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  January 24, 2014
This & That - Part II...

 

 

While eating lunch this past Sunday, I noticed that the television had been left on in the living room.

Playing on the TV criticalwas a show called the "Shark Tank" where "contestants" pitch business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists (or more accurately "Angel Investors" as the sum of money was still relatively small) to try and get them to invest their own money in their ideas.

I was captivated by the show, not because of the investment pitches, but rather because of the astute questions being asked by the wealthy panelists.

The questions included:

  • Is your product protected by patents to keep out "would-be" competitors?   
  • Who is your customer?   
  • What are your current sales, how much does it take to make the product, and what are your margins?  
  • How big is the overall market for your product/service?  
  • What are your expenses?  
  • How much work do you do and how much do you pay yourself?  
  • What will you do with our money if we give some to you?

All of these questions are critical for an aspiring entrepreneur to be able to answer honestly, confidently and succinctly. 

They need to be able to communicate quickly and effectively... what is their business... how it makes a profit... and what is the potential return for the investors who do give them money (remember... they are investors... not bankers).

I sat there and watched three such entrepreneurs give their presentation to the investors; however, none of the three seemed to have mastered the answers to the panel’s most basic questions.

Sure... they might have had a good idea... but they seemed to know nothing (or very little) about actually running a profitable business.

In the end... none of them were actually funded by the Angels...

What struck me as strange was that there they were... on national television... trying to feed these very sophisticated investors (sharks) a bunch of bologna... thinking perhaps that their simple idea was enough to "wow" these professional investors rather than concrete facts and a solid business plan. 

Before they actually made their pitches... one would think that they would have tried to get some coaching to be a little better prepared to answer the difficult questions posed to them.

It’s just some friendly advice should you ever decide to start your own business and find yourself face-to-face with the sharks.

****

I am a big fan of college basketball... particularly the San Diego State Aztecs...

At the moment, my team happens to be doing very well...

The overall record of the team is 17-1, 6-0 in its conference play, and is currently enjoying a 16-game winning streak while being rank #7 in the country.

However if you were to read comments on their fan page and not have known their record this season, you would have thought that the team record is below .500 and perhaps in last place in their conference.

It seems almost everyone who posts comments on their fan site is critical of something the teams does or doesn’t do correctly. 

If they play great defense, there is someone to write that the team didn’t generate enough offense...

If they score a lot of dunks... someone bashes the team for not making 3-point shots...

If they create turnovers with aggressive play... someone will comment how the coaches are just gambling and that it will soon come back to hurt the team in the end...

A lot of the team’s fans believe that they are bona fide basketball analysts and seem to think they know more about the game than the coaches (including one who has won a college national championship). 

When publicly questioned about their motives, these "negative Nellies" often scuff it off by saying that they are just doing the team a favor by pointing out their flaws so the team can get better...

...but I don’t buy it...

As human beings, we all have our positives and negatives... this is what makes us human...

Most of us don’t go around pointing out people’s inherent deficiencies...

...yet there are some of us in this world who, for whatever reason, can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to belittling others... generally with the attitude that they are only pointing out the flaws in order to make someone a better person...

I’m sure that all of us have had a boss like this at one time in our careers (maybe even today). 
  friendship
This is the kind of person who is always critical of your work regardless how good it is... never complimenting you on what you did right... but sure to quickly point out what you did wrong...

This person manages others using fear and intimidation rather than incentives, positive feedback, and additional training...

The ironic part is that this type of manager actually thinks that they are doing the employees (and the company in general) a great service by pointing out the negatives so they have something to improve upon...

Then they wonder why no one likes being around them... go figure...

Relationships aren’t built by pointing out each other’s flaws but rather accepting people for who they are...

**** 

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet up with an old friend who I’ve now know for almost thirty-years. 

She currently lives in New York but still has family and friends in the area so she tries to visit as often as she can.

Even though we rarely talk during the time she is back in New York, we somehow always find a way to see each other when she’s back in town... meeting for what seems like a 3-hour breakfast where we laugh, trade ideas and ponder the wonders of the world together...

It’s not always convenient for me to steal away from work for a half-day to meet her but I do so because we share history together and she is a part of the fabric of my life.

Friends bring us a bountiful harvest of laughter, joy, new ideas, shared experiences, provocative thought, and the knowledge and understanding that we are liked and loved.
  shark-tank
Sometimes friendships just happen... but more often than not... it takes two people making a concerted effort to keep the friendship intact...

Every so often I have the opportunity to speak with young people... the best piece of advice I can offer them is to reach out to connect with people... cultivating and maintaining close and distant friendship over the course of your life...

The two most valuable assets I have are the experiences and knowledge that I’ve acquired over the years and the friends that I have surrounded myself with...

...two items that you’ll never see listed on any balance sheet... but that are indeed priceless...  

Thank you very much for your continued support of OptiFuse where we understand that life is a delicate balance between this and that.

 

Jim Kalb
President


 

Email -  jimk@optifuse.com
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com 

Twitter - @OptiFuse 

 

 


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Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow...

Open to Debate...

Compulsion for Closure...


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