Quotes from the Late Steve Jobs

I didn’t fully appreciate how much I admired Steve Jobs until he passed away yesterday.  This man lived life and revolutionized three industries: Computers, music and cell phones.  Steve was impressive and inspiring not just because of his accomplishments, but also because of his perspectives.  I thought it would be nice to share two of Steve’s quotes that I find particularly salient and timeless to commemorate his passing.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” (more…)

Venture Capital Overview: Industry Stats, Top Funds, Investment Structures, and How to Get Into the Game

Yesterday I held a session on the venture capital market for some of my Class of 2013 classmates.  Getting into VC is elusive, if not nearly impossible, so I held this session to pass along the knowledge I have acquired through my limited background with the industry.  My hope is that this information will help them get into the industry.  I thought it would be helpful to also post this information here for a broader audience.  The discussion below is intended to serve as a jumping off point for someone trying to learn more about venture capital, not a definitive guide.  Also, there are many exceptions to VC rules or “standards” (if you can call them that); so if you have information to share, please don’t be shy about adding to the discussion in the comments section. (more…)

Interesting Start-ups: Gigwalk, Bloomspot, Gogobot, Hotel Tonight

I’m back to blogging after a hiatus due to my internship. I thought a good way to kick-off the fall would be to highlight some of the interesting start-ups I’ve observed over the last few months.  So, in no particular order, here are some interesting consumer internet start-ups which are appealing for different reasons: Gigwalk, Bloomspot, Gogobot and Hotel Tonight.

Gigwalk, an app, is an interesting play on distributed mobile workforces.  As a public equity investor, there are some compelling applications for this technology in the area of market research.  I could see this being used in a manner similar to the research performed by organizations such as Grassroots Research.

Bloomspot, a site referred to as a Groupon clone by others, is interesting not because of its deals, but because of its closed loop commerce platform.  Enhanced analytics is the future of the deal space, and these guys seem to be onto something.  Apparently (more…)

Software Industry Analysis, August 2011: My USC Student Investment Fund Summer Project

As a part of my involvement in the USC Student Investment Fund, I had to write an analysis of the software industry.  This report was due during my second week of school, so I had to quickly crank this out after my internship.  Given my time constraint and the high-level scope of this report, it likely isn’t too insightful to anyone who is already familiar with the software industry.  However, if you are unacquainted with the inner workings of software, this report provides a good starting point.  I realize the Industry Overview and Industry Size sections are a little dry, but hopefully you find the rest interesting.  Enjoy. (more…)

Summer Hiatus Due to Internship

It’s time to switch gears from school to work.   I will be spending this summer interning as a Summer Associate in the investment banking division of Credit Suisse, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and private placements.  As a result of the increased workload, and more importantly because of the private nature of the work that I will be doing, I am taking a summer break from blogging.  I am looking forward to posting again in the fall when it’s appropriate.  In the meantime, if there are any topics you would like me to post about in the future, please drop me a line.  Have a great summer everybody.

My Homemade Technology Column

I follow the technology markets, a lot.  Call it passion, obsession, or just plain weird, but I find it interesting to read about the constantly changing technology landscape.  For anyone else interested in tech here’s a snapshot of my favorite websites/blogs.   Some are more news focused and others more analytical.  You might already be reading some of these sites, but hopefully you gain at least one new information source from the list below.

Note that a number of VCs don’t update their blogs often, so I would recommend using an RSS reader to stay up on those blogs (because you don’t want to have to constantly check a site that doesn’t get updated). (more…)

A Post on TechCrunch, The End Result of My Clearstone Venture Partners Internship

1 front page post on TechCrunch; 2,868 tweets; 1,957 LinkedIn shares; and over 2,000 Facebook Likes.  Not bad for three months of work.

As an intern at Clearstone Venture Partners this spring, I had the good fortune of helping William Quigley draft the presentation which underlies his recently published TechCrunch guest post titled, The Next 10 Years Will Be Great For Both Founders and VCs, an article that created quite the buzz across the social web.  William’s perspective and enthusiasm are refreshing for anyone interested in either technology entrepreneurship or venture capital.  (I hope you will give his article a read.) (more…)

Steve Blank on Start-Ups vs. Large Corporations

Here is a speech by Steve Blank, a professor at Stanford and Berkeley, and a thought leader in the start-up community.  Blank’s talk is from the Staford Graduate School of Business Entrepreneurship Week.  Below is a great quote; maybe I like it so much because it helps me cope with the one-size-fits-all solutions that I’m hearing over and over at business school…

“Everything you learn in the business school about large company management is destructive for an early-stage venture. Big idea.  It’s not kind of useful, or geez I’ll just change it.  What you’ll hear later and I’ll explain why, it’s desctructive. Good news is, in the entrepreneurial group at GSB, we teach the right things about early-stage ventures.  But they are not interchangeable.  And you’ll hear me say this throughout this talk: Large corporations execute existing business models, start-ups search for them.  The tools needed, techniques needed, and people needed for execution versus search is what we now know to be radically different.

Blank goes on to say: (more…)

Book Review: You Can be a Stock Market Genius, by Joel Greenblatt

During my first Winter Break since 2003, I had the chance to read You Can be a Stock Market Genius, by Joel Greenblatt.  This book seemed like a logical step after reading The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham, and Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond, by Bruce Greenwald.

Graham, and by extension Greenwald, focus on the analysis of cheap companies, or put another way: They focus on Value Investing. Often, this means analyzing, and potentially purchasing companies with low P/E multiples. To me, Graham and Greenwald’s discussion of value investing is intellectually interesting, but frankly, I find its application practically elusive.  It is difficult to discern whether a (more…)

Charlie Munger on Picking a Career

Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, Charlie Munger, has a great 18-page article on the art of stock picking.  The first half of Munger’s article turns out to be more about broad business principles than narrow number crunching. As someone who’s searching for the next career step, I particularly like this quote.

“Every person is going to have a circle of competence. And it’s going to be very hard to advance that circle. If I had to make my living as a musician…. I can’t even think of a level low enough to describe where I would be sorted out to if music were the measuring standard of the civilization.

So you have to figure out what your own aptitudes are. If you play games where other people have the aptitudes and you don’t, you’re going to lose. And that’s as close to certain as any prediction that you can make. You have to figure out (more…)