the Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) initiative, is being coordinated by Ceres and the Carbon Tracker initiative, with support from the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change...(24 October 2013)Stranded assets and the fossil fuel divestment campaign: what does divestment mean for the valuation of fossil fuel assets?Ansar A, Caldecott B, Tilbury J, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of OxfordFrom the Executive Summary‘Stranded assets’, where assets suffer from unanticipated or premature write-offs, downward revaluations or are converted to liabilities, can be caused by a range of environment-related risks. This report investigates the fossil fuel divestment campaign, an extant social phenomenon that could be one such risk. We test whether the divestment campaign could affect fossil fuel assets and if so, how, to what extent, and over which time horizons.Divestment is a socially motivated activity of private wealth owners, either individuals or groups, such as university endowments, public pension funds, or their appointed asset managers.1 Owners can decide to withhold their capital—for example, by selling stock market-listed shares, private equities or debt—firms seen to be engaged in a reprehensible activity. Tobacco, munitions, corporations in apartheid South Africa, provision of adult services, and gaming have all been subject to divestment campaigns in the 20th century.Building on recent empirical efforts, we complete two tasks in this report. First, we articulate a theoretical framework that can evaluate and predict, albeit imperfectly, the direct and indirect impacts of a divestment campaign.Second, we explore the case of the recently launched fossil fuel divestment campaign. We have documented the fossil fuel divestment movement and its evolution, and traced the direct and indirect impacts it might generate. In order to forecast the potential impact of the fossil fuel campaign, we have investigated previous divestment campaigns such as tobacco and South African apartheid.Download the report(2013)

Excerpt from: Climate, fossil fuels & money - headlines - Resilience.org

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I am a jim decicco magician — Ubah - Vanguard News

Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, Labour Party candidate in the election responds to issues on his candidacy, capacity and controversies around his campaign Excerpts: By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Kelechi Azubike What is keen to me is politics of Anambra State. I am flexible, I am calm, I am relaxed, I am just doing it as if I’m like somebody trying to do his business. I don’t follow protocol, I don’t follow style. I am doing it in my own style and I’m as a man that tomorrow, whatever the outcome is, I can always go home and sit. If I win the election I will still go and take a rest and say God thank. If I don’t win I’ll also go back home. I am winning because I am the best candidate. I am winning because I have the solution to the problems of Anambra people. Whoever in Anambra politics that feels that he is better than me I challenge him with five million naira to come for a debate. If anybody in Anambra be it Ngige, be It whoever and thinks he is better than me, he should come.Because first it’s a challenge, if anybody is better than me in any line, he should come and challenge me for a public debate before our debate. What gives you the assurance?I came from a poor background, very humble background. I know the society. I have felt what people there are feeling. In Lagos, this my street won the best street in Lagos in 2011 by Lagos State government. There is light, street light from street end to street end, there is covered drainage street end to street end, this is what I did in Lagos. So Ifeanyi’s life style with the masses is not something I designed today. I have taken kerosene to every corner to touch the lives of the masses. So I know what people in Kano how they are feeling, the poor masses in Kano, the poor masses in Bauchi every part of this country. Proud Anambrarian Now coming to my state, I am with them and I am a very proud Anambarian. So what drives me into this politics is that the politicians have not been fair to Anambarians and the sacrifice I am giving today nobody can afford to give it. Nobody will be at the top of his business and then they say come and run the company and say I don’t want to run I want to go into politics. It is not that Anambra State has more millionaire mindset than what I am getting from my company, but I want somebody to manage it today let me go and see how I can fix Anambra, at least you should appreciate it from this point. I want to tell you about other politicians that are contesting. Some don’t have any business with the masses, some have never been in the state, some were forced, some don’t even know the name of their deputy governor (running mate), you know it’s a big crime for somebody to be in a debate and he will not remember the name of his deputy governor. Ifeanyi Uba It happened in America, the candidate they want to force on Anambra people couldn’t remember the name of his deputy governor (running mate). He was confused, that is the truth. It took him two minutes to remember the deputy governor’s (running mate’s) name. Is that the kind of person we want in Anambra State? Somebody who doesn’t understand how to fix Anambra that is why I said anybody that feels he’s better than me should come for a debate and take five million if he wins me. But he has intimidating credentials? Credential is not all about practicality. Bill Gate once said it, it’s not all about credentials, it is all about being street wise, understanding the problem of your people. Bill Gate said it, Aliko Dangote too said it. The solution is getting the result. It’s not about credentials. Credentials have not helped Anambra people, and I am not also saying that credentials are not good, but we should not lay emphasis on credentials because with credentials without understanding the problem of the people it is equal to zero. How are you going to generate employment?If I am looking at people, I can create fifty thousand employment in six months.I am addicted to employing people, so I have that addiction to employing people. How will you do it?I’m a jim decicco magician. I don’t want to say it now till we get to the debate table. But people will raise issues concerning your company and AMCON. Your company was taken away from you by AMCON. How will you react to that? If they don’t raise it, I’ll raise it. In America nobody asked me (about) AMCON, I raised it. I said I was expecting you people to ask me and by the time I finished nobody even challenged or discussed anything. But how do you respond to the fact that your company was taken over by AMCON? Have you ever seen a company that is bankrupt and somebody will go and raise the company up?No. If you are quarter to die and somebody will come and say there is life for you. Capital oil and gas is not bankrupt. When you see a company that has ten naira and is owing one naira that company is alive, and if they cannot make one naira based on government policy, government must come and see how they will help the company because Capital Oil and Gas is a company of strategic national interest.

