Your First Company, Won’t Be Your Last


VA-in-the-Sky

Image Courtesy of Virgin America

 

When I started my first business, I envisioned an empire. I wanted to build my very own Virgin empire. Just like Richard Branson, I wanted different businesses under Demeter brand. It was a classic dream I think a lot of entrepreneurs have (I recall Tony Hsieh mentioning it in his book). Well, it didn’t quite end that way.

I ended up selling my company for a tiny sum and the Demeter brand died. My grandiose vision for Demeter never came to fruition. There was no Demeter company with twenty companies within its umbrella. There was a mourning period after the sale, which may sound silly, but I went through a lot of personal growth with Demeter. The mourning ended when I realized I hadn’t actually failed.

I realized that many of the entrepreneurs I look up to aren’t on their first companies. In fact, their first few companies might have been complete flops or minor successes. There are very few entrepreneurs whose first companies are their last. Jeff Bezos is one that comes to mind.

If you’re starting your first company, with a similar dream of multiple businesses under one roof, my goal isn’t to squash your dream. I’m writing this to remind you that success often doesn’t happen on the first try. Famous entrepreneurs, with large companies, often failed many times before reaching the pinnacle of their fields. Here are a few examples to remind you to keep going strong, even when things get tough.

Image Courtesy of Maurizio Pesce

Image Courtesy of Maurizio Pesce

 

Aaron Levie – The CEO of Box wasn’t always an enterprise software leader. He started out like many of us. In a bedroom, with a computer, and big idea. One of his early businesses was called Zizap, the “fastest search engine on the internet.” Clearly it wasn’t, but it was just one of the many small businesses Aaron started on his way to Box.com. Which is now worth over $2 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg – Zuckerberg is most famously known for being the founder of Facebook. But in high school, Zuckerberg created a music player called Synapse Media Player, under the company name Intelligent Media Group. The player used machine learning to understand listeners’ habits. Might the music and social networking world be different if SMP had become a huge hit?

Max Levchin – A key member of the PayPal mafia, Levchin has gone on to great entrepreneurial success. He’s been a part of Slide, Yelp, Glow, and Affirm, as well as serving on the board of directors for Yahoo, Yelp, and Evernote. But prior to all this success, in college he started two little known companies, NetMeridian Software and SponsorNet New Media.

Elon Musk – It’s probably unfair to add Elon Musk to this list, none of us can possibly duplicate his career. But the Tesla Motors founder has built many companies in his career. He might be most known for his involvement with PayPal (his X.com merged with PayPal before it was really Paypal). But did you know Musk started a company called Zip2, which was a “city guide” for the newspaper publishing industry? Did you know it was sold to Compaq for more than $300 million?

Mark Cuban – Cuban might be most famous as a reality TV show star or the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Before his more mainstream success, he was the co-founder of Broadcast.com, which is what turned him into a billionaire. But long before that venture, he had several smaller ventures, including a bar, disco lessons, and a chain letter. Cuban made his first million by selling Microsolutions to CompuServe for $6 million in 1990.

All I can say, is good luck to you with your business venture. Work hard and treat people right. If you fail or have minor success, that’s ok. Because if your current company doesn’t become what you dream it can be, there is always another company to build down the road.

[Image of Mark Zuckerberg Courtesy of Maurizio Pesce]

TalkAnything – Interview with Jon Weinberg


Jon-Weinberg-Funeral-DayHere’s the fifth episode of the TalkAnything podcast, I talk with Jon Weinberg. Jon is an actor, producer, and director. Jon is my first guest with this new microphone set up. I bought two dynamic mics so that the sound from myself and guest is similar. Unfortunately, I’m still figuring out to set everything up, so it’s still not perfect. But better than last week! (Did I mention you can subscribe to TalkAnything on iTunes!?!?)

Jon and I discuss what his journey into the entertainment industry. How did he get his foot in the door? What it was like booking a national commercial for Microsoft and being featured on billboards?  What his experience has been getting his independent movie, Funeral Day cast, produced, financed, and distributed?

