Berkonomics

Let’s not confuse big data with knowledge!

Berkonomics

There’s a famous intersection in Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing, where thousands of people cross each day, seemingly in random directions. Here’s the test: try to follow one person in his or her journey. That would be like picking a piece of information form a maze.

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The best advice startups will never follow

Berkonomics

Dave’s note: This is a reprint of a 2015 insight that seems to have struck a chord with investors and entrepreneurs. None of this advice has changed… Let me tell you a few short hair–raising stories of entrepreneurs who have raised money and regretted it later.

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Selling your business? Find the emotional buyer

Berkonomics

This is one of my favorite insights, since I lived this one in a positive exit from my computer business. Types of business buyers expanded. Most people will tell you that there are two kinds of eventual buyers for your business: financial and strategic. A financial buyer will analyze your numbers, past and forecast, to the n’th degree, and calculate the price based upon the result, after carefully comparing your numbers with those of others in the same and similar industries.

Mailing lists, email marketing, errors, oh my!

Berkonomics

Using old email lists for the first time is like eating really stale doughnuts. The taste is pretty bad, and the side effects could be disastrous. Strict rules about spam accounts. Email companies like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp and many others all have strict rules.

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Can You Ask for Office Rent Relief? How to Manage Your Lease During COVID-19

Office leases are one of companies’ largest expenses, and if your whole team is working from home with no clear end in sight, you may be wondering what to do about your lease.

Jeff Bezos asked a question that blew me away!

Berkonomics

Here’s the question: This piece of wisdom came from Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, during a board meeting for one of the companies where he sits as board member. Jeff asked the question “Is there anything big or small, which is working better than you expected?

Here are tricks to find yourself on social media.

Berkonomics

Finding your needle in the haystack. There is so much information being shot at us daily via social media streams that we should monitor and control that which pertains to our business – and do so with some level of expertise. Start with a simple tool.

Why not share your liquidity success with those who got you there?

Berkonomics

So, you are close to selling your company, and counting the profits a bit early. Well, that’s human nature. Here’s a thought for you to recall later when and if the event happens. Remember those who got you there. And for tax reasons, remember them before the closing of the deal, so that you can do so by sharing a bit of your proceeds without paying personal income tax upon those amounts. Formal option plans for some.

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Question: Do you know three types of advertising?

Berkonomics

If we never advertised, we’d never sell anything. Right? Perhaps right, but there are three major types of advertising, some requiring large outlays of cash, some not. The types of advertising. First, you can advertise your brand so that people recognize it when they see it in later materials.

The shocking truth about employee loyalty

Berkonomics

How we often handle employment issues today. When we accept the work commitment from a person we hire, we make a pact with the new employee that often stops at agreeing to pay for service rendered and to provide a safe working environment. There should be more than that. .

Sometimes your gut is the best you’ve got.

Berkonomics

How I didn’t follow my own advice. Years ago, I led a deal and invested in a company that looked like it had lots of promise to disrupt the women’s clothing industry with special algorithms and an online store. But something had bothered me from the very start – unsalable inventory.

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Go ahead. Revert to “old school” marketing. If you dare…

Berkonomics

“Broadcast the message and they will come!” “Segment my broadcast and I will have better response.” Both of these time–honored methods of reaching our customers have worked for as long as there was print and radio–TV to get the message out. The obsolete marketing message.

Steve Jobs’ “aha moment!”

Berkonomics

There is a process to innovation that can be summed up with four words: “Whoa. Credit Dr. Mark Goulston with this. He states, that’s exactly how Steve Jobs described his “aha moment.” So, let’s paraphrase the late Mr. Jobs as we describe this process. A bit of history that “made” Apple rich.

Branding yourself: A critical decision

Berkonomics

We’re talking about brand strategy here. Not advertising, and certainly not an easy grasp for amateur marketers. So how developed is your company’s brand? Is your message clear, concise, and consistent?

Customer empowerment? Blame the Internet.

Berkonomics

Customer empowerment is moving so fast nowadays that many of us are running to just catch up. Yet if we don’t or can’t, it is a sure thing that someone else will. Yes, we can blame the Internet for this.

Good, cheap, fast. Pick any two.

Berkonomics

This one is attributed to Rod Adair, the famous oil and gas fire suppressing expert. And boy, does it apply to most of us and our offerings. Quality” products and services….

The lion and the ant: A managerial lesson

Berkonomics

This story has turned out to be one of the most enduring posts ever for me, well worth repeating. And what a lesson for us all. I confess that our research cannot find its source.

How credible are you to others?

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How do you define credibility in business? A friend of mine recently told me his story of how his very career rests on his credibility with his major supplier–partners.

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Finding “stinky clauses” in legal investment documents

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Here’s the problem: Investors sometimes join into investment rounds that have been pre–negotiated by others, receiving the paperwork already created by attorneys from that negotiation.

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What if you and your investors don’t agree on an exit?