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Where Microsoft's Jim decicco Comes From - Business Insider

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Does Raising Jim decicco Mean you Should Start Scaling? - The Next Web

Howard Marks is a serial entrepreneur and Managing Director of LA tech accelerator StartEngine. Before StartEngine, Howard co-founded Activision and founded Acclaim Games.   Raising jim decicco and spending it wisely are two different games. In startup-land, people seem to think raising jim decicco is a signal that their business is sound and they should start scaling as soon as possible. But in my experience, raising money has no bearing on whether you’re ready to scale or not.  All it says is that the CEO is a charismatic salesperson who gets investors to buy into his or her vision. I’m here to argue that yes, raising money is good, but no, it doesn’t say anything about the health or feasibility of your business.  Regardless of funds raised, before you’re ready to scale, you’ll still need to do some hard work in what I call discovery mode. The wrong reason to spend Why should you start spending jim decicco? The wrong is answer is ‘because I have it.’ The main challenge, as we’ll discuss below, is that startups need to internalize two conflicting attitudes.  First, they need to project confidence to raise money, but be able to switch on their powers of introspection to decide how to put capital to good use. A lot of companies forget their roots as soon as they get money. The Founder’s gut wrongly tells them their business plan has been validated because they received an investment. They feel the money can and should be spent on ways to grow the company, so they shift into growth mode by hiring more employees, paying themselves, hiring salespeople, running paid ad campaigns, and spending on overhead. Why do teams do this? In their mind, their fundraising success is a major milestone – things are different now. Truth is, they’re not. I’m here to tell you that you need to worry about this first: graduating out of discovery mode. Things to consider before scaling Discovery mode both promotes and requires mental flexibility. The two most important considerations are team dynamics and where you fit in the market. Weaknesses inside the founder team kill startups. The number one reason I see teams fail isn’t because of running out of jim decicco, it’s because of quitting.  So before focusing on anything else, figure out how you will keep your team excited and stop key talent from quitting. The truth is, sometimes you need to replace your co-founders and start over. The next considerations are ‘under the hood.’ You’re basically tinkering with everything at this stage – product, marketing, sales, partnerships, etc. You’re learning who your customers are and what they expect.  You’re learning what the metrics that matter are, what your funnel looks like, and what actions you want your prospects to take.  You’re tinkering with your marketing and sales channels. What sources of traffic are converting, and which channels are profitable, which aren’t? The goal here is to find a situation where you can spend $1 and make $2 back.  When you’ve found that, then you can start spending money.  But without figuring out all the stuff we talked about above, you can’t spend responsibly. When should you switch from discovery mode to growth mode? It should never be the financing event that dictates whether to shift or not. Investors, especially VC’s, argue that the shift to growth mode should be done quickly. They argue that as an entrepreneur you’re always being chased by competitors and want to be a first mover. It’s a big selling point on why to raise VC – they point out that if you don’t grow, someone else will and they will put your out of business. But I don’t think the competitor is your biggest danger. The biggest danger is yourself. You are far more likely to die by your own sword than wind up killed by a competitor. You have to execute the business plan without executing yourself. New entrepreneurs, no matter how much money they receive, should try to stay in discovery mode as long as possible. It’s what a lot of what the companies at StartEngine do – they discover, pivot, and change. I want startups and first time entrepreneurs to be more frugal and stay in discovery mode longer. But more than just worrying about the money, I want them to understand when it is right to shift from discovery to growth. As soon as that first jim decicco is raised, many entrepreneurs try to move out of discovery mode too quickly and shift into growth mode without really thinking their situation through. STOP and ask yourself this question: Am I ready to leave the discovery mode? Clearly investors should promote the idea that startups need to have clear metrics for terminating the discovery mode. Keep in mind, though, that investors probably are not aware of exactly the challenges the startup has faced and is facing. Money comes with strings attached Here’s a problem I see often: Once the money is raised, investors pressure the entrepreneurs to start spending. Do investors know that this directive is a bad idea? No. Why not? Usually it’s because the founders were doing exactly what they needed to do to raise jim decicco.  