Jon is the co-producer, co-director, and lead actor in the movie Funeral Day.  It’s a darkly funny story of a man who skips his friend’s funeral in an attempt to start living life to the fullest. Along the way he quits his job, begs for a 2nd chance at love, attempts to look death in the face & of course gets his prostate milked all in the name of changing his life.

Let’s help Jon get his film fully funded. His crowdfunding campaign is almost complete, with just a few days left. Any little bit helps. Contribute here.

 

 

Thoughts on the On-Demand Service Economy Part III


webvanThis is the third and final installment in my On-Demand Service Economy series. You should read Part I and Part II before reading this post.

I previously discussed how these apps play a role in my everyday life and what the economics look like for the contract workers. But the real question is how sustainable are these businesses? Can the on-demand service economy survive beyond this current economic boom?

The Core Problem

In my opinion, the primary reason for my pessimistic outlook with these apps is the fact that none of these are “must-have” products. They are “nice-to-have” apps. Do I need an on-demand maid? Or massage? Can’t I get my lazy ass up and drive myself to the grocery store? Why do I need to pay someone to buy my groceries and deliver them to me? Easy answer: I don’t. So once the price gets too high, I am no longer willing to pay for the service.

There is no way I could afford to use these services as often as I do if there were priced any higher. And therein lies the problem. In order to reach critical mass, these companies need to keep prices so low that you don’t think too hard about justifying the cost. These apps really cater to the top earners in densely populated areas. And it’s really hard to grow and scale a business with such a small market and small margins.

We are seeing companies use their millions of dollars in venture capital to give huge discounts to acquire a new customer. All in the name of growth, which is the key to Silicon Valley success. More customers means more revenue in the future, even if that means you’re paying $1.50 to make $1.00 in the short-term. But what happens when the VC funding goes dry and the discounts become obsolete?

Why These Apps Work Today

9324022439_dd2a55e269_z

In the first dot com boom, HomeGrocer.com and Webvan were the poster-children for dot com greed and bust. The grocery delivery services raised over a billion dollars combined, with Webvan eventually buying HomeGrocer for stock (Webvan is now owned by Amazon). These companies spent millions on acquiring customers and building infrastructure, like warehouse and distribution channels. It’s easy to point to these reasons, along with the deficiencies in mobile technology, as to why the first iterations of on-demand businesses didn’t work out.

Today’s on-demand apps enjoy two advantages. One is a fully mobile market. Nearly everyone has a smartphone, with GPS and internet capabilities. Plus everyone is more comfortable making purchases through their phone. During the original dot com era, online payments was in its infancy. Trust was still being built. But now, paying for something through your phone is ubiquitous behavior. Secondly, today’s delivery apps are less reliant on infrastructure.

The way apps like Instacart and TaskRabbit are set up, there is no need for warehouses full of product. Instead, they piggy back off the existing infrastructure of grocery stores. No longer do startups have to set up supply chain management and forecast how much product to buy. They simply hire contract workers, who walk into stores, buy the products, and deliver them. The combination of mobile usage, less infrastructure, and contract workers allows startups to start making more money, faster.

What’s to Come?

If you were to put a gun to my head today and I’ll tell you only two companies make it out alive. Amazon and Uber. I think that there’s going to be a great consolidation with these on-demand apps in the next few years. Both of these companies poised to dominate the on-demand in the future because they’re both well funded.

The Case For Uber

uber-freshDespite Uber’s PR nightmares, it’s still a well capitalized company. They have vast distribution channels with their legion of drivers all over the world. But I think Uber’s poised to dominate the on-demand economy because of one thing: driverless cars.

Uber wants to make their service so affordable that everyone can afford to give up their cars and just take Uber. What’s the one thing that not only costs Uber the most but gives them the most headache? Its human drivers. If you’re to remove drivers for driverless cars, you can drop the price of an Uber and eliminate the security concerns over a driver’s background. Plus, Uber would still make money per ride, than they currently do.

You can see the writing on the wall. Uber is testing out lunch deliveries. For $12, you can get a lunch delivered to your office within 10 minutes. Just as easy as getting a ride. I can see this service expanding beyond food. Again, you’ll see even more hyper-growth once Uber has a driverless fleet of cars.

