August 10, 2019


Focus is, quite possibly, the most essential trait a startup entrepreneur can have.

a sculpture by Dale Evers

The successful warrior is the average man, with laser like focus.
Bruce Lee

Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.
Carl von Clausewitz

Focus on your customers and lead your people
as though their lives depend on your success.
Warren Buffett

These are just a few of the 56 excellent quotations on the subject of Focus that you'll discover in the app called "ToBeWise" that is available Free for Android and Apple devices.  

This extraordinary app contains a collection of 2000+ of the smartest things ever said by the smartest people who ever lived, from Socrates to Warren Buffett, with a special collection for Entrepreneurs.
Check it out at

August 3, 2019

Private Unicorns: the List

Here are the 346 Private Unicorns (valued at $1B+) according to data gathered by, with permission. Improved to Google sheets format, totals added, and many other much needed improvements by Michael McCafferty at DBLM

June 20, 2019

Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report 2019

Eliminate Low Quality Information for More Productive Life and Business

I have eliminated *all* TV for the past 30 days, and I'm getting so much more out of life, and contributing so much more to my life and the lives of others who are important to me...

Next challenge: eliminating "news" which has become infested with click bait, and has become a virtually worthless time sink.

Start with this article from James Clear, my favorite habit-master. It's highly recommended reading for those seeking a more peaceful, rewarding life and business. 


June 12, 2019

I wish I knew Now Me when I was Young Me...

I don't know these people. That's not Now Me and it's not Young Me. And I sure don't wear suspenders or t-shirts like that. Just some photo I copied to get the point across. And the point is to imagine if Young You could have Now You for guidance. Impossible, of course, but it is totally possible to...

“Be the person you needed 

when you were younger.” 

Ayesha Siddiqi

I wish I had a coach/advisor when I was dealing with all of the stress and challenges of the businesses I started over the years... I wish I knew Now Me when I was Young Me.

Being a CEO/founder is a tough job not only because of all the responsibility involved but because you are so alone at the top of your pyramid. There's really no one you can talk with. Your wife/girlfriend can lend a sympathetic ear, but they are probably not qualified to give you advice based on a lifetime of experience going through what you are dealing with. You certainly can't discuss your fear, uncertainty, and doubt with the people in your company. They need you to be the strong, confident leader who always has a plan. 

If Young Me knew Now Me, life would have had a lot less stress, less problems by far, faster results, better outcomes; I would have been smiling a lot more!

Now Me
That's where I come in. Been there, done that. Made lots of mistakes, and that's where the real learning happens. We don't learn as much from our successes as from our mistakes. So that's a big part of my job is to help my clients plan to avoid the big, ugly mistakes.

A big part of my job is to help with seeing the future clearly. Setting business and personal goals is probably the most important thing a CEO can do. Unfortunately, almost nobody does it. Less than 1 in 30 people write their goals. If a goal is not written down, then it has no power. 

After the goals are set, then the plan must be created, and then executed with high energy.
I like that part! I like being a CEO's secret superpower, the guy in the background. all the credit goes to the client. Complete privacy is assured. 

Clients are almost always from referrals. I'm not into Global Domination, so I don't do travel, speaking engagements, book signings, panel appearances, and networking.  I work with a small number of highly motivated people, one-on-one, here in Del Mar and online.

Begin it now
The first and best indicator of how a person will do in the future is if they have written goals. Most people will not do it. Doing it shows that they are serious. Depending on their goals and the nature of the business, then it would be good to meet and talk more.

Read Stephen Covey's First Things FirstIt's well written and complete, giving perspective into the various roles we have as individuals as well as business executives.  

Read this book, then write your goals and get committed to them. Do this, and you will be well on your way to achieving the life you have imagined. 

June 11, 2019

Let There Be Cash (Elements of a Fundraising Process)

Image result for checklist
Fundraising is a Continuous Process

If I had a client who needed to raise capital FAST,
here's what I would advise them to do:

1. Commit to Fundraising as a Continuous Process
that has many steps and interactions with prospective investors,
and others.

