Curing the Incurable – Part One: Plantar Fascitis

I’m going to diverge from the usual entrepreneur stuff I write about and talk about using the entrepreneurial approach to solve hard problems with health. Many of us go through these things, but we never talk about them publicly for fear of seeming vulnerable. 

I am no longer afraid to talk. Or be vulnerable. I feel invincible and I love myself. (Why? That comes in Part 2)

I used to run a lot a few years ago, until I started getting foot injuries. Plantar Fascitis (inflammation of the heel) was the worst. My feet hurt all day. Walking alone was painful. This is what it looks like:

 

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I did all the usual things: physical therapy, stop running, take anti-inflammation medication. I saw 4 doctors and specialists. I even had custom orthotics made for my feet that a podiatrist recommended. Nothing worked. Surgery was the next option. 

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Step-by-Step: How to get in touch with anyone for BD / Sales

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Getting in touch with the right person at a large organization is a hard problem for a startup. You could be trying to get a sale, a partnership, a deal or a new hire. You’re small, tiny, insignificant. You have value to offer, but there’s so much noise out there. Why should someone notice you? How can you get them to return your calls?

I run into this all the time and have tried hundreds of things over the years, from throwing parties, to speaking at conferences, to lots of networking. But those things involve a lot of wasted time since they are not laser-focused. The method I’m outlining below has worked for me around 80% of the time over several hundred attempts (large enough sample pool).

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Open Letter to the President: How to grow the Economy by 10% for $0

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Mr. President,

I am happy and relieved that you got re-elected. You were the more trustworthy candidate. For these reasons however, I believe your policies are continuing to take us down the road of financial ruin. It’s the same thing that’s been happening for the past 20-30 years, so I don’t blame you.  

However we have now hit a point where our debt is so large, our burden so great, that we cannot keep spending borrowed money to grow the economy. The coffers are empty. The Federal Reserve owns almost all debt dated longer then 10 years. We borrow 45% of what we spend. Every man, woman and child would need to dedicate 10% of their income for the next 40 years just to pay off our debt, as it stands today. And that is without accounting for the $1T annual debt increases for the next decade that are forecasted by your office. 

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The Case for Gold

I know, I know – it’s not a startup topic. And its that old-school dinosaur gold. But I feel that there is a fundamental and mathematical disconnect between two things: the current market pricing of the US Dollar & Treasury bonds, VS. what the math is telling me will happen. This is similar to my math posts on startup fundamentals and stock prices.

I recommend going through the slides below in full screen so you can follow the math and arguments better. This is a draft and work-in-progress.

The Island of Dreams

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Imagine this: you’ve just left home, your friends, all your belongings and are on a boat moving to a New World. On the boat are a bunch of people you’ve never met before. They’re moving there too. They’re broke, hungry and big dreamers, just like you. They want to build beautiful things with their hands. They like the idea of being rich and famous, but they are really there because the New World lets them build anything they want. It is unlike any other place in the world in terms of its freedom. Anyone, from anywhere can come here and build beautiful things. It beckons to them as New York harbor once beckoned to immigrants from Europe – send us your poor, your hungry, your dreamers…

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eSports: this will be HUGE

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The League of Legends Season 2 Championship just concluded this weekend. This was the largest in eSports history with a $5 million prize pool, with the winning team TPA pocketing a cool $1 million. Around 10,000 fans attended this event in person in Los Angeles, and an estimated 1 million fans watched the show this weekend in the US, and another 2 million worldwide. Other regular championships such as IPL and Major League Gaming are also consistently drawing 250k+ unique viewers in the US.

So now you’re asking – huh, what’s eSports? eSports is the live sport of competitive video gaming. Yes, people watching other people play videogames like LoLStarcraft 2, Halo, Street Fighter etc.

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How to Become an Overnight Success

Image “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success”

– Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter, Blogger and Xanga

Sorry, I cheated on the title. I couldn’t agree with Stone more. My version of this quote is: to become an overnight success, it takes ten years of failure. That’s what Stone is really saying.

In the past 2 weeks, a friend of mine just got cheated on by his other co-founders and got booted out. Another founder just sold his beloved guitar so he could have money for food. Yet another friend just fired all his employees and his 3-year old startup is shutting down.

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Convertible Notes – Weapons of Mass Destruction

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When the 2008 financial crisis happened, Warren Buffet called derivaties contracts used on Wall Street “Financial weapons of Mass Destruction.”

Working within a convertible note for my current startup, I think this is our start-up equivalent. To put things into perspective, I’ve raised 2 equity rounds for my previous startups ($4.5m in equity financing) which got acquired. I’ve been full circle and can compare notes to equities on a first-hand basis. So let me explain what’s so different about a convertible note. 

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