The Case For Amazon

Amazon has an infrastructure that can support a vast on-demand economy. Their service, Amazon Fresh, is starting to roll out to more cities, outside of San Francisco. Because Amazon has a multi-billion dollar business to support it, as well as a huge existing customer base, they are able to do what companies like Webvan couldn’t. They can establish warehouses full of fresh food, ready for distribution.

Amazon’s Prime customer base might be their best asset. They have a subset of Amazon users who are pre-identified as power buyers. They use Prime to buy more items, with faster delivery. These customers are already paying a yearly fee of $99 for the Prime service. Amazon Fresh costs $299 a year and includes all Prime features. Existing Prime members get a pro-rated refund on their Prime membership when Fresh is purchased. The cost to acquire customers is dramatically lower than a startup starting from scratch.

Jeff Bezos is a long-term thinker with cash on hand. I wouldn’t bet against him in anything. He’s not afraid to dip into negative margins to gain market share. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re all getting our food from Amazon at some point down the road.

The on-demand service economy is here to stay. The only question is, what existing players will be around in five, ten, fifteen years? It’s my guess that we’re going to see a lot of growth in this industry in conjunction with the fall of many services. Companies like Uber and Amazon are going to win because they’ll be able to offer the same luxury that companies like Instacart and Postmates offer at a much lower cost. What do you think of the on-demand economy and its future?

[Image 1 Courtesy of TheNextWeb]

[Image 2 Courtesy of Richard Masoner]

[Image 3 Courtesy of Techcrunch Screenshot]

Talk Anything – Interview with Brittany Ashley


brittany-ashley-standupNew week, new podcast. This time I’m doing it between the sheets. As in my makeshift sound studio, made out of PVC pipe and bed sheets. It definitely helps reduce reverb, now I just have to perfect sound levels (Which might be as easy as how far away both people are from the shared mic).

In episode 4 of the Talk Anything podcast, I’m talking with Brittany Ashley, a young stand up comedian/writer in Los Angeles. You may recognize Brittany from your Facebook feed. She’s often featured in Buzzfeed’s video clips. If not, that’s ok. But you should get to know her for her stand up comedy and writing prowess.

Brittany and I talk about how writing in a college newspaper lead her down the path to comedy, going through Second City Chicago, and what it’s like being a young comedian in LA.

You can read Brittany’s blog at StraightLesbian.com. You can also follower her on Twitter or Instagram.

 

Thoughts on the On-Demand Service Economy Part II


taskrabbit

Last week I started the discussion about on-demand service economy apps. I am an avid user of these apps. I use a few of them daily and another handful weekly. I’ve tried as many apps as I can, considering not all are available in Los Angeles yet. It’s no secret I am a fan of them as a user. However, these apps provoke a darker image to the people that are employed by them.

The on-demand service apps use low paid labor to make these affordable to the masses. The rationale is, more volume, the more you make. Everyone wins right? Not really, the numbers don’t seem to add up. Especially in the long-run.  There’s a definite disconnect between the end user, the company, and the contractor workers. This is the primary reason why I think we’re going to see a major shake up in this industry, leaving only a few companies left in the mix. Maybe less.

Human Capital = $$$

The most concerning problem for any of these on-demand apps boils down to money. What are their margins on a delivery? What are their costs to acquire a customer? How much is that customer worth in the long-term? These are standard measures of healthy, growing companies. But unlike other businesses, like a software company, there is a cost that’s always present: cost of labor. It’s this cost that’s vital (for now, more on that later) to the success of the business.

Human labor is not cheap. It’s why companies like to outsource or use machines to replace humans. Paying someone a living wage adds up quickly. Typically, your human capital is going to be your companies largest expense. When your business relies on people making deliveries for you, a great deal of your revenue is paid out to your workforce.

Anecdotal Numbers

uberprivatedriverFor example, Uber takes 20% of a single ride. So if the ride costs $10, the driver sees $8 of it. That doesn’t sound bad, but when you factor in time and quantity, it gets to be really tight. Every morning I take an Uber to work. Depending on traffic, that’s about a $12-$13 bill. It’s about a five mile trip that takes 25 minutes. If a driver takes two trips like this an hour, with a 10 minute window to pick up a new customer, that’s ~$25 in fare for the hour. Taking 80% of that for the driver and you get an hourly rate of $20. Not awful. Better than McDonalds. However, there are two factors to keep in mind. One, this doesn’t include the cost of gas and car maintenance. Second, having spoken to many drivers, getting two good rides an hour is tough.

