The Blade

Thoughts for entrepreneurs from someone who's been in the trenches.

Don’t Run Your Startup Like The Dean’s Office



My father, who for 50 years has worked as a mathematician at N.C. State, recently exclaimed, “When I arrived at N.C. State, the dean’s office was comprised of the dean, a secretary, and a part-time associate dean–and that’s it. Read More

Cold Calling Works; I’m Just Sayin’



Cold calling is out of vogue – basically uncool. Marketing and startup pundits bash cold calling as a waste of time and “pushy.” Instead, they say you should pursue partnerships, content marketing, public relations, social media, request referrals, or other cool methods. (By the way, content marketing is really cool!) Read More

1-Minute Rant: “Get a Life, Get a Hobby”

I would consider myself a pretty passionate person, especially when it comes to things I enjoy. I am passionate about my startups, my family, hiking, fishing and especially tennis. Read More

1-Minute Rant: “How to Mold Your ‘How?'”

As a startup founder, having the opportunity to answer the “HOW?” questions in a way that is specific to the founder’s personality and uniqueness is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling parts of the startup journey. Read More

The “How?” is the Hardest Part


Musician Tom Petty reminds us that “the waiting is the hardest part.” Here is how he went about writing this song that became such a classic with a sharp lesson.

But in entrepreneurship, the waiting isn’t the hardest part; it’s the “how?” that’s the hardest. Read More

Sign ME up for Stellar Sitters


While speaking to a group of university business students about entrepreneurship, I described four entrepreneurs. Three started fast-growing, innovative firms worth millions. The other was Amanda Bordeaux, founder of Stellar Sitters that connects babysitters with parents.

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Eight is Enough



A follow-up from “Why I’m Charging $200 to Meet You for Lunch” that I released one year ago today.

I haven’t charged anyone $200 for lunch. I don’t want to charge people and consulting is not what I do for a living, anyway. But I’m still overwhelmed by constantly being asked for ”meet-ups” with those: raising capital, looking for new jobs, seeking advice, trying to sell me something, or building connections. If you’re also frustrated by the number of meet-up requests you get, then hopefully this blog will help you figure out how to say “no” more often. Read More

Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too? Build a “Life-Growth” Business



From 1999 to 2007, I was cofounder of First Research, which provides industry profiles for sales and marketing professionals. We maintained good profit margins, but we kept our foot on the gas—adding employees and quickly expanding the business without taking outside funding. Chasing fast-growth was the only strategy I knew. But could I have implemented a different strategy and still created a valuable, fun company? Read More

1-Minute Rant: Fast Growth is No Cake Walk!

When I was growing my first company, First Research, from 1999 to 2007 I only sought fast-growth. Before I knew it, I had a company with 30 to 40 employees and multiple departments with their own VPs. Read More

How to Negotiate Over-the-top Sales Contracts with Big Companies



This is a fairly typical ‘big [company] MSA [Master Services Agreement], with lots of overreach and terms that are not applicable to the nature of your services. This is why the issues list is lengthy.”

          -Email from my attorney after reviewing a sales agreement with a large company

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