This "Continuous Process" occurs every day
Some portion of every day must include energy and resources
applied to the Fundraising Process.  

The shorter your Runway
the more time you must spend each day on the Fundraising Process.

Here's a rough guideline:

   Runway         CEO time in Fundraising Process
12 months              1 hour per day
  6 months              2 hours per day
  3 months              6h+ hours per day
  2 months              12-14 hours per day - Total Focus 

The most fundamental mistake a startup can make is to 
start their Fundraising Madness when they are out of money.

Actually the true mistake is stopping the process
once they get a little bit of money in their pocket.
Taking a break from fundraising can have fatal consequences.

Therefore, heed Commandment #8 carefully:

VIII. Let There Be Cash

Project, monitor, and conserve cash and credit capability. Cash flow is the blood of a growth business. A company's ability to continue is determined daily, not at year end, by the contents of the checking account rather than the financial statement. Keeping money in hand or readily available for both planned and unplanned events is not only prudent but necessary in unsettled times. Cultivation of financial sources is an enduring duty.

Fundraising Madness is a condition that occurs when the 
CEO/founder realizes that they can't make payroll all of a sudden.
There may be no recovery from that level of madness.

It may be counter-intuitive, but
you must raise money when you don't need it,
so that you have it when you do need it.

Fundraising is a Relationship Sell.
Relationships take Time and Trust to develop,
Many founders are Product oriented
and this Relationship building may be uncomfortable territory,
but it needs to be done, 
so relax and enjoy becoming a Master of the Process.

We are what we repeatedly do,
Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit

Think of building a process that provides all the cash you will ever need,
if you just continue the Process.

Showing up out of the blue,
when you're broke,
is a sub-optimal relationship strategy.

2. The Fundraising Process takes Time to bear fruit,
but if we Iterate quickly and Learn quickly
we can see Results that are undreamt of by most startups.

3. The Process must be Written Down, and followed as Written.Measure Results,
Continuously Improve the Process as you go.
(Do it, Document it, Delegate it.)
This is commandment #4:

IV. Write It Down

Prepare and work from a written plan that shows who does what, by when. Until committed to paper, intentions are seeds without soil, sails without wind, mere wishes that render communication within an organization inefficient, understanding uncertain, feedback inaccurate, and execution sporadic. Without execution, there is no payoff. The process of committing plans to paper is easy to postpone under the press of day-to-day events. In the absence of a document, fully coordinated usage of the resources of the business is unlikely. Each participant travels along a different route toward a destination of his or her own choosing. Decisions are made independently, without a map. Time is lost, energy squandered.

A Simple 10-step Fundraising Process:

1. Initial Contact - Top of the Funnel
     Cold Call - have a written agenda, talking points, the sole purpose is to qualify the investor to see if they make investments now, in your industry, in your stage (friends and family, seed, series A, etc).  If they qualify as an investor, then you want permission to send them your exec. summary.  They might want you to send your pitch deck, but resist the urge. Stick with the Process. Send them the exec. summary. You'll get a lot of voicemail, so have a powerful scripted message that will make them want to call you back Now. Practice it. Be enthusiastic! DO NOT WING IT. 

2. Send Executive Summary
      Cover Executive Summary in PDF format attached.
      The cover email must be well thought out. 
                  See direct mail advertising principles.

      The purpose of the Executive Summary is to get investor to take next step.
3. Follow up Exec. Summary
       They contact you, or you contact them, and 
           they will be not interested (get reason) or want your Pitch Deck.
           Never send Pitch Deck unless requested and Exec. Summary sent first. 

4. Send Pitch Deck (PDF format)
        Before you send the pitch deck you want to know that they want it and that they are a qualified investor prospect. The best thing you can do in a relationship Process is to give the investor plenty of opportunities to disqualify themselves, to opt-out of the Process. This save you a lot of time and gives you greater productivity dealing with the ones who opt in.