Over the course of a six hour shift, a driver might average eight rides. Let’s assume an average ride fare of $15. That’s a total of $120 in fares, which the driver gets $96, or $16/hr. But then you have to add in the cost of gas. Everyone I speak to tries to keep a shift under a full tank if possible, sometimes they have to fill up again. Estimate $3.25 for a gallon of gas for a 12 gallon tank (Prius). That’s $39. Subtract that from your $96 gross and you’re left with $57 for the 6 hour shift. Or $9.50 an hour. This isn’t including insurance and maintenance. You can see why Uber/Lyft drivers are angry.

I don’t even know the real numbers for other services like Instacart. Instacart delivers groceries on-demand. You can get your food within 1-2 hours. Deliveries under $35 have an $8 delivery fee. Over $35 and the fee drops to $4. I believe there is a slight mark up for all the food items in your cart. So a $1.99 beverage might end up costing you $2.49. I don’t know how much the delivery worker earns per delivery. I do know that it takes about an hour for a delivery. I usually tip $5. But I can’t image someone working for Instacart makes more than an Uber driver. (If you have first hand knowledge, drop me a note. I’d love to learn more)

The 1099 Problem

via streetwise.co

via streetwise.co

 

This New York Magazine article outlines a different aspect of the on-demand economy that’s equally damning. Startups have a 1099 problem. For those of you that are unaware, (I hope I explain this correctly) there are two primary tax classifications for payment. The most popular is the W2 (in CA), which is when an employee is on a company’s payroll. The company and the individual pay taxes on the income earned. But an increasingly popular method is 1099, which is for contractors. Contractors are not on payroll and the employee is not subject to the same taxes. So when you’re paid a dollar, you get the whole dollar. It’s your responsibility to pay taxes at the end of the year. There are no benefits with 1099. You can’t receive unemployment benefits if you’re paid via 1099. When I had contract clients, I was paid via 1099.

Employers love 1099 because it does two things for them. One, it keeps their tax liability down. They save anywhere from $.20-$.40 for every dollar they pay out. Second, and this might be more important, 1099ing someone distances you from them, legally. Uber has taken advantage of this loophole to its fullest. When one of your contract workers acts inappropriately, giving your company a black eye, you can always claim they are not an employee. The individual is a contractor, not a full-time employee that’s governed by your company’s rules.

In the article, the author details how he found out that his cleaner lives out of a homeless shelter in Oakland. For all bad PR Wal-Mart endures, this is just as bad. Companies don’t really care because these people are 1099 contractors, not real employees. It’s up to the contractor to work enough to make a living wage. This is a growing problem, but I fear what the solution will be.

Next week, in Part III, I’m going to look into the real problem with these on-demand apps, and what the future holds for these companies. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t look good.

[Image 1 Courtesy of TaskRabbit YouTub]

[Image 2 Courtesy of Uber.com]

[Image 3 Courtesy of StreetWise.co]

Interview with Joe Matsushima


Joe-Matsushima

A few weeks ago I started my podcast, TalkAnything.FM. It’s a work in progress. I’m getting a crash course in sound engineering (you can tell I’m still learning), as well as learning how to interview and figuring out what I want to interview my guests about. It’s great, I’m really loving it. I also feel like I’m close to hitting my groove with this third episode.

This week I interviewed my friend, Joe Matsushima, co-founder of the viral video ad agency, Denizen Company. Denizen Company is behind many of the popular viral videos you see on the internet. Their videos have been viewed millions of times. Throughout his career, Joe has been a part of major hits like, Trojan Games, Safe For Work Porn, LED Sheep, Best Bus Stop Ever, and most recently Tiny Hamster Eats Tiny Burritos. [You can read Joe's interview with the Washington Post here]

Joe and I discuss how he got into the viral video business, the psychology behind a viral video, and at what stage in the process he knows if it’s going to be a hit. There’s a lot of great info here. I’m excited to share with you, my interview with Joe Matsushima.

