Starting a Company Feels Like You Are Unemployed

I have had numerous friends and family members negatively affected by the shakeout at Zenefits, so I was hesitant to write this post, but this quote from Parker Conrad, the founder of Zenefits, is a key one that I wanted to reflect upon.

“When you start a new company, it kinda feels like you’re unemployed,” Conrad told Axios shortly after his Demo Day presentation. A program like Y Combinator can motivate and bring structure to a founder’s work, he added.”

I couldn’t agree more about the unemployment bit. At the beginning, even with great co-founders, starting a company is a mental challenge and feels a lot like unemployment (save for all of the hard work you are doing). No paychecks. Sparse email traffic. No direction. Limited accountability. Total schedule flexibility. (more…)

Thoughts on the Snap IPO

Professionally I don’t get too excited about consumer technology IPOs, but I sometimes find myself entrapped, following certain consumer names for personal reasons. Snap is my current haunt. Snap has been a fun saga to follow and experience. I went from skeptic, to Snap user, to Facebook Stories user, and now back to being an avid Snap user (for good). I used to live in Venice Beach and skateboard past Snap’s first office before Snap was Snap; my old boss is now Snap’s #3 exec; and I constantly toil with wrapping my head around the sheer size of the opportunity around this company (it’s a big one).

For all of these reasons, I wanted to put my brief thoughts down on paper to hold myself accountable and to share some insights with readers. For full disclosure, I am not buying IPO stock, I don’t own any stock, and this is not investment advice (see disclaimer below). This is just my initial set of high-level thoughts to focus in on what I believe are the key issues. If you want vast reams of analysis, metrics, and fun with numbers, I would point you to Snap’s S-1Goodwater Capital’s review, RetailRoadshow, or here, here, and here. Lastly, apologies for the poor grammar below; I am in heavy GSD mode these days due to my two start-ups (family and company). (more…)

Michael Mauboussin on Maximizing the Probability of Investment Success

Sourcing, underwriting and constructing a portfolio of investments that produce attractive investor returns is tough and sloppy work. That is why I liked this quote from Michael Mauboussin on putting process around investing.

“We have no control over outcomes, but we can control the process. Of course, outcomes matter, but by focusing our attention on process, we maximize our chances of good outcomes.” — Michael J. Mauboussin

Being Different and Finding Your Career Groove

“It’s about the journey, not the destination.”

I love this quote and often use it to keep things in perspective, especially careers.

When reading professional biographies and interviewing job candidates, it often seems as if careers are a linear process. However, as I grow older, while it is true that some people enjoy careers that are truly linear, I am coming to appreciate that careers are more like a journey with a rough destination in mind. Individuals are constantly striving to reach their long term career goal, while having fun (however you define it) and picking up pieces of knowledge at each stop along the way to help them do so. (more…)

Life’s Lessons from Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman, Multi-Asset Investing, Blackstone

I recently came across the below life tips from Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman, Multi-Asset Investing, at Blackstone. Good reminders to keep life heading in the right direction!

1. Concentrate on finding a big idea that will make an impact on the people you want to influence. The Ten Surprises, which I started doing in 1986, has been a defining product. People all over the world are aware of it and identify me with it. What they seem to like about it is that I put myself at risk by going on record with these events which I believe are probable and hold myself accountable at year-end. If you want to be successful and live a long, stimulating life, keep yourself at risk intellectually all the time.

2. Network intensely. Luck plays a big role in life, and there is no better way to increase your luck than by knowing as many people as possible. Nurture your network by (more…)

I’m Back!

After 3+ years of hibernation due to the silence required by my technology investment banking role at Credit Suisse, I’m excited to be back to writing!

When I left off in 2012, my posts were getting increasingly long and complex, and as a result, more time consuming. I enjoyed long-form writing when I had a lot of free time. However, nowadays, I have less time for writing due to increased demands from work and a growing family. As a result, now that I’m back to writing, it may be more sporadic and it will certainly be more brief and less heavily edited. (more…)

Howard Marks & Charlie Munger: It’s [Investing is] Not Easy

As I continue to unwind from investment banking, I have been enjoying reading a lot again. I have already worked my way through more books in the past six months than I did during the the three years of working at Credit Suisse. At the same time, I have been back to writing more, too. My writings have mostly been investment memos at work, but I am beginning to consider posting on my blog again as well. Overall, I am feeling more reinvigorated than ever before.

At the same time, it feels like our little tech sector corner of the universe is reaching a turning point. It seems like the pendulum that has been swinging within the industry from fear to greed since 2005, (more…)

On Hiatus

Thanks for visiting my website.  This used to be a forum for my business school lessons learned.  However, given the privacy requirements associated with my job, my website is on hiatus.

If you want to learn more about me, you can do so here, and I always enjoy an email, so don’t be shy about reaching out via the contact form (here).

Thanks again for stopping by.