5. Follow up Pitch Deck.
         The purpose of the pitch deck is to get a meeting with the investor.
The prospective investor will signal their interest, or not (they will no longer respond to your calls, email, etc, so just let them go. They are interested or not. Keep them in your database to send your Quarterly/Monthly Newsletter (Progress Update).

If you call, have a clear script. An email sent before your call. The only purpose for your call is to schedule a meeting as the next step.

They may barrage you with questions. This is good. Write the questions down. Answer best you can if on a phone call, but in any case respond to all questions in writing as soon as possible. This is an Absolute. Doing this establishes Trust and helps build the Relationship. You will get pretty much the same questions, so it will be easy to have a library of questions/answers so all you do is cut/paste to reply. Again: Write it Down.

6. The Pitch Meeting. See Pitch Anything. Follow the process. 

7. Due Diligence. Have the documents they want (online "data room"). Be completely open.
Reply to requests in writing.     
    This step takes so much longer than you ever think it will. Lawyers are involved.

8. Term Sheet.
    This step takes so much longer than you ever think it will. Lawyers are involved.

9. Closing Documents.
    This step takes so much longer than you ever think it will. Lawyers are involved.

10. Party. (Cash is in the bank)
   This is the bottom of your Fundraising Funnel.  Congratulations.  Now...

11. Repeat.
    Do not skip this step!

1. Delegate much of the process if possible, Administrative details such as scheduling and emailing, answering the phone, etc.

2. Start with google searches for each step to achieve massive learning in a short period of time. For example, there is a very standardized format for Pitch Decks and Executive Summary documents, so it is a waste of time and effort to figure it out from scratch. Investors want their communications in a standard format because it is faster for them to deal with. Distinguish yourself as a person who understands this and respects their time. Talk to them in the language that they want you to speak. Follow the rules, respect the Process.

3. The current status of each investor must be recorded in your CRM database. Measure your productivity by creating reports from this database.

4. You will be tempted to change the steps and the order of the steps, but resist the urge until you have Tested the results and know the change to be better. This is commandment #10:

X. Test

Anticipate incessant external change by continuously testing adopted business plans for their consistency with the realities of the world marketplace. The past will not come again. Neither isolation nor insulation from tomorrow is possible. The problems of the times are the opportunities of the times, as always.

May 30, 2019

On the surprising lightness of being completely free...

Free Calvin And Hobbes GIF

We started out to build an app that would help people
get their thinking to support a successful life and business.

Although the app was not intended to be a money making adventure;
the idea was to see if maybe it could support itself enough
to cover the costs of upkeep
(programming, website hosting, bug fixes, etc).

For the last couple of years ToBeWise™ 
came in two versions: Free and Pro.
The Free version was advertising supported.
The Pro had some extra features. was ad-free, at a price of $2.99, 

It was this pricing scheme that positioned the app as a business.
A way to get a user's money, either by paying for it, 
or subjecting them to advertising in the app.

The disconnect with a business model for a free gift
kept me from doing much with it.
I was uncomfortable selling an app for 2 or 3 bucks,
first of all because it was supposed to be a gift,
and also because I didn't need the
And I was uncomfortable giving an app away that
used advertising to convert users' attention into money.
Additionally, there was the option to get Free users to upgrade to Pro for money.

From the users' perspective, I could imagine them
feeling cheap by getting the Free version,
or feeling wary of buying the Pro version, even for only a couple of dollars.
And the ambivalence probably led to abandoning the decision completely.

The solution was most interesting:
Remove the Free version and make the Pro version Free with no ads.
(Thanks, Steve!)

At first I just couldn't understand the suggestion.
After all, we already had a Free version,
so why make the Pro free, and eliminate the Free version.
In the end, you still have a Free version...