Thoughts on the On-Demand Service Economy Part I


via Harvest Scoop

via Harvest Scoop

I am a huge fan of the on-demand service economy. I take advantage of it on a daily basis. It saves me time and makes my life easier, so I’m fine paying a premium.  And because there’s a growing number of people like me, more and more of these services are popping up. But as great as these services are for consumers like myself, are they actually great for its employees? I’m afraid that these startups aren’t sustainable because their economic model won’t be able to do two things. One, provide their employees a living wage. Secondly, I don’t think many of these companies will be able to withstand an economic downturn (my thoughts on that later).

I’m breaking this post up into two posts. The first half is going to be opinion and experience using different on-demand service apps. The second part is going to be a high level look at the economics of these services and their long-term viability as sustainable businesses.

What Apps Do I Use?

Like I said, I use many of these apps on a regular basis. I’m going to divide the list into apps I love and recommend and apps that I use but don’t love. Plus the one app I fucking hate.

Apps I Love:

Uber/Lyft – I’ve written about these two apps extensively, so you can read my full thoughts here. But I’ll sum it up for you like this. No matter what kind of bad PR either of these companies get, I love them both. They have made my life infinitely easier and I will continue to use them.

Instacart – Since I don’t have a car, I will occasionally use Instacart. The only reason why I don’t use them more is that they don’t deliver Trader Joes. TJs is my go-to spot, so I shop there the majority of the time. I use Instacart when I’m injured (which has been too much this year) or when I want heavy things delivered (beverages and any melons are not pleasant to carry).

Seamless/Eat24 – If you’re not familiar with either Seamless or Eat24, it’s simple. Order delivery through the app. Store your delivery address and payment info and then browse all the restaurants in your area (that have deals with each app, which is plenty), and go through the entire menu at your leisure. Click on your desired order and bam! Your food has been ordered. No finding your credit card, no trying to figure out what restaurant delivers in your area, it’s all right there in the app.

via Seamless

via Seamless

FancyHands – I can’t wait for the day where I can afford to hire an assistant to run my life. No more double booked meetings. She can take care of everything. Until then, I use FancyHands. FancyHands is a personal assistant app. You can ask an army of assistants to complete a variety of different tasks for you, mostly administrative. I use FancyHands for two primary uses. One is research. Like I had someone find me 10 bloggers who blogged about parenting. Or I had someone copy all the names on a screenshot into a spreadsheet. The best task I’ve ever requested is have the assistant call a customer service line, deal with all the BS, and patch me in when I finally got to talk to the rep. Definitely a great app.

Soothe.comSoothe is Uber for massage. I don’t use this app often (full disclosure, they were a sponsor for my Mac and Cheese Invite) but I love it. The reason I don’t use it more is because I invest disposable income into my business (I guess it’s not disposable then). But sometimes you just have to “treat yo-self.” Soothe allows you to request a massage therapist to come to your place. Payment/tip is all taken care of through the app.

Apps I Use, Indifferent: 

Postmates - The only reason why I don’t love Postmates is that it’s expensive. It used to be a $13 delivery charge. The last time I used it, it was something like $6 fee plus a percentage of my total purchase. So that’s why I don’t use it more often. But it did save my ass when I fucked up my knee. I was in so much pain at work and could barely walk. So I used Postmates to have someone deliver me an ice pack, pain killers, and a knee brace to my office. Totally worth it.

via Homejoy

via Homejoy

Homejoy - The only reason why my apartment is presentable to women is because of Homejoy. I’m a mess. That’s why I can’t live with roommates. They all end up hating me. But Homejoy keeps my place spiffy clean. Their prices have gone up, but I can’t complain. If I think someone does such a good job that I don’t think I could clean that well, it’s worth it.

The “Fuck you, go out of business” app: 

Handy - I tried out Handy (formerly Handybook) because I saw a Facebook ad for a $19 cleaning. They force you to sign up for a subscription right off the bat (and I later learned you have to CALL to cancel). I already hate it. But my place needs cleaning and I read that AirBnb had a partnership with them. Worth a $19 bet in my book. Awful.