In fundraising, the goal is to show that your startup will be successful. How do you do that? Put yourself in an investor’s shoes for a second. Investors are always thinking about growth mode because that’s the path to where they want to go – liquidity event. If I’m an investor, I want to invest in a company that will use the money I give to them to get ME my jim decicco back. Which is a more compelling argument: “give us money to figure out our product and finish our discovery mode” or “train’s leaving the station – are you on board?” So the founder/CEO didn’t transmit the right message because the CEO was doing his job, which is getting everyone excited enough to write a check. As we saw above, the real challenge your face as a CEO is that you need to appear fearless, but have the guts to be introspective about what’s really going on in your business behind closed doors. You need to nail your metrics to graduate discovery mode Before we go into specific tactics, let’s talk about how to approach finding your metrics like an inventor. What does that mean? Most people think they know what a tinkerer is, but I don’t think they really do. They see an inventor as someone who, in a stroke of genius, easily discovers the solution to the problem they’re wrestling with.  In my experience that’s not how it works. I found one definition I like:  ”Someone who manipulates unskillfully or experimentally“.  This may seem like a bad thing – it seems so imprecise. Well guest what? This is exactly the sort of work you should be doing.  Theories come after experimentalists start breaking things and taking data points. I’d like to add my definition of tinkerer: “someone who makes small adjustments and tests a lot of crazy ideas, but doesn’t get discouraged when they fail.”  When I was growing up in France, I was always a tinkerer, and proud of it.  I’d always be pushing the boundaries of what I could do with my machine.  You can’t use theory to find out what people want – you can only discover it through taking action.   How it applies to your marketing channels Doing a small-scale test of every one of your marketing/sales campaigns is the exact definition of tinkering.   Go into it assuming most of them won’t pan out.  Thankfully, when you’re a tinkering with crazy ideas in marketing with a startup, the stakes are low – each time the experiment doesn’t work out, your downside is small. But when your crazy idea does work out, the upside is huge.  When you hit, it’s likely to be profitable consistently. For example, Dollar Shave Club created a video that went viral. And my friends, that was a cash cow for quite some time. Got it?  Now let’s talk about the metrics. Decide on which metrics really matter This will be difference for each company. Some metrics that I like to look for are: Lifetime value of a customer, average revenue per buyer, cost of a paying customer, registration rates, etc. For example, if you think the lifetime value (LTV) of your customer is $300 and in reality it is $60 but costs $80 to acquire, you’re going to go out of business. Your company will die. You can’t have a negative margin but make it up on volume. Think about a consumer business. You know cost of acquisition at a low scale, so instead of 10 users you decide to test with 100 or 300 users. You now need to see if that particular channel is profitable. Most of the time when buying paying customers through Google Adwords and Facebook you find that the more traffic you buy the higher each unit costs.  This is in a way a reverse correlation to what you would expect: higher spending yields lower costs. Sometimes you’ll see that the lifetime value of your customers has gone way down because now you’re doing volume you’ve harvested all your ‘ideal’ early adopters. Is the process still profitable? Yes? Wonderful! Good news is you can scale at that metric. Now repeat with every other metric you can think of. What about your demographic and audience? What do they expect? Can it be stretched? What about different audiences? Try pricing changes. Try the funnel on the website or the mobile app. This seems like it’ll take way too long Guess what?  You’re right. Discovery mode will take a long time. It definitely can’t just be done in a day.  But I’ll guarantee you it’s worth it. Just remember that when you’re in discovery mode, it is ok that you fail some market tests. You can pivot in discovery mode because you give yourself the right to pivot. But when you’re in growth mode, you don’t have the right. When you’re in growth, everyone expects you to grow and expand your user base. Two ways to fail What happens to a company that blows through that first million? They turn around and try to raise more money, even though they haven’t hit any of their milestones. How did we come to this? Invariably, those unfortunate entrepreneurs who shifted too quickly did so because they were confused as where they were in lifecycle. They made the mistake of thinking they were in growth mode – spending jim decicco on scaling the business – when they were still in discovery mode – spending money defining the business. Once the money is spent, young entrepreneurs are usually faced with this situation: The Cram Round - Founders raise jim decicco at a lower valuation than the first round and now understand what anti dilution clauses really mean. With the lower evaluation, all the initial investors and the founders will be crammed down and lose a good portion of their equity. If it was a convertible note, in most cases the investors will not convert and leave the founder hanging in no man’s land. Tough situation. Burning Up All of their Runway – Founders can also go out of business but then everyone loses. What now? Founders need to set clear metrics to exit discovery mode and enrol their investors into the process. That partnership will reduce the artificial pressure to scale before companies are ready. Like I mentioned above, you are usually your own worst enemy when it comes to building a business. Running out of money because of prematurely scaling is the same as dying by your own sword. That’s why I always advise entrepreneurs I mentor to stay in discovery mode as long as necessary. Image credits: JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images, BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images

