Category Archives: People

On being an apprentice

Love this post by Tom :: http://tomtunguz.com/apprenticeship/

I think our fast moving tech industry gets so caught up in the hustle and quick wins that we forget it takes time to acquire knowledge. I have always felt that one of the best ways to acquire knowledge is to absorb it from someone who is an expert and who is willing to teach you.

This is what I call being an apprentice. It’s not something to be ashamed of you and any one should jump at the opportunity to be an apprentice. 

Take pride in it.

I consider myself one. 

Updated :: Trickle-down workaholism in startups

Some twitter gold here – challenging the folks in this article to a debate:

This is always a controversial subject and one I have various opinions on.

DHH wrote this up, on medium which is strange, but anyways here is the post: https://www.signalvnoise.com/trickle-down-workaholism-in-startups-a90ceac76426

Personally, I think each person will experience a different pull at various stages of their startups and their lives. I don’t think there is a rule for all of this and I think DHH is making too big a deal out of it.

I have worked at big corporations when I was single and traveling for work – I tended to work a ton of hours. Worked hard and played hard.

I also did some startups and they all were different. Some I worked a ton of hours and loved it but I had the time for it. At a later point in life, once I had kids, I also did a startup and managed to work as needed and do the family thing as needed. I kept weird hours and worked around my family. It was not ideal so to speak but life is usually not ideal. However, the founders were family guys and they also felt that work/life could just be dealt with as needed and there were no hard and fast rules. I appreciated that role a lot due to the timing of when I had a new kid.

Fast forward to today and I am sitting on the other side looking for companies to invest in and helping the companies in my portfolio. At work, I am again blessed to be at a family friendly place where the hours are normal but again employees do what is needed for different periods of time. Basically, the demand is project based and most of us march to our own drums. However, it is difficult to ascertain how the startups we talk to value work/life demands. Of course, we want founders to build a great company and most of the time we don’t know a lot about their personal lives but we do try to learn about them as much as we can without prying. Mostly though I assume founders want to do the right thing and will deal with their time management appropriately but I assume there will be times that one might think a founder is working too much and risks burning out. In that case, I might say something since I generally feel the journey is more of a marathon than a sprint and one has to manage for being in the game a while.

Other times we might have to deal with someone who doesn’t seem to be pulling their weight or is not focusing on their startup which may or may not a function of time spent. All in all, I think each human and each startup is different which is something that needs to be factored.

It is a tough debate.

Don’t listen to Vivek

Vivek, after trying to fix the gender diversity issues in tech, has now turned is attention to bashing Apple in regards to their India business. Here is his latest rant :: http://factordaily.com/apple-fail-india-iphone/

I love the catchy headline.

I was gonna dig into this one but many people beat me to it, but I think this is the best one :: https://nuclearbits.com/vivek-wadhwas-factor-daily-piece-titled-apple-destined-fail-india/

This dude is so full of crap now he is like the boy who cried wolf. No one listens.

Debt

I don’t watch his shows but have always loved Anthony Bourdain’s books. Kitchen Confidential is among my most favorite books ever. It could be that as a teenager I worked in a kitchen for many years and the book appealed to my culture that I was experiencing at the time.

I do love hearing the inside story of people and this latest from Anthony on wealth, money, debt and enjoying life is pure gold :: https://www.wealthsimple.com/en-us/magazine/money-diary-anthony-bourdain

That was really the first time I started thinking about saving money. About not finding myself in that terrifying space, that uncertainty that goes back to childhood. Will the car get fixed? Will we be able to pay for tuition? In very short order, I contacted the IRS and I paid what I owed. I paid American Express. Since that time, I am fanatical about not owing anybody any money. I hate it. I don’t want to carry a balance, ever. I have a mortgage, but I despise the idea. That was my biggest objection to buying property, though I wasn’t in the position to pay cash.

Getting my first mortgage also freaked me out due to the debt load. I always borrowed for cars too and just figured it was about building credit worthiness. Fortunately I have never lost my shirt on a house deal. But I know so many people that became “house poor” or defaulted on a mortgage.

One of the wonderful things about my agent, Kim Witherspoon, is she always presents me with two options when approaching a business deal, particularly when it comes to books. She’ll say, ”Look, you could go with these guys and get a whole shitload of money upfront, or you could go with these guys, which is the morally right and loyal thing to do, and negotiate an amount of money that fits in with what we actually think you’re going to sell.” I like to make money for my partners.

It’s amazing to hear how he cares about everyone making money. Not just himself.

I’d like my daughter and her mom looked after, both while I’m alive and after. They shouldn’t have to worry if something bad happens, so my investments and savings are based on that. I’m super-conservative. Money doesn’t particularly excite or thrill me; the making of money gives me no particular satisfaction. To me, money is freedom from insecurity, freedom to move, time if you choose to make use of time. My investments advisor understands that I’m not looking to score big on the stock market or bonds. I have zero understanding of it and zero interest. Life is too short. I like a limited amount of mail, and a limited amount of conversations with people who make the investments. If the money’s not less money every time I look at it, I’m pretty happy. If it’s a little bit more, great.

That’s the best part for me. The family first mantra and the I want to have fun while I am alive. Life is too short – I need to constantly remind myself of that.

Sounds like a cool dude.