This is post is the second in a five part series on Capital, and You. Previously, I defined capital as potential power. This second post attempts to explains the relationship between Capital and the Venture Capitalist. Capital and The Venture Capitalist The Venture Capitalist has one primary optimization objective and a handful of secondary, often self-imposed, constraints. The primary optimization objective of the Venture Capitalist to accumulate more capital. They may self-impose a constraint, like only accumulating capital in the financial services sector, or only by working with women entrepreneurs or by some other criteria. But their primary objective is accumulate more capital. Venture Capitalists engage in a set of activities in the quest to accumulate more capital. If a[…]

This is post is the first in a five part series on Capital, and You.It’s written for people who turn data into product and who may have some questions about why they’re seeing what they’re seeing and why they’re feeling what they’re feeling at a startup. The first post explains what is Capital. The second post attempts to explains the relationship between Capital and the Venture Capitalist. The third post explains the relationship between the Board and the Venture Capitalist. The fourth post expands the relationship between the Board and the Founder. And fifth post expands on the relationship between Capital and the Citizen. Capital And You: What Is Capital Capital is potential power. In order for capital to make[…]

Previously, I asked what kind of leader you wanted to be. In it, I struggled with the question of the tradeoffs of misrepresenting ground truth. Suppose you work at the WWE and you need to make a business decision. Somebody literally believes that it’s all real. You need to make a business decision about a contract renewal. What kind of harm are you doing to them, and to yourself, in going along with their belief, something that you know yourself not to be true? Absurd? Yes. Beliefs are absurd things. Later that month, I was asked why I was so sure that WWE wasn’t real? Why was my version of ground truth any more legitimate than somebody else’s ground truth?[…]

What causes conversion? Demand. It’s a simple answer and worthy of unpacking.  You could thank Claude C. Hopkins for the simple answer. Hopkins wrote two books towards the end of his life – Scientific Advertising and My Life In Advertising. He seemed to regret his experiences as an agency president, and left some direct advice on how master marketers should think of their choices. In his last decade of life, Hopkins marketed his marketing expertise. Instead of continuing to take on all the risk of marketing product on behalf of somebody else (and maybe getting paid if the product sold), he set up a system where products would be pitched to him. If the product was good, he’d take a[…]

What a fantastic read from Camuffo, Cordova and Gambardella! If you haven’t read A Scientific Approach to Entrepreneurial Experimentation, you’re missing out. It’s a great read. And not only because it reinforces my own preexisting biases, but also because there are challenging bits in there. The core finding is “We find that entrepreneurs that behave like scientists perform better, pivot to a greater extent to a new idea, and do not dropout less than the control group in the early stages of the startup.” The authors focus on a key behaviour that scientists exhibit. A scientist has two types of skepticism – skepticism that something is true, and skepticism that something is not true. Those represent two types of error, helpfully[…]

There are a few more experiments coming to for 2019. The optimization objective of this set of activities is the same that it was a decade ago: to become a better communicator. I’ve shared a set of new challenges for the data scientist in the January-February issue of Analytics Magazine. I’ll spend part of this year expanding on some of the challenges that I’m running into as they emerge, and leaving a metatag for them. I’ll be posting more series. Last year, in response to a massive, dramatic, thread on slack, I wrote a five part series on the basics of organizing for data science. People find these useful years after they’re posted. (It’s been seven years since I[…]

We visited Cusco January 28 to February 2, 2019, and visited Machu Picchu on January 31. These notes are intended for Canadians thinking about visiting during low season. Getting There: The Flight Air Canada Rouge has a direct flight from Toronto to Lima. Avianca, of the Star Alliance, operates the route from Lima to Cusco. You could check out Miraflores for the food before heading to Lima. Cusco airport is hot, high, and relies on visual approach. If you’re visiting during the low season, there can be delays and cancellations if the pilot can’t see the runway because of fog. The flight to Cusco is short – at less than 80 minutes. The landing is beautiful and you’ll experience a[…]

We visited Miraflores, a neighbourhood of Lima, over the January 26 to 29 weekend. These are notes intended for a Canadian considering visiting Miraflores. Getting There: The Flight We flew Interjet from Mexico City. Their A320’s have very generous legroom. I could cross my legs and work on a laptop. It was great. Thinking back, given that Interjet competes with Air Canada Rouge on the Toronto-Mexico city route, each seat is better than Air Canada Rouge Premium, on a more reliable aircraft type. Something to consider. (Though, I would not transfer through Mexico City given that one has to go through general customs and re-enter the building, it isn’t a fantastic transfer point). Getting There: Customs We cleared in under five minutes[…]

We visited Mexico City from January 12 to January 25, 2019. These are notes intended for Canadians thinking about visiting Mexico City. Getting There: The Flight For direct flights from Toronto, you have three options: Air Canada Rouge, Interjet, and Aeromexico (code share with WestJet). I booked with Air Canada Rouge. Your experience will be, in part, a function of the aircraft you fly in. The morning flight from Toronto this quarter was in a 767, with a 2-3-2 configuration, featuring power outlets in steerage. The evening flight are in an Airbus 319 with no power in steerage. (Air Canada proves once again that the masses are powerless.) These are old A319’s and they tend to suffer from very poor[…]

Roger Martin observed in The Opposable Mind that our stances inform our tools, and our tools inform our experiences. For those who take a stance of continuous improvement and risk management, choosing simulation as a tool is a good course of action. This post unpacks that statement. Stance What are you? You decide your stance. Are you a scientist? Are you an artist? Are you a software engineer? An entrepreneur? You get to decide. Tools Your stance has a powerful impact on which tools you pick up. A scientist picks up the scientific method. An artist may pick up a paint brush. A software engineer pick up python. An entrepreneur may choose the lean canvas and the pitch deck. Experiences[…]