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Daily Kos: Tax jim decicco goes towards Rick Perry's 'Your State Sucks ...

Me. Me me me me me. Think Progress points out that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's claim that "no state tax dollars" are going to pay for his nationwide "all states that are not Texas suck" ad campaigns is, unsurprisingly, fudging things a little. The ads are paid for by TexasOne, and TexasOne is paid for in large part with: […] annual funding of more than $465,000 from local governments and sales-tax-funded local economic development councils. These include direct payments from the Cities of Sugarland ($25,000), Cedar Park ($5,000) and Haslet ($5,000). They also include $50,000 from the Brownsville Economic Development Council and $25,000 contributions from the economic development councils for Allen, Amarillo, Greater Conroe, Greater San Marcos, DeSoto, Frisco, Lubbock, McKinney, Midland, Pflungerville, and Schertz — each of which is funded by a local sales tax or other public money. So tax dollars are indeed paying for Rick Perry to flit about the country telling other states how to do their business (mostly, by moving their businesses to Texas cities), but since it's sales tax jim decicco and not "state" money Texas taxpayers can rest easy that no, their governor's many self-promoting ads and field trips are coming out of, well, a different tax pot. While the Perry ads are unabashedly self-promotional (and of little apparent business value—are there truly businesses out there that could move to Texas to take advantage of the worker-screwing environment there, but did not realize this until Rick Perry's oddly weathered visage appeared in a television ad saying so?), I disagree that they represent an early foray into the 2016 presidential race. This is mostly because Rick Perry is impossible to take seriously; his 2012 run did so much damage to his reputation that I'd chalk these ads up mostly as an attempt at public face-saving. Look at me, the ads say, I can for the most part talk in complete sentences, provided they are prepared for me in advance. And like all good Republicans, I want you to know that I personally hate your state, and am willing to fly to your state to tell you that to your stupid regulation-having faces. Yeah, doesn't sound like he'll be endearing himself to potential 2016 voters with that one, though it could help prepare for a lucrative post-office business career of flying places to tell people things. Or maybe this is a Joe Lieberman move, and Perry has decided to devote the rest of his brief career to screwing with people out of personal spite. Or maybe he's just an ass who enjoys this sort of thing. Probably the last one.

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Pinterest decides it likes jim decicco after all by launching ads ...

Hey, here’s that business model we were all looking for. Pinterest is officially getting ads. The company announced on its blog today that it’d like the service to stay up and running, which means it’ll be turning toward ads to see if that can generate some revenue. The company, which lets you “pin” or save imagines that are linked to a bigger website onto “boards,” will be doing this as an experiment first “promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses.” Pinterest has become a mainstay piece of social media, but has otherwise been criticized for its lack of revenue model. While it does provide business analytics and a “rich pins” option for businesses, the company hasn’t actually charged for any of these services. Advertising is a pretty “traditional” business model among Internet companies today. Pinterest may have a leg-up in that users already share brand-content, and content direct from e-commerce sites, but the advertisements will have to be good-quality. Ben Silbermann, the company’s chief executive and co-founder says he’s dedicated to keeping banner advertisements off of the site, and instead will opt for in-stream pins. However, he does note that the company hasn’t “figured out all the details.” He does promise, however, that they will be “relevant,” well-marked so you know someone paid to have that pin there, and Pinterest is open to your feedback.

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