The Startup Gurus or In Defense of Jason Calacanis

Last week, in an attempt to make a point, and in a lame attempt at humor, while making said point, I took cheap, but funny, at least funny to me, but probably not quite as funny to Jason, shots at Jason Calacanis. Let me apologize for one thing, as Startup Gurus go, Jason Calacanis is one of the best. The reason I took issue with Jason in that blog was questioning the value of a $500, four-hour meeting promoted to teach people how to become professional angel investors (see post here). Jason good-naturedly engaged in the dialogue and showed his metal. He displayed a sense of humor, a sense of self, he acted consistent with his public display of ego. He didn't cower and pretend he was above criticism. He defended himself and didn't block the messenger. The difference between a Jason Calacanis and phony Startup Gurus like Jonathon Perrelli is that Jp's self-image doesn't match his public display of ego. He knows he's a fraud. He knows his actions are indefensible so instead of engaging and responding to criticism he closes his ears. Jason's value includes his network of contacts, success in investing, and thoughtful content which makes Jason the real deal while the...

Kyle Sandler Can’t Make It Anywhere

Queue up the song, New York, New York! If you can make it there, you'll make it everywhere. Kyle Sandler couldn't make it there. Kyle Sandler couldn't legally make it anywhere. Kyle Sandler better hope he can make it in prison...

Offering Free Investment & Investor Due Diligence Service

For the last few years, I've been researching and reporting on, clowns, scammers, schemers, and scumbags. I've been doing due diligence for investors and founders seeking investments. Sometimes it's as simple as a google search, sometimes, it's a tip from a source, and sometimes, I have to reach out to my sources.  My due diligence has uncovered: Clowns - The Incompetent Imbelishers Paul Singh Evan Burfield Jonathon Perrelli Jason Feimster Alexandra Stanton Crooks - It is my opinion that these folks are crooks or had long-term close relationships with criminals Danny Boice - Cofounder and former CEO of a company under investigation for fraud Jen Mellon - Cofounder and former President of a company under investigation for fraud Andy Powers - Charged with multiple federal counts of fraud Ram Reddy - Vigourously asserts he is a victim and not a criminal Matthew Pugsley - Convicted Felon In the course of my day, I do research to promote my blog which promotes my business. The blog is designed to gain an audience and demonstrate how I apply knowledge, experience, and critical thinking to work with my coaching clients. Readers frequently send me notes of: thanks from those I've helped from getting in trouble - Before the Fact ...

Startup Dictionary – An Urban-Dictionary for Startups

Startup speek is bullshit speek that requires translation. So I've created a Startup Dictionary to be like the Urban Dictionary for Startups. I hope this Startup Dictionary helps you distill truth from doublespeak. Agile - The excuse developers use for coding without a plan and running around in circles Artificial Intelligence (AI) - The living embodiment of the Shakespeare line, "first kill all the lawyers." It is AI that will replace the lawyers, accountants, and marketeers.  Look for a new AI app to answer spam email and phone calls. Award Winning - Pre-revenue company Big Data - Big deal Blockchain - Something that someday is going to be extremely valuable and important to people other than those people getting rich  running blockchain conferences Bootstrap - An idea either so good that it funds itself or so bad that no one will fund it Business Developer - Someone who will be making phone calls all day, every day to people who don't pick up the phone Change Agent - A nag or in Yiddish, Yenta Crypto-Currency - See Blockchain DCInno - Snot Rag Disruptive - Makes everything that nobody used or needed obsolete Elevator Pitch - Cramming 10 minutes of abstract meaningless jargon into a 30-second sentence that could be repeated in less than 30,...

The Washington Post Non-Washington Business Coverage

The Washington Post has been asleep at the wheel in terms of covering the Startup world of DC. Granted, the startup world of DC has been comatose for some time. But while there are criminals and thieves plying their craft in DC, The Washington Post, is mum. But on October 12, 2018, the Washington Post's, Antonia Noori Farzan, woke up and penned an article about a minor crook in the Washington Suburbs of Fall River, Massachusetts. A DC suburb if 353 miles and a 5 1/2 hour drive is a commute. Yes, the paper which barely covers what is happening in business in DC didn't miss an opportunity to cover the curious inconsequential case of the 23-year-old Mayor-Elect of Falls River. The article: Elected mayor at 23 in struggling Fall River, Mass., Jasiel F. Correia II had the makings of a rising star — until Thursday (see link) As the post reports, "early Thursday morning, federal agents arrested Correia on charges that he stole almost a quarter of a million dollars from seven people who had invested in his start-up." Yet when local DC-based startup Comunniclique founder Andy Powers was found guilty of bilking local investors out of over $10 million dollars (which by my...

Cockroaches and Hand Grenades

When I was a young man, my first job out of Sales and Sales Management, was National Sales Operations Manager, which basically meant I was the VP of Sales, executive assistant (National Sales Operations Manager is to the Executive Assistant to the VP of Sales as the Chief of Staff is the Executive Assistant to the CEO. Its title inflation). Now, this VP was a former senior manager at Xerox, a notorious hyper-political organization and this guy, let's call him Jeff because Jeff was and probably still is his name was a puppet master extraordinaire. He would take a circuitous path to any goal...

Pulling Weeds in the DC Startup Garden

If the DC Startup ecosystem was a garden and all the startups were plant life, the good companies would be flowers, especially Urban Stems and Bloompop that happen to sell flowers. If the DC Startup ecosystem was a garden than the DC Startup Tech "Journalists" would be the farmers who shine sunlight and spread manure in our gardens. "Journalists" from Tecnical.ly DC and DCInno do a great job of spreading the crap. They indiscriminately spread life-giving nutrients to all plants be they flowers or weeds. That's great because every garden needs fertilizer. If the DC Startup ecosystem was a garden it would be a small garden and unfortunately, this garden is over-fertilized with poo and is infested with weeds. The weeds you ask? They are companies like Trustify, Chalant Health, Union, and LifeFuels, with "Venture Craptial" firms like 3Si, with false prophets like Paul Singh, Evan Burfield, Jonathon Perrelli. they are the second tier, phonies who don't even qualify to the 1st class huckster status like, Jason Feimster, Matthew Pugsley, and Janet Ridgely. To the outright abusive criminals like Andy Powers, Danny Boice, and Jen Mellon. If the DC Startup ecosystem was a garden, this garden would need a gardener willing to get his or her...

executive coaches - whoopass

Startup Community Leaders or Leavers?

I've always been suspect of startup community leaders. In fact, when Tien Wong accused me of being a startup community leader the other day, I was so offended I almost asked him to turn in his can of WhoopAss. Let's look at a history of startup community leaders in DC and keep score: Startup Community Leaders Who Are Leavers: Mario Morino - DCs first startup community leader at the end of the 90s and beginning of the aughts. He left town for his hometown of Cleveland over 15 years ago. LaunchBox Digital - How could these guys fail with such a strong first cohort (see article) Frank Gruber - Ran DC-Focused Tech Cocktail and left town in 2013 to become a Las Vegas community leader in 2013 Jen Consalvo - Also ran DC-Focused Tech Cocktail and left town in 2013 to become a Las Vegas community leader in 2013 Justin Thorpe - Was a force behind DC-Tech Meetup, DC-Tech Facebook Group left town in 2013 to work with Frank and Jen and came back a year later as a civilian Michael Myernick - Co-founded Proudly Made and a DC-Tech Meetup organizer raised $1.2 million for his "startup," Spinnakr and then snuck out of...