First of all, they sent a guy to clean my place. Perhaps it’s because I’m a man and dirty, but I don’t trust men to clean. I think women do a far superior job due to their attention to detail (This comment will probably get me in trouble at some point. To be clear, I don’t believe cleaning is a woman’s job.) Every cleaner I’ve previously had was a woman and she did a fabulous job. This guy didn’t do a great job.

First of all, he was late. Nearly 30 minutes late. I was going to work late because of this appointment so waiting for 30 minutes is a real inconvenience. That could have been forgiven if he had done a great job. Except he was shit. I could have cleaned the apartment better than he did. That’s not clean! He never finished cleaning my toilet and he missed a ton of spots dusting. I left the vacuum out, but he never used it. Fucking nightmare. Never again.

Next week I’ll go into my thoughts on how sustainable these companies and services are. In the meantime, ping me if you have any in-depth questions about my experiences with these apps. If you’re interested in signing up, I can send you an invite for a discount if you’d like.

[First Image Courtesy of Harvest Scoop]

Am I a Feminist?


Feminism. My first thought when I hear this word is an eccentric woman, who makes a big fuss with every single issue related to women’s rights. I’d say my feelings toward this first reaction leans towards annoyance. Essentially, I have a negative connotation with feminism, which is unfortunate because I consider myself an ally to feminists.

A few weeks ago Emma Watson gave an eloquent speech to the UN regarding women’s rights. She introduced the #HeforShe campaign. It’s an awareness campaign that calls for men to unite and partner with women to fight gender inequality. Instead of the traditional he vs. she fight, it rallies men to join women and speak up towards gender equality.

Then last week, a viral video caused another stir. It had a woman walking down the streets of New York with a hidden camera. The camera depicted the unsolicited and inappropriate behavior men display towards an unsuspecting woman walking down the street. This video, which ignited quite the debate on my Facebook feed, further highlights the need for education. This post is one tiny step toward that education.

Remove The Negative Connotation

Let’s reference my first paragraph. I said that the word “feminism” has a negative connotation to me. I’m being honest about this because I think this is a part of the problem. It’s hard to rally people behind a cause when people don’t want to associate themselves with the word that describes it. I know women who don’t want to be called a feminist for this very reason. So why would men want to jump on board? I don’t have a solution, but it’s something that needs to be addressed. Either we need to desensitize everyone to the word feminism, or we need to come up with a new phrase.

Stop Being Idiots

Change starts from the top. I believe that. That’s why we need today’s leaders to take the baton and start leading by example. That means we have to stop having executives at large companies make dumb ass comments like these:

“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise.” – Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO 

“Call me opportunistic; I thought I could get better people with less competition because we were willing to understand the skills and capabilities that many of these women had…And [women were] still often relatively cheap compared to what we would’ve had to pay someone less good of a different gender.” – Evan Thornley, Co-Founder LookSmart

How can we make real change in the world if these are the men that are leading the way? The world needs better role models. Tomorrow’s leaders won’t be better if today’s leaders don’t set a better example.

Fight the Small Battles

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has publicly stated that he’s a feminist. That’s great. We need more popular and prominent male figures making this stance. But like the #HeforShe campaign states, we need more than that. We need men to fight the small battles everyday. So whenever you hear someone putting women down, stereotyping them, or anything else. Call the person out. They’ll probably say it’s just a joke and you should chill. Tell them it’s not a funny joke. Make a difference, even if it’s with just one person.

I’m still uneasy calling myself a feminist. Perhaps that means I’m still part of the problem? Regardless of what I call myself, I believe in equal rights for women (and I truly believe that women will take over the world in my lifetime). I’m going to do my part to fighting for these equal rights. This blog post is just the first step. I urge you to do what you can to make a difference. If you’re ever out with me and hear me say something contradictory to this promise, call me out, because that’s what I’m going to do.