It was only after doing it that it became clear.
The simplicity of only one version,
and the complete detachment from any profit motive
gave me a totally different perspective,
and it energized me.

If there was never any intention to make money on the app,
then why did we charge anything at all?
We got started down the wrong path, 
using an app model that was designed for profit making businesses.

Having only one version:
1. reduces user confusion and anxiety at the point of downloading,
2. eliminates the discomfort with being sold something,
3. possibly increases the likelihood that it will be downloaded.
4. eliminates buyer remorse if the app is disappointing, or not used.
5. increases likelihood that it will be recommended to others.

More importantly, 
I feel a lot more positive about recommending the app now,
since there is no way I can profit from sharing it.
It's truly a gift.

And then share it with a friend...

May 25, 2019

Imagine the life you could live, if you just got started...

Someplace in Moldova

Imagine the many years of consistent care,
the patience and dedication,
that it took to create the natural work of art in the photo above.

You can create your life and business to be
the work of art you can imagine.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his own dreams
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.


All things flow from the mind.
So choose carefully the thoughts you put there.

ToBeWise™is a good place to start.
It's a totally free app for your smartphone, Apple or Android.
No upselling, no advertising, nothing to buy,
and no tracking whatsoever, so everything you do, or not,
is not tracked.
It's perfectly private.

It's a gift. No strings attached. 
No salesman will call.

This app is your own private superpower.
Just turn it on and you are on your way to
knowing the smartest things ever said by 
the smartest people in all recorded history.

Right up to current day billionaires and VCs and startup gurus
to get you the fundamentals to build your own unicorn.

Free, right?
How long do you want to keep thinking about this?
Click here and download now!

You can either think the greatest thoughts ever thought,
or you can think about... what?
What's on TV tonight?

Give it a try and see if it doesn't get you a little bit motivated
and then a little bit more motivated,
and pretty soon you are living a life turned on.

You are either ON the path to a better life and business,
or you are OFF the path.
Click here and download now!

What do you need to know right now?
What would it be worth to have a genius on demand to help you out?
Life changing, right?

You have that push-button genius instantly, on your phone.

This may sound like some sales pitch, but there's nothing to sell.
It's Free.

Nobody knows who you are, or even if you downloaded it.
Nobody knows but you.

Others may notice that you seem much more confident,
and wise, of course, wise beyond your years,
the sort of wisdom that inspires others to work with you
to do great things.

Turn your life into a living breathing work of art
because anything less would be a tragedy.

(Jason Silva)

Your life can change the minute you decide.
Get the app.

Why are you still here?
Get busy with thinking the right thoughts,
the thoughts that will supercharge your actions.
And of course it's the right actions that create the vision you have.

Actions express Priorities


What's in it for me?
Absolutely nothing,
except the warm fuzzies that somebody
is getting value from something that I gave them.

Who am I?
Here's my info: Bio - LinkedIn - Website - Facebook
Bottom line is I've been around a long time
and built a few good businesses and helped over
a hundred other CEO/founders, and learned from all of it,
including the mistakes I've made. 

This app is designed for people who know they can do better,
and they're looking for a simple way to get started right.

For me it's about helping others, giving back.

You would have to read hundreds of books,
and that would take a very long time,
and you still couldn't get the wisdom
that is at your fingertips.

Almost 200 different topics from decision making
to sales, to motivation and so many others.
Over 800 authors, philosophers, investors, entrepreneurs.
Over 2,000 nuggets of pure gold.

Numbers alone fall far short of describing the Quality
of this extraordinary app.

Click here and download now!

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has Genius, Power, and Magic in it.


May 6, 2019

Pebble Watch Founder on Why Startup Advisors

Pebble Watch founder and Y Combinator partner Eric Migicovsky on how he found startup advisors, how his advisors helped Pebble, and how he compensated his advisors with equity.

Y Combinator invests a small amount of money ($150k) in a large number of startups (recently 200), twice a year. Learn more about YC and apply for funding here: