Monthly Archives: January 2012

Co-Founder of Akamai to Speak at Happy Hour on Thursday!

Looking to connect with other high tech entrepreneurs in Dallas? You might want to check out the Startup Happy Hour event this Thursday at 5PM. Join the MeetUp Group and RSVP Here:

It’s time to get the happy hour rolling again! We’re happy to announce that our guest speaker will be Preetish Nijhawan, Managing Director of Cervin Ventures, an early stage VC firm focused on B2B companies.

Preetish co-founded Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM) in 1998Most recently, Preetish was CFO for Neon Enterprise Software. Before that, Preetish was VP of Strategic Alliances at NeoEdge Networks, a video game advertising company. Preetish was also VP, Portfolio and Program Management for BMC Software. Prior to BMC, he was VP, Operations of iVita Corporation, an asset management software startup he helped found.

Preetish has advised senior executives in hardware, software and telecom industries for McKinsey and Company. He also worked for nearly six years in the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) division at Intel in various engineering and program management roles. Preetish earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from The University of Southern California, and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Dawn of a new day at Yahoo?

I had the pleasure of working with Scott Thompson and his team at PayPal back in 2009 and 2010. I was impressed by his energy and drive – if I wasn’t building my own startup I would have jumped at the chance to work with him. Today Yahoo announced that they have appointed him their CEO. Bravo Yahoo! Scott is just the sort of leader Yahoo needs. Scott has a great understanding of payments, shopping and mobile – everything I think Yahoo will need to help turn around public perception of the iconic internet brand. Additionally, Scott will be able to attract the right people to join/rejoin the Yahoo team. I know I would be thrilled to work with him again. Best of luck Scott and best of luck Yahoo!

Hardest Decision An Entrepreneur Must Make?

I would argue that the most difficult decision an entrepreneur must make is which idea to turn into a business. If you hang out with entrepreneurs you will quickly realize that ideas are infinite while time is finite. Picking the ‘right’ idea is key to success. If you start with an idea that could easily turn into a ‘single’ but doesn’t have any chance of becoming a homerun I would argue you are wasting your time. Most of your HUGE ideas will fizzle, some will turn into singles and doubles – and once in a bluemoon one will be a homerun.

This morning a friend of mine asked me if I would be an adviser/investor in a startup he was working on. This friend is talented, intelligent and connected – he could do almost anything. The startup he was working on was in a very small market and was very niche – it will NEVER be a huge business. I gave the following advice:

Entrepreneurs only have a limited number of ‘at bats’. We hear about ‘overnight’ success all of the time, but almost all overnight successes take years to happen. How long does it take to figure out how your HUGE idea will turn out? From my experience it takes three to five years – an average of four years. Assuming you need a year between HUGE ideas this means you might have four ‘at bats’ during your career. Don’t waste 25% of your career on ‘known’ singles and doubles – homeruns change the world – change the world.

BTW: Side businesses are VERY distracting. If you aren’t interested enough in your ‘main’ business/job change your main business/job, don’t start a ‘side business’.

(FYI – the picture connected to this post is an inside joke with my friend)

Obama, Kill This Startup Now!

Normally I am railing against government intrusion into the private sector, but today I am making a personal appeal to President Obama to DESTROY a startup called Blueseed. Peter Thiel has backed Blueseed and according to BI and the AP, “The company aims to sidestep the U.S. current regulations by building vessels that would float in international waters near Silicon Valley and serve as technology incubators for entrepreneurs who can’t get visas to do business in the U.S.”

There are scores of highly educated people who are ready and willing to bring their talents to the US to help create jobs. Why are we keeping them out? Just the other day I read about a startup that had to move to Hong Kong because their visas were expiring. We need to make it easy for entrepreneurs (i.e. job creators) to get to America – they shouldn’t have live on boats just outside international waters. Lets get these people in the country as fast as possible – lets unleash their creativity and let them create the next Google or Facebook.

Note to Peter Thiel and Blueseed: Thank you for doing more to resolve this issue than our leaders are willing to do. Kudos!