Berkonomics

First, the implied promise: Taking money from professional investors such as angels or VCs usually requires that you agree to seek an exit for those investors in your plan, often targeting five to seven years as the ideal period for growth before a liquidity event.

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Have you heard? Eyeballs aren’t everything.

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Remember when? Back when we were all trying to figure out the real value of traffic on the web, investors – and acquiring companies – got a bit crazy with metrics used to value acquisitions and investments.

Don’t just raise money. Do it on good news!

Berkonomics

Why is this important advice? Because the first rule for raising money is to do it on good news – right when sales are increasing at an accelerating rate. Or when a major customer signs a significant deal. Or when something happens that makes an investor think this company is about to break out.

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If you’re lucky enough: Celebrate your exit!

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How might you view your successful exit from the company you have spent so much effort to build?

VC investors: Don’t be greedy even if you can.

Berkonomics

First, the marginal exit event: Sometimes the end game or sale of the company is not a happy event for the early investors, including the entrepreneur or the founders.

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My hard-earned lessons from negative exits.

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In my life as an early-stage investor, I’ve been closely involved with so many businesses, there were bound to be numerous stories of actual and near failures, hopefully from which to learn lessons for all of us as we go forward. The emotions we feel when “turning out the lights.”.

Do you really want to be the first to market?

Berkonomics

My stories of missing the context of the times. Over the years, as I managed my several computer companies as CEO or executive chairman, I made the decision to go to market with a brand-new product that had never before been exposed to my customer’s marketplace.

Patent litigation can kill the small guy.

Berkonomics

Here’s the bright side to patents. When you think of patents, you think of added value to the corporation in the form of protection of its intellectual property.

Is there gold in your old intellectual property?

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Digging through your IP closet for gold….

Budget from the top down or bottom up? A puzzle.

Berkonomics

Here’s the argument: Many people believe that bottom-up budgeting leads to waste and misdirection.

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Recognize your five critical business risks.

Berkonomics

If you could predict a crisis within your business before its occurrence, wouldn’t you move to prevent or reduce its impact? Making such predictions is a skill that can be developed, and here’s one method of doing so. First let’s eliminate external risks for this conversation.

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Have you heard the rule of the thirds?

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It starts with sharing the opportunity and upside. Think of startups and early stage businesses whose entrepreneurs you know.

What can go wrong with your business growth?

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So, your business has begun to take off. You’ve figured out your channels of distribution, pricing model and how to support your growing list of customers. Don’t be alarmed by this next statement. That’s relatively easy.

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Premature scaling can kill your business.

Berkonomics

Here’s a lesson from experience. Venture capitalists sometimes make an error in directing their portfolio company CEOs to push resources to the limit and scale the business to immense size quickly, all to seize market share.

Five ways to make and execute a great plan

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It is all about execution. Waiting over a year to see results is too long, since your chance of mid-course correction is greatly reduced. To make the point, Harvard’s Robert Kaplan believes that less than 10% of corporate strategies are effectively executed. If that is true, we are tolerant bunch.

Your “drop dead” question for a customer survey

Berkonomics

Here’s the question: Sean Ellis, the marketing guru behind DropBox and other successes, advises clients that “The most important question on a survey is , ‘How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?’” He goes on to quantify the response.

How big is your ocean? A lesson in TAM, SAM & SOM

Berkonomics

Is this a problem or an opportunity? This insight is like a Hans Christian Anderson parable, but aimed at you and your business… There are big fish and small fish, potential customers, all swimming in the sea that is your potential marketplace.

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The four rules for motivating your employees with money.

Berkonomics

We’ve debated this one forever it seems. Should be overwhelm prospective employees with stock options and perks? Or concentrate our available resources on just plain money as an attraction?

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The coffee and wine school of innovation.

Berkonomics

Here’s one for debate around a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Most innovation occurs when creative people are relaxed and thinking about other things. Coffee, wine, quiet time, showers…. How it occurs in large companies….

Reward success and failure. Punish only inaction.

Berkonomics

Reward failure? . That may be a difficult concept for an executive. And there are limits of course. We wouldn’t reward a failure to follow laws, or protect lives, or deliberate endangerment of the company or its people. There are “good” failures.

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Have you accidentally created a “power vacuum?”

Berkonomics

Here’s a question to help you decide if you’re guilty. How many times have you heard someone say, “Let’s do it now and ask permission later?” Have you done it in front of your cohort?

A tale of two CEO’s and the management of pain.

Berkonomics

This is the tale of two CEOs, one of them unfortunately….me. me. . It’s a story of how people handle unusual situations when selling to the top – an executive of a prospective customer. And the stories couldn’t be more different. First, my friend’s story….

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Are you killing innovation in your company?

Berkonomics

First, let’s recognize the problem. Here’s one for executives of any company with next generation products in mind.

Why would you ever “fire yourself?”

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To start: “new source of energy” and “new ideas.”. When a new CEO or manager is hired into a company, for a while lots of energy flows from the top and new ideas seem to be generated daily.

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