Taking today off

No blog post today. Back on Sunday or sooner.


blogs.wsj.com – The ‘Billion-Dollar Startup Club’ (Unicorns)

rainbow_unicorn_by_izumininjastar-d4ihrlcInfrequently, we hear about the so-called Unicorns, those that make the “Billion Dollar” valuation — before IPO! The Wall Street Journal has collected their names for the record. It is worth noting the oldest was founded in 1995 (Fanatics & Intarcia), the newest 2012 (Snapchat). The list is interactive.

Introducing WSJ’s ‘Billion-Dollar Startup Club’ Interactive
The interactive chart

Grove – What Are Your Hiring Criteria?

help_wanted_signHiring is an unpleasant course for employees; they often feel threatened with thought “Will I be replaced?”. Even in fast growing companies, passing the hat (or a blank sheet of paper), gets sparse results. This article takes a slightly different, but better approach that finds it’s roots in agile.

FWIW: The use of “are” in the title is to reflect the plural use of You (or Your), which is correct in english, but often misused. That is to say, they title addresses multiple people at the same time, and not just one person. As such, the use of “are” is correct.

Important Tools to remember

  • Stickies and Sharpies
  • Qualifying & Disqualifying Criteria
  • Write it Down.
What Are Your Hiring Criteria?

Grove – Getting to No: The Key to Startup Selling

sequoia-274156_640Recently, I found a blog from Sequoia Capital. Articles appear to be random, and vary in usefulness.

If you are unfamiliar with the word Sequoia, the name gets it’s origin as the name of a tree genus. Generally, when most people think about the word they think Sequoiadendron giganteum or Sequoia sempervirens – both are the Redwoods native to northern California. But the Sequoia sempervirens, or the Coastal Redwood, is the only Redwood native to Silicon Valley. You can find it behind Stanford University and in Woodside, which is directly west of Redwood City – another VC haven.

Image complements of http://abebooks.com/

Image complements of http://abebooks.com/

The article below is from that blog. It promotes a sales strategy that varies (a bit) from a similar sounding title — Getting to YESIn “Getting to Yes”, it’s about building the synergy to get a YES answer. This article explains in plain english, why you want to get to NO, and how to get to it.


Getting to No: The Key to Startup Selling

Angle Investors Lists

blue_angelsThe first three (3) links are based on this cbinsights report:

Biz Journals (SJ Mercury) writes about the report:

Here are CB Insights’ top 20, which is 1 percent of the 2,000 angels it studied. One caveat is that the study only looked at a relatively small slice of the actual number of people in the U.S. who have made angel investments, which is estimated to be about 756,000.


20 Most Active Angel Investors
Marc Benioff, Ashton Kutcher, Jack Dorsey – see who made the top 20 Angels list
Celebrities among the top 20 angel investors

  1. Naval Ravikant
  2. Tim Ferriss
  3. Esther Dyson
  4. Ashton Kutcher
  5. Marc Benioff
  6. Jack Dorsey
Need to Find Angel Investors? Start With this A to Z List

  • 55 Angels listed
The 50 Early Stage Investors In Silicon Valley You Need To Know
  1. Marc Andreessen
  2. Mike Arrington
  3. Marc Benioff
  4. Michael Birch
  5. Jim Breyer
  6. Paul Buchheit
  7. Steven Chen
  8. Jeff Clavier
  9. Ron Conway
  10. Adam D’Angelo
  11. Jack Dorsey
  12. Tim Draper
  13. Josh Elman
  14. Paul Graham
  15. Seth Goldstein
  16. Georges Harik
  17. Kevin Hartz
  18. Rob Hayes
  19. Reid Hoffman
  20. James Hong
  21. Ben Horowitz
  22. Charles Hudson
  23. Mitch Kapor
  24. Jawed Karim
  25. Manu Kumar
  26. David Lee
  27. Max Levchin
  28. Ben Ling
  29. Joe Lonsdale
  30. Mike Maples
  31. Marissa Mayer
  32. Dave McClure
  33. Dave Morin
  34. Chamath Palihapitiya
  35. Sean Parker
  36. Mark Pincus
  37. Shervin Pishevar
  38. Keith Rabois
  39. Naval Ravikant
  40. Kevin Rose
  41. Chris Sacca
  42. David Sacks
  43. Joshua Schachter
  44. Eric Schmidt
  45. Aydin Senkut
  46. Tina Sharkey
  47. Biz Stone
  48. Jeremy Stoppelman
  49. Garry Tan
  50. Peter Thiel
  51. Evan Williams


International Fraud a Foul

Lego_Millennium_Falcon_from_FlickerSeveral days ago, CitiGroup settled on penalties (reportedly $7 Billion) for wrong doings. What will come of this is hard to say. Perhaps the business schools will realize that monolithic corporations encounter too much risks to be viable.

As for fraud and how it might affect a startup and entrepreneurs, it is not always obvious. We, of course, know of the random fraud by con-men hawking vaporware; there is even the occasional CXO f’ing friends and family, and the even rarer CXO committing consumer fraud.

A broader fraud internal to the system is worst. Yes Bernie Madoff is the classic example, but a fraud that spans international borders, internal safe guards, buckles regulatory framework, and sends waves throughout the system, that is worse. Such is the fraud within Citicorp.

Banamex ATM in  Barra de Navidad, Jalisco complements of tomzap.com

Banamex ATM in
Barra de Navidad, Jalisco
complements of tomzap.com

In 2001, Banamex was acquired by Citigroup. From 2001 to 2014 Citigroup tried to get the Mexican bank group to modernize so it could place modern safety checks in place. It did not happen. Late in 2013, Citigroup realized a serious issue. Early in 2014, it made it known to the world that $400 million was missing. By May it had no choice but to fire eleven executives without PENSION! This issue will cause Citigroup and the rest of the industry regulatory issues for years.

If that was not enough on June 11, 2014, the New York Times reported suspicions on large stockpiles of copper and aluminum sitting at port. The suspicions are that a Chinese company pledged the same stockpiles as collateral for multiple loans. The division with this issues is Citic Resources, part of the state-controlled conglomerate Citic Group. This is worrisome since China has an estimated total outstanding credit of more than 220 percent of gross domestic product last year — up from 130 percent in 2008. The worry, of course, is how many others have done this.

image complements of flicker Ingot in fort Lauderdale, Fl.

image complements of flicker
Ingot in fort Lauderdale, Fl.

The report said Decheng Mining was suspected by the authorities of having pledged the same stocks of the metals — about 100,000 tons of aluminum and 2,000 to 3,000 tons of copper — as collateral for multiple loans, amassing bank debt exceeding 1 billion renminbi ($160 million). Phone calls and emails to Decheng’s parent company, Dezheng Resources, went unanswered on Wednesday.


Meet Benedict Van, the con man of Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley Hustle: Former Motionloft CEO Accused Of Defrauding Investors
Silicon Valley tech bigwig arrested for fake barcode Lego scam

Banamex Said to Snub Citigroup Oversight as Fraud Mounted – Bloomberg
Citi Fires 11 More in Mexico Over Fraud – NYTimes.com
Banks Fear Missing Collateral in China – NYTimes.com