Skip to main content

100% of Nothing

One of my investors argued with me that I'd end up with 100% of nothing if I passed on a deal. And I know the argument well.
In that case, it was a bad deal, but it was the only deal, and was something we likely should have done. I didn't block it but did ask so many questions they tabled the deal. Bad deals are like that--they don't do the job of convincing everyone it should get done, and then they languish.

With deals, there's negative dilution and positive dilution. Negative dilution is when you give up a percentage of ownership and get nothing (or worse) for it. Positive dilution is when you give up a percentage and get more than what you gave for it. Employee options, new capital, partnerships, new equipment--every investment is about positive or negative dilution.

When something costs you nothing but brings the possibility of revenue, new markets, brand awareness, and opportunities, you're nuts to say no. When it costs you nothing, you say yes. But many, many entrepreneurs say no for one reason or another--scarcity mentality, control issues, fear.

And many amazing technologies go unknown and unused, without benefit to the world or to their inventors. I've heard about this, read about it, experienced it with Mission Research, and just recently witnessed something in freefall that has no reason to fail and every reason to succeed. Owning 100% of nothing gets you nowhere. Sometimes you need to give to get--a cliche, but meaningful.

But great ideas need at least mediocre execution to thrive. My dad gave all of his kids a framed piece with a quote from Calvin Coolidge--perhaps his only great contribution to the world:

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Tenacity, persistence--yes. But openness and trust make a huge difference too. The 100% of Nothing argument is a good one, but don't ever let someone influence your choices using the fear of losing everything.

You can lose everything and bounce back--that's why entrepreneurs are so admired. We lose everything, we fight back, we win against the odds, and then some of us lose it again, just to rediscover that tenacity and fight back to win another day. So don't give up, and don't give in to the fears.


Popular posts from this blog

Beta Signup

I've been working for quite a while on a new search concept, though the further in I get, the closer the rest of the world gets to what we're doing. So today I'm inviting you to sign up for the rather modest beta, which will be ready soon if we can nail down a few difficult  details. Jawaya is a way of navigating the web and getting better results. And that's as much as I can say right now, because we're not a funded startup, and things are moving really fast in this space--it's going to be very competitive. I predict there will be about 10 funded startups in the next 6 months doing something similar. One of them will be mine, and we aim to make it the best. We're raising a round of capital to fund the team, and are shooting for early sustainability. This is my fifth company; my fourth in the tech space, and my third software company. I think it will be the biggest and can possibly have a positive impact on the world by reducing the amount of time it takes

Where Innovation Happens

As I get closer to a go/no-go decision on a project, I've been thinking about the difference about my vision for the project and the supportive innovations to enable the core innovations The vision combines (in unequal parts) product, core innovation as I imagine it, the application of that core innovation, design, marketing,  developer ecosystem, and business development. The core innovation enables everything else, but it's the application of the innovation that makes it meaningful, useful, and in this case, fun. This week we're testing initial approaches to the implementation for our specific application, and that's where we'll develop the enabling innovations, which is basically where the rubber meets the road. The difference is that the enabling innovation happens at the source of real problems only encountered in the making of something, and in a project like this just getting the essence of it right isn't enough; it also has to be safe, the compone

The Real Jobs Problem

It's the economy, stupid.  Well, yes, it always has been, if you're in the distortion field of politics.  But whose economy? The pundits, the White House, the Republican candidates all miss the mark. They keep talking about debt, taxes, and monetary policy. None of those things tell the real story behind today's economy.  The Old Economy Keynes was right--in the old economy. Economy gets weak, pump some money into the economy through public works projects, which  1) puts people to work, which  2) boosts the economy and  3) generates new tax revenue, while  4) leaving us with another generation of reliable infrastructure to support  5) more growth (for growth's sake, which is another post).  The Beach Ball Imagine a beach ball, partially deflated to represent a recession. Got it? Now imagine the govt pumping that beach ball back up through sensible public investment (which we haven't seen for decades). The New Economy Same beach ball, same pum