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Speaking from experience. A publication from Medium about work.

Entrepreneurship

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A blown-up business deal made me confront the mysterious forces behind what I thought I wanted

In the summer of 2008, I experienced the moment many startup founders live for: I learned that I would be able to cash out on my company’s success. After an intense period of courtship spanning several months, I was on my way to have celebratory drinks with the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh. Zappos was going to acquire my e-commerce company for wellness products, FitFuel.com.

About an hour earlier, Tony had sent me a direct message on Twitter (his preferred form of communication at the time) asking me to meet him at the Foundation Room, a bar on the 63rd…


CEOs and senior management too often forget that talented people have choices

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

I worked at two public companies in the same industry that had very different views on how to treat their employees.

The average time employees spent at the first company, Maxim Integrated Products, was over 10 years. The average time employees spent at the second company, Micrel, was around four years.

These were two companies that were direct competitors but had very different employee retention rates. What caused the difference? I believe there were three key reasons Maxim employees stuck around longer than Micrel employees:

1. Great talent wants to be compensated properly

Maxim had a policy of refreshing its employees’ stock options. Every year, Maxim would add…


Whether your transition is forced or by choice, these simple steps will make it as frictionless as possible

Photo: Sarah Pflug/Burst

When I left my workshop on the 23rd of March 2020, I never considered for a second that it would be for the last time.

It was. In the end, the pandemic destroyed the last motivation I had to keep fighting for the business. And that left me in a precarious position that I have been in before — lacking direction. But rather than flounder, I chose to pursue something new, something bigger, something better.

I set out to reinvent myself.

It’s the second time in my adult life that I’ve gone through this transformation. I’ve successfully transitioned from a…


It’s easy. You just need two brains. Here’s how that works.

image by pch.vector

One of the most popular ways to kill a promising young company is to spend too much time perfecting the product. But we tend to do just that.

Most of us entrepreneurs are builders, we’re tinkerers, we’re scientists. And so we’re very quick to slide down a rabbit hole of adding just one more tweak, one more feature, one more cool little trick to make our rocket ship fly that much higher.

Why? Because we’re all aware that the other really good way to sink a startup is to launch a product that isn’t perfect.

If we’re lucky, we launch…


I learned more from bored, antsy, innovative teenagers during the pandemic than I have in my entire entrepreneurial career

Teenage girl laying down upside down on a couch using her smartphone
Teenage girl laying down upside down on a couch using her smartphone
Photo: Cavan Images/Getty Images

I run digital companies in the edtech, information product, consulting, and e-learning spaces, and I have for years. When Covid became an official pandemic — and things like virtual schooling and remote work became ubiquitous across the country — my initial plan was to maintain the status quo.

Last March, I donned a “this too shall pass” attitude, as I’m guessing many of us did. …


It’s always Day 1 and other business insights from Bezos

Jeff Bezos speaks after receiving the 2019 International Astronautical Federation Excellence in Industry Award in Washington, DC on October 22, 2019. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

In the early nineties, very few people had heard of the internet. Jeff Bezos happened to be one of them.

Bezos saw that the internet was growing at around 2300% a year and decided that he wanted to come up with a business idea to ride that wave. He made a list of products to sell online and, soon, settled upon books.

Bezos first named his online bookstore Cadabra, as in abracadabra. And it was only after three months, that he changed it to Amazon, after the earth’s biggest river, and therefore, the earth’s biggest selection. While the company stands…


Restless and rebellious desk jockeys, take heart

A young man experiencing stress after a video conference on his laptop, working from home.
A young man experiencing stress after a video conference on his laptop, working from home.
Photo: MR.Cole_Photographer/Moment/Getty Images

Whenever a young person asks me how they can make a career out of being an entrepreneur, I try really hard not to disillusion them. But I feel like it’s my duty to warn them that being an entrepreneur is a terrible career choice.

Don’t get me wrong: There is nothing I would rather do with my life than start businesses, grow companies, and help and advise other entrepreneurs to build their own businesses. Being an entrepreneur makes for an awesome life — just not an awesome career.

I’ve faced a ton of challenges founding, leading, and advising companies for…

Index

Speaking from experience. A publication from Medium about work.

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