The Blade

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

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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1-Minute Rant: “What’s My Age Again?”

When I was 29 and starting First Research I was young and energetic with very few distractions to slow me down. Read More

1-Minute Rant: “Pitch Perfect”

One of my favorite arcade games growing up was Galaga. I dominated, but the coolest part was at the end it told me the percentage of shots hit versus missed. Read More

The One Thing that Prevents Most Startups from Succeeding













Why do so many startups struggle getting off the ground?

First, let’s begin with their products. Most new products are incomplete (explained in Geoffrey Moore’s excellent book, Crossing the Chasm); they lack features that users expect; they have no brand name recognition; their teams are “two guys and a dog”; the problem the product is solving is yet to be obvious to most buyers; they don’t have competitors to validate their value. Read More

This Industry is Ripe for the Pickin’



In 2016, Wells Fargo’s Wealth and Investment Management Division earned $3.9 billion on $15.9 billion in revenue – a 24.5% pre-tax margin. JP Morgan Chase’s Asset & Wealth Division earned $3.5 billion on $12.0 billion in revenue – 29% margin. Bank of America Global Wealth, that boasts 18,688 wealth advisors, earned 23%. Shall I go on? Read More