Why saving your way to greatness doesn’t work, how to get non-dilutive capital into your company & the unexpectedly hard part of my travels this year.

Happy Saturday.

It’s been a tough week personally and professionally, I need to get my shit together. Today, I’m in flight back to DC (nursing an incredibly stiff bloody mary, natch) for a week off the road.

I’m giving away an Amazon Echo for free. I notified the winner today, let’s hope they check their email. 🙂

An observation on the Vancouver (and perhaps the broader Canadian) tech scene: a surprising number of the newer Canadian VCs are out raising their next funds (read: third or fourth funds) at the moment. That’s probably a sign that Canadian LPs are finally starting to recognize that the next wave of wealth generation isn’t going to come from natural resources or some other “hard” business.

I want to learn more about the AR-15 platform. What should I be reading?

1. “money you invest in growing a blog, an Etsy store, or a podcast, or going carless, is retirement savings.” [Link] [Tweet]

Most people, including me, built our careers (and bet our futures) based on information we received from our parent’s generation. “You should get your MBA…”, “Don’t forget to save a lot each month…” or “Keep your resume updated…” are good examples.

If you’re reading this newsletter, the chances of you ever retiring are shrinking by the day.

The world’s different now. Every business is in tech. You can’t always save your way to safety. We’re all media companies now.

Not everyone needs to be a founder but all of us need to be entrepreneurial.

2. “if your business generates $7,500 in revenue per month, you should ditch Stripe for Paypal.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re processing credit card transactions, ignore the title of the article and scroll down to the working capital part.

Travis is super smart (disclosure: I invested in his company via 500 Startups) to be using their platform to get the money he needs to grow faster.

The point: selling equity isn’t the only way to grow your business when your ambitions are larger than your cash flows.

3. “This is why once you’ve traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again.” [Link] [Tweet]

I find myself nodding violently in agreement. My tech tour has been harder than I could have imagined but only in ways that I never thought about in the first place.

4“Most people have all the apps they want and/or need. They’re not looking for new ones.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re working on a mobile app, please stop now. Building an app isn’t enough anymore.

If you want to make something people want (to download, to buy, to use), you need to watch what they do.

5. “If you’re talking to a VC, you should find out how decision-making happens.” [Link] [Tweet]

People > Firms. Faces > Logos.

If you choose to go down the path of raising VC, you need to understand how the dynamics work inside the firm. Good news: the best firms are extremely transparent. All you have to do is ask.

6. “The magic lies in being brave enough to even dare to start small.” [Link[Tweet]

One test I ask of every entrepreneur I meet: “who is your target customer?”

Answers that include “anyone” or “everyone” are instantaneous red flags. The conversation rarely continues.

7. “Growth creates complexity, and complexity is the silent killer of growth.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you want to succeed in business and in life: entrepreneurship.

That doesn’t mean you have to start a company. Whether you’re freelancing or your working in a cubicle, thinking entrepreneurially is the best thing you could be doing for yourself (and your company / clients).

8. “VCs can afford to get a few decisions wrong. Entrepreneurs can’t.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for more than a few weeks now, I sound like a broken record: if you want to raise money, you need to understand the industry. It’s much simpler than you probably think and it’s the best way to improve your chances of a successful fundraise.

9. “Startups resort to jargon in order to sound more interesting than they actually are.” [Link] [Tweet]

Talk to me like a human. Talk to me like a friend. Talk to me like a second grader.

In the worst case, we actually become friends. In the best case, we become friends and I invest in your company.

Stop working on your pitch decks and jargon. Start working on your likability, your charisma and your storytelling.

10. “1M miles add to that total every 10 hours with data collected from 70,000 Teslas with autopilot gear on the road.” [Link] [Tweet]

Think about that for a second: there are tens of thousands of cars currently mapping roads all around the world and all of them are privately owned.

We’re living in the future, y’all.

Firehose

You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!

-P

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