Dan Snyder is Proof That Luck Can Be a Cruel Mistress

In Business, luck can be a cruel mistress. Too often, good luck can be mistaken for brilliance. Take the case of Daniel Snyder. He sold a schlock telesales operation and made hundreds of millions of dollars. Since then he's demonstrated his brillance in multiple ventures: In 2005, he began accumulated stock in Six Flags until he gained control of the board. He installed a buddy as CEO and named himself Chairman. In 2009 the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Under the reorganization plan, Snyder was removed and lost his entire investment. A real businessman, named Bill Gates, owned 10,210,600 shares worth about $122 million when Snyder took control of the company in 2006. They were worth nothing by the time Snyder was ejected from the board. That's $122 million that the Gates Foundation could have used to eradicate malaria. Thanks, Dan! In 2006 he bought and nearly destroyed Johnny Rockets, and dumped it in 2013. In 2007 he paid $175 million for the rights to own and destroy Dick Clark products, which he later sold in 2012. But no failure has been more evident than what he has done with the Redskins, something I've been documenting for years. Brand Management:...

Marcus Bullock – A Real Startup Founder and Ex-Con

Marcus Bullock is the real deal. The deck is stacked against him from achieving anything of note. Yes, this man, conquered the odds and has built a life of value. I often write about the phony startup founders and future convicts. The conman and clowns of DCTech. Today I'd like to go the other way, with a real man, the real deal who has sinned and paid for his sins and today is working to change the world. Marcus Bullock is an activist for criminal justice reform. He's a man who spends his time giving back to the community by teaching entrepreneurship to the incarcerated. This man started a home contracting business and hires ex-cons. He gives them the chance to live productive lives. Ex-convicts with purpose and careers have lower rates of recidivism. Marcus's company Flikshop fills a critical need to help incarcerated citizens keep in touch with their families. These are the kind of connections that give people hope and the motivation to leave prison and never return. I'm proud to call this man a friend and an inspiration. Watch Marcus's Ted Talk and learn how he as a 15-year-old made a monumental mistake and yet didn't let that define him. See...

In with Amify and Out with Trustify

Remember back a few years ago, when Trustify was a thing? Back then Danny Boice and Jennifer Mellon were spending their investor's money like drunken sailors. With big fanfare and much press, these two crooks announced their big office opening on the 8th floor of 201 12th St. South in Crystal City. Then all of a sudden, the companies phones were turned off and one day, people showed up for work and the locks were changed. Trustify was evicted for non-payment. Boice, Mellon and the company were sued by their Landlord, JBG Smith and smith was awarded $263,477.21 by the courts. If you aren't up to date on the Trustify Debacle, it's a long story. Trustify was a start-up that got lots of local and national hype for being the next Uber. It was the Uber of Private Investigators because just like Uber, a thing that users use multiple times a month, everyone needs a private eye two or three times a week. This company raised $20 million dollars and cheated investors out of all that money. Founders Jen Mellon and Danny Boice did not try to build a legitimate business. They built a company that looked shiny, allows them to...

Cranky Old Fart as Product

You can't sell to everyone. Your products and services aren't right for all people or companies. So why are you spending so much time presenting a homogenized, milk toast, bland, offend-no-one image? Why are you so afraid of offending the people who make crappy customers? When I work with clients and ask them who are their best customers, they can answer quickly.  When I ask, who are your worst customers, they can rattle off a list faster than my brother-in-law heads for the bathroom when a waiter lays down the dinner bill. When I ask them what traits do they have in common, their answers come more slowly. Talking about good or bad customers is an abstraction. The human mind doesn't do well when making decisions based on abstractions. Here is a trick that can turn that abstraction into something more concrete. Try this trick. It's important to list the characteristics that make a great customer. For instance for me, here are a  few of the traits of a great coaching client: Never Knows Enough Seeks Unvarnished Feedback Runs a Healthy Growing Business Reads Non-Fiction Loves What They Do Make your list. Is every trait equally weighted? Of course not. Try to assign weights to...

Are You A Business Chef Or Cook

In business, there are many buckets in which we can categorize people. One of my favorites is Chef or Cook. Chef (AKA Strategist) - A Chef is creative. They are motivated by intrinsic forces That is they are driven by satisfying the internal need to discover, to learn, to do that which has never been done, to create. They do what makes them happy. Great startup, entrepreneurial CEOs are usually Chefs, they have a unique vision, the need to do what hasn't been done. They don't follow the well-worn path, they blaze the new path. Cook (AKA Executioner) - A Cook is an operator. They are extrinsically motivated. They are motivated by external rewards or avoidance of punishment. A cook doesn't mind doing the same thing over and over again. If there is a pot of gold at the end of the task, they will do that task over and over again and do it well. Being A Chef is a good thing. Being a Cook is a good thing. One is not better than the other just like an Apple isn't better than an Orange or just like a 3rd baseperson (there goes Mr. PC Cranky) s not better than...

From Black and White Binary to Grey-ish

My Dad was extremely literal. You know the type. If I asked him if I could go outside and play, he'd answer, "I don't know can you?" Because I didn't ask for permission, I asked his opinion about my capabilities. If he called someone on the phone, and they said, "May I ask who's calling," he'd respond, "Yes," and sit through for what felt like eons of uncomfortable silence as my Dad waited for the person to ask for his name and not just permission to ask his name. When a server in a restaurant said something like, "My name is Bob if you need me," my Dad would ask, "What's your name if we don't need you?" He wouldn't let me sleep over a friends house...

Attention Communiclique Judge Alston and Prosecutor Hanly

Communiclique CEO Andy Powers is out on bail while charged with 8 Federal Felony Counts (See Post). Meanwhile, while out on bail, it seems that Andy Powers continues to defraud individuals, commit crimes abusing the terms of his bail. In August 2018, a court in Virginia found Andy Powers had defrauded investors and that his company Communiclique was a complete sham (see post). In the summer of 2019, a Bankruptcy court in Declared the company bankrupt and referred Andy Powers to the US Attorney for defrauding the court (see Post). He's still out there defrauding victims! It is time for Judge Rossi Alston, US Attorney, Jack Hanly, and the arresting officer, FBI Agent, Jamie Vera, to haul him back in court, revoke his bail, and protect the public by locking him away until the disposition of his court case scheduled for December 16. Since his arrest, he hired a young man to do technical work for $8,000 and didn't pay him (see the post by this victim here). According to Mihu, the young man mentioned above, Andy, stiffed a pregnant mom. On May 20th, I received a voice mail from an executive at Crescent Solutions. A transcript of the voicemail follows: Hey...