Talking the walk
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I needed to work on improving my face time and talk time with my associated business people, especially those in my LinkedIn network. It's been a busy two weeks.
I met Tony Mayo, Chairman of TEC International, for coffee at Starbucks at 15th and K in DC. He turned me on to an acquisition advisor who consults companies who are wanting to work with AOL.
Mark Peden, of Rulespace.com, had flown into town and ended up at 16th and L in DC, and we met up for coffee at the Caribou Coffee at 17th and L. Mark's work at Rulespace is somewhat related to my work with the Fairfax County School Board.
Marc Freedman, CEO of Razorpop,was in town as a panelist for the Digital Media Conference. Thanks to his generosity, he awarded me a free ticket to the conference (a $350 value!). Thanks, Marc. We were able to catch a F2F for an hour or so before his session. Mark is using his P2P technology to help the FBI track down and catch people who traffic in unmentional photos of children. Thanks again, Marc.
Over the past two weeks, I've spoken on the phone with a number of young entrepreneurs, offering *free* advice in the areas of marketing, financing, sales/market capture strategy, and presentations and formats for business plans, executive summaries, and why NDAs are stupid.
Some of the guys are in stealth mode, so I won't talk about them. But some of the ones who are in the marketplace are making some good headway. These guys, which include Pete Caputa of Whizspark, Andy Doan of Medrounds, and Greg Gershman of Blogdigger, are all well on their way to, well, the next phase, whatever that might be. Both Blogdigger and Pete Caputa have gotten some ink in the past two weeks, a sign of more good things to come.
I'm reminded of a phone call I received from a young entrepreneur named Shawn Fanning in June of
1998 1999. He had gotten my number from Draper Atlantic VC Managing Partner Jim Lynch. Shawn was trying to find out if "in application" banner ads would help him in generating some revenue for his fledging file-sharing service, Napster. He seemed to think that the ad revenue from Napster would help his brother uncle John out with Chess.Net.
Well that, as they say, is history now, and we all now know, in retrospect, that selling ad space on Napster was not the most important thing facing his young idea. Popular culture embraced his idea and the impact of his innovation has invigorated millions of music lovers, many who now carry around IPODs and XM and Sirius satellite devices, to the delight of the Consumer Electronics Organization and the vitriol of the RIAA.
An entrepreneur's idea can change the world and the very culture we live in. Sometimes we forget that when we're hacking up some Java code that what we do might actually MEAN SOMETHING SOMEDAY.
I know a lot of these entrepreneurs don't believe me when I just tell them I want to help out with some advice. It's hard to trust anybody when you're just getting started, and maybe have taken money from family and friends, who insist on stupid NDAs. But in the end, if you don't get advice, and the right advice, you will fail anyway. So, put away your pride and ask for help. You really don't know it all. And neither do I.
Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed. (Proverbs 15.22)
Prepare plans by consultation and make war by wise guidance. (Proverbs 20:18)
Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in the abundance of counselors, there is victory. (Proverbs 11:14)
By wise guidance you will wage war, and in the abundance of counselors, there is victory. (Proverbs 24:6)
Enough said. I'm here to help.