Podcasts I Listen To


fresh_air_617_347I’ve really gotten into podcasts recently. So much so, I started my own. You can listen to my first episode here. There are several reasons why I love podcasts. One, they are really informational. Second, I don’t have to watch them. I can do other stuff while listening to them. Even watching a podcast video can be a little distracting. Now that I’ve become so addicted to them, I want to share with you the podcasts I listen to on a weekly basis. I know when I first got into podcasts, I had friends offer me suggestions of podcasts they listen to, which I found really helpful.

I listen to podcasts on my way to work and on the way home. I subscribe to many, but listen to a core few. So I’m going to break down my list of subscriptions and the podcasts I love.

My Weekly Listens

NPR – Story of the Day

I like these because the stories are interesting and quick. I don’t have to invest too much to listen, unlike others on this list.

NPR – Fresh Air

Teri Gross has the voice of an angel. Getting interviewed by her is on my bucket list. No joke.

Rachel Maddow

I just got into her podcast. I’ve always like her views, but I don’t have cable, so I never saw her show. Podcasts = problem solved.

Serial

This was highly recommended to me. I had troubled paying attention to it at first, but it’s a really interesting story. I have to be in a certain mindset to listen to it though.

Guys We F****d

I was just browsing the top podcasts and I saw this podcast. Apparently I’m easily swayed by sex, because I subscribed immediately. These two gals are funny and real. Recommend for both men and women.

The Truth and Iliza

Ever since I heard her standup routine about Pinterest, I’ve been hooked. She’s a funny women and has interesting conversations with her comedic guests.

StartUp

Soo good. A must listen. Alex Blumberg offers a very unique and honest perspective about starting his podcasting company. Did I mention it’s really good?

Pardon the Interruption

I loved PTI since I was in college. But I haven’t watched it for years since I don’t have cable. Once I found out the show came in podcast form, it’s been a regular listen for me. I usually listen to the latest podcast on my way home.

The Economist

I claim to read the Economist, but I don’t. But I do listen to the podcast. Again, I like it for its short episodes. Obviously there’s great information that I can regurgitate later if I want to impress someone.

The Building Years Podcast

One of the co-hosts of this show is my dodgeball teammate, Justin Alexio. He’s the reason why I first took a listen to this podcast. But I listen to it religiously because it’s funny as hell. I catch myself laughing out loud. It could be the banter between Justin and his co-host, or it’s just the crazy stories their guests have. As shitty as their podcast art is, it’s worth listening to

The-Building-Years1

The Remaining List of Podcasts I Subscribe To

Slate’s Political Gabfest

NPR – Planet Money

The Young Turks

Product Hunt

NYRD Radio

We Are LA Tech

Rocketship

Growth Everywhere

The James Altucher Show

The New Yorker – Political Scene

Savage Lovecast

The Tim Ferriss Show

Freakonomics Radio

This American Life

 

 

 

A Lesson in Persistence from Abraham Lincoln


abraham-lincoln-quote

I’ve written about how hard entrepreneurship is and how we can learn from our failures. But let’s be real, failure and sadness happens to everyone, in every type of field. We’ve all dealt with our own demons, suffered through loss, and failed at many different things. But getting up is the difference between successful people and those with unfulfilled potential. That’s why I love the Japanese Proverb, “Fall seven times, get up eight.”

But every now and then, we get knocked down and it’s a little harder for you to get up. That’s ok. But if you need help taking a step in the right direction, I suggest you read this abridged version of Abraham Lincoln’s life.

Honest Abe is best known for being our 16th president. He emancipated the slaves and united a divided country. His impact on American history is nothing less than remarkable. But I don’t think Abraham Lincoln’s early life history has been well documented to the masses.

Here’s the quick rundown of the life of Abe Lincoln I found on Quora. It’s a great lesson in persistence. If you have a dream, don’t give up!

The Story of Abraham Lincoln

1816 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.

1818 His mother died.

1831 Failed in business.

1832 Ran for state legislature – lost.

l832 Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.

1833 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.

1835 Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.

1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.

1838 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.

1840 Sought to become elector – defeated.

1843 Ran for Congress – lost.

1846 Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.

1848 Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.

1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.

1854 Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.

1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – get less than 100 votes.

1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.

1860 Elected president of the United States.

Don’t give up. Ever. If you believe in your dream, you can make it come true.