Computer Guy

Computer Guy
Sunset at DoubleM Systems (, Del Mar, California

Thursday, 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. 


Wednesday, 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. 

Tuesday, 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 System:

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.

Epic Entrepreneur House

These six millennials in Mission Hills make millions each year — but they share a house?

Entrepreneurs house
Every Monday morning these roommate entrepreneurs have an all-hands meeting to go over matters that affect them and to talk about their businesses. Right to left they are: James Hodges, Lian Price, Trevor Jensen, Shiv Shukla, Matt DeCelles and Ryan Brazzell.
(John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
If millions of dollars passed through your hands each year, do you think you’d have roommates?
Six successful entrepreneurs in San Diego are doing just that, sharing a house in Mission Hills — but not to save money.
All in their 20s and 30s, these millennials live under a strict code of conduct worthy of a reality TV show. The ultimate goal? Be the ultimate entrepreneur.
The roommates call their digs the “Epic Entrepreneur House” — a six-bedroom home where they trade business strategy like currency. Started as a frat-like community of startup founders, the home has evolved into a strait-laced pad with rules, schedules and board meetings.
“Everything in the house is designed to make you better without having to think about it,” said roommate Matt DeCelles.
The housemates don’t work at the same company. They each own different ventures, from e-commerce stores to medical device makers. Their companies are worth over $100 million combined, and the entrepreneurs have high standards for the company they keep.
“If someone moves out, we try to select a new person who will raise everyone else’s bar,” said roommate Shiv Shukla, the founder and CEO of Neuralace Medical. “They say you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so we’re trying to up our average.”
For the group to accept you as a new roommate, your business must make at least $1 million per year.
“That’s the threshold,” said Trevor Jensen, who owns pet toy company Bullibone. “Some of us are making well above that.”

A house designed for performance
You wouldn’t know their wealth from the state of their living room. Sparsely decorated and sporting worn carpets and office-like furniture, the house is more functional than fashionable. The roommates have designed it to be an unmanned machine so they can spend all of their energy building their businesses.
They pay for laundry and cleaning services. They employ a chef who designs and makes all of their meals and then takes care of the grocery shopping and dishes.
The roommates want to be healthy and fit, so their chef tailors the weekly menu to a specific diet.
“Mostly protein; nothing white,” said DeCelles, who owns popular sunglass company William Painter. “No rice, no bread. Ten ounces of protein, greens and beans — that’s what our meals look like.”
The only woman in the house, Lian Price, owns a personal fitness brand called WorkGrindFly. She trains the guys, keeping everyone in the house in tip-top shape.
After all their perks, amenities and rent combined, Shukla said he’s paying less than his last place: a 1-bedroom apartment that ran him $2,200 per month.
With no time spent on daily drudgery, the entrepreneurs devote their days to personal and professional growth. They meditate in the mornings. They write their goals and to-do lists on a whiteboard in their foyer and oversee each other’s progress. Every Monday night, they conduct a Napoleon Hill-style “mastermind meeting” to chat about their challenges and seek input from the rest of the group. If answers can’t be found in-house, the entrepreneurs share their contacts to help each other out.
“Between the six of us, our network is so enormous we can plug you in anywhere,” Jensen said.
The group regularly finds new and successful people to draw into their circle, holding monthly networking mixers they call “wine nights” at their home. They invite other entrepreneurs or inspirational types and then pick their brains and enjoy their company. The chef makes an elaborate dinner and, of course, they drink wine.
“We have the most amazing conversations on those nights,” Shukla said.

The epic entrepreneurs are part of a trend
The Epic Entrepreneur House is modeled after a housing trend called “co-living,” which is more common in big and expensive cities like New York and San Francisco. Co-living is a shared housing model in which roommates split the cost of rent and amenities they might not be able to afford on their own. Unlike typical roommate scenarios, the model is more formalized with a focus on building a community around shared interests or lifestyles.
The trend emerged after the tremendous popularity of co-working, which redefined shared offices by elevating the importance of culture, community and lifestyle above all else. It was only a matter of time before shared housing followed suit., a tech company that makes software tools to help manage co-living spaces, has an online marketplace listing hundreds of co-living sites around the world. Some communities are designed for artists, others for inventors.
Christine McDannell, founder and CEO of, said co-living is particularly popular with entrepreneurs.
“With entrepreneurs, it’s such a unique lifestyle,” McDannell said. “Your work and your business are your life, and not everyone understands that. But when you’re living among like-minded people, you share those passions and priorities.”
For the roommates at Epic Entrepreneur House, that’s the crux of it.
“A huge benefit is accountability,” DeCelles said. “The house is checking in on you all the time.”

Strength in numbers
Each house member contributes a different set of skills to the table. For example, DeCelles and Shukla said Jensen is good at brokering deals. He’s contributed advice that was critical in growing their businesses.
They also lean heavily on each other for guidance.
“When I have issues with my company, I go to the house first,” Shukla said. “Then I go to my Mastermind group, then my therapist, then my executive coach, then my advisory board and investors. By the time I get to the board, I have a really good answer.”
The group effort seems to be working.
Shukla’s startup, Neuralace, just closed a $3.85 million round of seed financing from venture capitalists, setting him on a path to get his medical device approved by 2020. The sunglass company owned by DeCelles just struck gold with a viral marketing video. Jensen’s dog toys are now in every Walmart store in the U.S., and he’s expanding into new ventures, including an e-sports startup.
“All of our businesses are exploding in the best way possible, and they’re exploding together because we have this synergistic effect,” Jensen said.
The growth has taught Jensen the power of networks, he said.
“They say you’re the average of the five people you associate with, but what if you spread that idea to include a whole community?” Jensen said. “That becomes really powerful.”