Startup laws to live by

Law 1: Pull everything out of your mentors and advisors, pull everything out of your team, and pull everything out of yourself.

Law 2: Put it all on the line and stick to it for a while. Nothing happens overnight. Short term success is bullshit.

Law 3: If you’re mentors and advisors are not pulling everything out of you, find new ones.

Law 4: Everything is an experiment. Treat it that way, learn more it, and press on.

Law 5: Be self-discipline. Do what you think not what you feel.

Law 6: Focus on making not winning. Enjoy the process and appreciate the act.

Law 7: Nothing is a mistake only a learning experience. Don’t be afraid to screw up.

Law 8: Do work. People who can work hard consistently will one day wake up a success.

Law 9: Creating and analyzing are separate things. First create then analyze – don’t do these at the same time.

Law 10: Always break the laws. Break your own laws.

 

Monday morning motivation: Put in the work and make something out of yourself

No, I didn’t grow up in new York or silicon valley, I don’t have an MBA from Stanford or Harvard, and I didn’t come from any money.

My Mom and Dad had my sister when they were 17, my mom cleaned houses, and my dad poured concrete. We lived a simple life and my parents worked for every dollar they had.

What my parents have taught me over the years and I still carry with me today is that if I want something bad enough, I better get my ass out there and find a way to make it happen.

Oh, and don’t be a pussy (This is from Dad). Be tough, take risks, don’t let people push you around, and speak your mind.

Honestly, what my parents taught me at an early age is the foundation for anyone who wants to be happy and successful.

There is something to be said about hard work and some serious hustle.

Are my parents happy and successful today? Yes, but it didn’t come easy. It was the consistent get up work your ass off and hustle that has allowed my parents to be where they are today.

You are no different. If you want something bad enough, then you get out there, work for it, and find a way to make it happen. I don’t care if you have to live in van down by the river, eat ramen noodles for a year, or do the most random crap, there is a way, you just have to find it.

And, if you think you still need a degree from Harvard or come from money, you are full of shit. The truth is, you are lazy and you’re not willing to do what it takes.

Put in the work and make something out of yourself.

Happy Monday!

 

What gets me horny

I’m horny about a lot of things these days. Because of this, I thought I would put together a list and share it with you. I don’t know what makes you horny, but maybe this will motivate you to start thinking about it.

  1. Family: Family is first in my book. I’m trying to invest in my family, spend time, appreciate one another, and ultimately have a fun together.
  2. Quality Friendships: I have a few people who I try to pour into and I feel like in return they are pouring right back into me. You can’t pour into everyone, so pick a few good friends and build each other up.
  3. Exploring new things: I don’t care what it is, I want to explore it: canoe trip, hiking, marathons, smoking cigars…bring it on andlet’s try it out.
  4. Motivating people to do shit with their lives, take risks and live a little. I feel like this has always kind of been my thing, but today, more than ever you will hear me talking about this.
  5. Co-founder and entrepreneurial relationships: I can’t be more thankful for all my co-founders, equity partners, and people involved in my deals. For the last few years, I’ve been intentional about seeking out entrepreneurs who can see eye to eye beyond just, let’s make some money. We appreciate family, we take risks, we seek new experiences, and above all else, we are friends and there for one another.
  6. Startup communities: Now being involved with Startup America Partnership for almost a year, I am having the time of my life – It’s so cool to see all the different startup communities evolve and grow.
  7. Venture Capital: I’m talking with a few folks now about putting together a fund. I am no experienced VC, but I can put a team together that knows their shit. This is what I’m looking at right now – putting together a stellar team that can invest in startups and entrepreneurs that want to have fun, disrupt, and make some money along the way.
  8. Game changing startups: If you’re trying to do the same shit as someone else, I don’t care. If you think you got something cool and different, this gets me excited. Why put a ton a time into something that is the same as the next guys stuff?
  9. Accelerators: I think accelerators rock. I’m not involved in one myself, nor have I been involved in one. However, I sit back, watch, listen, and appreciate all the work that accelerators are doing. We need more of them. The best part about accelerators are the mentors and the community that forms.
  10. Crowd funding: I am a co-founder of a startup called Fundmypark. We are the Kickstarter for all things parks and recreation. Were already seeing some good success with this project. Beyond this, I’m just interested in all the crowdfunding activity going down.
  11. Branded entertainment: I’ve watched more and more young people change their content consuming behavior and this gets me horny. Hence the reason I’m a part of a new deal being put together in Hollywood to enter this space. We are still trying to figure stuff out, but we are close.
  12. Digital content and entertainment: The smartest thing people can do with content today is build in the brands. No, not product placement. I’m talking about unique branded integration that tells a story. Look at Nike, Redbull, and others – they get it.
  13. New retail and restaurant plays: I enjoy seeing people disrupt this industry. I see people tying mobile into the experience. I also have seen good uses of social. It’s all interesting to me. Just watch as more and more entrepreneurs come up with unique ways to mod this industry and integrate new forms of tech.
  14. Social Media: All forms, all uses, case studies, you name it, I’m following it and paying attention. It’s also important because if you’re not building social into everything you do today…you are an idiot.
  15. Social Commerce: Lots of people are toying with this (This includes me) and I think it’s awesome. Do I think this space is early still? Yes. Do I see it evolving and eventually becoming a very important part of our lives? Yes.
  16. Mobile: First off, I have two mobile startups I’m in right now. So, this means I’m paying attention to facts, statistics, apps, use cases…..I’m on top of it all.
  17. Fashion/Lifestyle apparel: I’m an advisor to a brand called Citizenshirt. We are gearing up right now to do some pretty grass roots, authentic projects. Watch us build this into a mainstream brand.
  18. Social Responsibility: If you’re not on top of this, don’t plan on being in business long – this is on top of the millennia’s priority list.
  19. Action sports: I’ve always been and always will love action sports – it’s in my blood.
  20. Any good example of strategy: social, analytical, marketing, management, etc.
  21. Furniture: I have a furniture startup that I’m in. The company is called Think Tables. Yes, we are starting out with writable tables, but we have big plans….stay tuned.
  22. Embedded software: Software is being embedded into everything. 5-10 years from now, it will be hard to find anything without tech embedded into it.
  23. Hardware companies: Hardware is something I’m looking at pretty hard. There are lots of startups and entrepreneurs out there today building hardware products. This excites me. I don’t know what I will do about it, but it will be something – I will ride this wave.
  24. Personal branding: With all that I do, it needs to come back and support my personal brand. What is my personal brand? Motivating startups and entrepreneurs to make stuff and things happen. If it doesn’t fit with my personal brand or the projects I’m involved with, I don’t do it.

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How about you? 

What gets you horny today?

 

From the heart

Throwing out some love this morning.

1. Don’t go to college because you think this is the right thing to do. You have no idea what the hell you want to be anyways. If you’re going to do anything, I say travel the world and live out of a backpack meeting people and collecting experiences for a year or two. Work random ass jobs and have fun. Or start building a startup. I could careless, just do something.

2. Don’t try to meet a hot chick just because your friends have hot chicks. Wait for the right girl to come along. Yeah, you should play the field, but don’t settle down till you meet the right one. Find your warrior princess like I did.

3. Your goal shouldn’t be just to graduate. If you’re going to graduate, graduate with something you can use.

4. Don’t get a job find a passion. Jobs are for people who are depressed, divorced, and pissed off. Find a passion and live it out everyday in everything that you do.

5. Get married when your ready. Don’t get married because anyone is forcing you. If your friends are married great, this doesn’t mean you have to follow. Do it when your ready. Who knows, maybe there are some things you want to accomplish first.

6. Houses are a big responsibility and they will tie you down. You have to mow the lawn, take care of the things that breaks, and more importantly, you will feel stuck. It’s not the cool thing to do to own a home.

7. Dogs: Yeah they’re cute and fun to play with, but they are a big responsibility. Everytime you want to go somewhere or travel you have to find someone to watch them. Do you want this hassle and worry? I learned the hard way. I used to have dogs and they quickly became a pain – I no longer have dogs.

8. I have a little boy do any time. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I don’t even have the kid yet. However, don’t force it, let it happen on its own. God knows when your ready.

9. Divorce sucks ass. I don’t believe in it. You make a commitment and you figure the shit out. My wife and I have almost killed each other so many times I can’t even count. But today, she is my cheerleader and I love her with all my heart. Appreciate your wives and tell them how much you love them everyday.

Don’t live the same story everyone else lives and end up depressed and lonely. Game change this shit. Live different. Be different. And enjoy every second you have on this earth.

There it is, from the heart.

 

Will you pursue your vision until you breathe your last breath?

In my book, short-term expectations and plans aren’t as important as long-term possibilities. Honestly, I don’t really care if some of my plans fall apart. Why? Because what matters is that I stay strong and continue to pursue my vision letting nothing get in the way.

Photo Courtesy of: 123freevectors.com

What matters is that you follow your heart and keep choppin’ wood every day. If you’re one of those people that lets short-term plans affect long-term possibilities you have a problem, and unless you change your thinking, you might  not accomplish much in life.

Things are going to happen to you. Plans are going to fall apart. You will lose at times.

The key is staying positive,  keeping an eye on your vision, and charging forward daily.

A good example is Jobs. He never let short-term stuff affect his vision of making cool shit. The thing I loved about Jobs was how he made gutsy decisions time and time again. He stayed hungry and never gave up…even till his last breath – this inspires me

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

——–

What about you? 

Will you stay strong pursuing your vision until you breathe your last breath?

 

Ship Now, what are you waiting for?

If you’re sitting around thinking about this sweet plan about how you are going to take over the world with your product and you keep adding this and changing that, I say stop now and ship that shit – what are you waiting for….seriously?

