“How much to buy your baby?”

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All mothers think that their babies are beautiful. OK, if not really beautiful, then certainly much more special than all the others… There is something primal in humans that makes us seek to find endearing qualities in our offspring. How much would you be willing to sell your baby for?

I have had 3 different calls this week from entrepreneurs asking about how to value their startup companies with early investors. How do you put a “fair” value on your startup company?

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When Life Leaks In

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I had an email exchange with a business associate last night. What started as a work discussion, emerged into a dialog about life and death, values and meaning. She wrote that she had received some bad news lately. I inquired what it was. She told me that she has recently learned that her father has cancer with no chance for a cure.

Silence… reflection… then empathy arose.

When we are obsessively involved with our businesses – as we must sometimes do in order to achieve peak performance – we erect barriers around us that insulate us from life… real life.  Only now and again, life leaks in.

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Rick Salmon appointed President of Selection Jury for 2009 European Venture Contest

barcelona 081(Oslo, Nov. 12, 2009)
Europe Unlimited has appointed Rick Salmon as President of the Selection Jury for 2009 European Venture Contest Finals which will be held on December 14th and 15th, 2009 in Barcelona. The Jury will consist of 30 distinguished members representing the Venture Capital community in Europe.  The mission of this annual venture contest is to find, evaluate and award world-class innovative companies with the potential to dramatically impact their industry and contribute to increasing European competitiveness and growth. This year over 700 startup companies have competed in the contest this year and the top 25 have been chosen to go to the finals in Barcelona.

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Worshiping Genius

RS_Photo94“Italy worships Genius, but has not yet figured out how to create a culture of entrepreneurship”. This was an interesting statement made by the Executive Director of the Italian Angels for Growth, Lorenzo Fanchini at last week’s semi-final of the European Venture Contest (EEVC) held in Turin. Italy is a country filled with brilliant scientists and engineers. There is a huge supply of new technology, brilliant engineering and mechanical precision but unfortunately a shortage of businessmen – those boring guys in business suits that focus on cash flow instead of electron flow. Don’t get me wrong. There are good businessmen in Italy, but as an outsider, I am struck by the inequality in the number of engineers.

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“If you are so smart… why are you not rich?”

tshirt3“If you are so smart, why are you not rich?”
I saw this written on a T-shirt the other day at a gathering of entrepreneurs. It was a blatant challenge and it made me stop and think. In looking back on my 20 years as an entrepreneur, have I failed if I am not rich? Is that really what has driven me all these years? No, not really.

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A Crisis is a Terrible thing to Waste (Part 2) – Smoke Signals

smokesignalWhen I was a boy I loved to watch “Cowboy and Indian” programs on television. The plots were always the same. They usually started with a group of settlers – who were traveling in their covered wagons towards some dream of a better life in a faraway place. Then would come some sort of a crisis. The crisis was usually the Indians. First the Indians would signal their attack by sending up smoke signals that would be visible from far away (because the Indians didn’t have mobile phones). The smart cowboys would see the signals and take cover, but most cowboys would ignore the signals and keep right on moving along until the Indians swooped down from the hills and attacked the wagon train.

When a business ends up in a crisis, it is usually because they fail to pay attention to the smoke signals. Most of the time the signals are there on the horizon, clear and easy to see, yet they choose to ignore them. And then when the Indians swoop down upon them, they are just as surprised each time.

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