Don’t be scared, no one is going to know about it for a while anyways – you will have plenty of time to collect feedback and make changes….trust me.

If you don’t ship now, there may be no hope for you or your product. By the time you “think” it’s right, someone will have already beaten you too it – you don’t want this, right?

It’s important that you get your product to market as quickly as possible. The longer you wait the more life and stuff happens. Put everything aside, figure what you need to make it viable, and start shipping. Do it now before I do.

The key is taking your product to market as quickly as possible. Then, after you’ve taken it to market you can collect customer feedback and use it to adjust the customer and product path. Simple stuff. Don’t complicate it.

I’ve dealt with both situations before; taking time to go to market and just shipping. You can probably guess what one always turned out better for me.

—–

Are you that person who sits around waiting to ship? What’s holding you back? 

 

VC’s Don’t Care About Your Small Company

For those of you who know me, I am a visionary. I like big risks and I’m not afraid to fail and lose everything – I’ve already been there done that. Yeah…it sucks while you’re in it, but you get right back up and start building again.

My dad always taught me to either go big or go home. We never went half ass – it was either all in or not in at all. Let me tell you, this was a great foundation for my startup life.

The same is true when it comes to VC’s. They are all in. They are taking big risks on your startup and for that, they are looking for a big win. They want deals that present an opportunity for a 10x return – minimum.

VC’s could give two shits about your little startup company that is going to own 30-50% of your small market – have some vision for crying out loud – that is if you are trying to reach VC’s.

I will also tell you from experience that it is just as hard to build a small company as it is a large one – you will never find me building something small again.

If you want a VC’s attention then go all in and build something that has the potential to scale and show a beauty of a return.

I am no VC, but I am speaking for some of my friends that tell me the horror stories. If your deal doesn’t have the potential for a 10x return then don’t waste their time.

——-

What about you? 

What are you building? Does it have the potential for a 10x return – minimum?

 

Look For People Not Opportunities

Look for people not opportunities. Why? Because every opportunity is attached to a person. When you think about opportunities where do they come from? People.

Opportunities start with people. They don’t just come floating out of the sky and slap you in the face – you have to go searching for them.

The next time you start searching for an opportunity – one that gives you a nice return, start by searching for a person.

How do I approach opportunities? I look for talented people. For the last 5-6 years, I’ve made it my personal goal to connect and meet with at least 3-5 new people per month. I’m intentional about this and build it into my calendar. I also set aside the time, energy, and money to pre-commit myself to actually making this happen.

Yes, it does require a bunch of my resources,  but the return has always been greater than the actual investment – not short-term, but long.

For me, my long-term strategy and goal is to invest, partner, and build incredible startups. What do I need to do this? People and relationships. I need a network of very talented folks that I can bring in to help me do these things.

Again, if you want to build anything great and of scale, you need people.

And, when push comes to shove, don’t give up on connecting with new people – take the long view and do it right. Relationships — whether it be romantic, friendship, or professional – take a lot of time time to develop. And if you rush them, you end up hurting something that could have had great potential.

Don’t take it from me, go ask around. Anyone successful will tell you that they took time to connect with new people and without them, they would not be where they are today.

——-

How about you? 

Are you making time to connect with new people?

 

Want To Enhance Conversions? Here are 15 Ideas

You should constantly be trying to enhance your conversion rates. Why? Because conversions are the lifeblood of your organization – they are what make you $$$$$$.

I’m no professional by any means, but I did put together some ideas that I thought I would share with you this morning. Feel free to go and act on some of these things. Try them out, see what works for you and your company. The same things don’t always work for everyone company – it’s about trial and error.

Here are a few of those ideas:

  1. Eliminate clicks for the user. Make it simple for them to convert. Don’t ask too much information. Don’t make users click-through7 pages to get to your product or offering.
  2. Combine as many things as possible into one click user experiences.
  3. Try adding a video to your homepage that explains your product, value propositions, and who you are as a brand – be sure to give it some personality and realness.
  4. Make sure your homepage is intuitive and experiential. Don’t lose your customers at the first step.
  5. Make sure your language sounds like a human wrote it – not a robot. I hate when I see people writing like a robot.
  6. Study your traffic sources and look at behavioral trends. After this, use the results to for A/B test within your website.
  7. Don’t be a fool. Use social signup and make it seamless – it will be one of the best things you’ve ever done.
  8. Quality content over quantity of content. This isn’t 2001 where you were only looking for SEO results. Users are way smarter these days.
  9. The path to purchase should be easy.
  10. Try using live chat to engage with every customer at they navigate through your site.
  11. Test out the timing of users. When are they coming to your site? Where are they at that time? What are they thinking? What are they feeling? Ask questions from the user perspective and try to get into their head.
  12. Free shipping works every time.
  13. Put your search bar big and right out in the open on your homepage. Don’t make users go searching for it.
  14. Show the product on the homepage.
  15. What are the benefits for the customer – put these out there for the customer to see.

I hope these help. Again, the key is trial and error.