About sgleahy

Former FX Risk & Platforms guy now into digital assets, Better Govt, and Deep Powder. Arise, Sweat, Nourish, Think, Create, Play, Love, Rest. Twitter / Insta / Telegram: @sgleahy

Fred Wilson’s “Resource Constraints”

As per the norm, a thought provoking piece by Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures today.   Full text below.  It reminded me of a time when one of my companies, which was bootstrapped, was generating more than sufficient cash flow.  I started spending time looking at new, shiny businesses to start rather than focusing on executing at 100% and continuing to gain market share for the existing company.  In the end, the distraction of too much cash flow hurt the company.  I do not disavow cash flow, but need to be mindful that the cash flow from any business line is merely a scorecard of where you are to date; it is not an excuse to look around from your core mission and market.

Resource Constraints

Most of the companies I work with tell me that they are resource constrained and do not have enough capital and engineers to do everything they want to do.

I tell them that is a blessing not a curse.

They look at me like I am crazy and rationalize it as me being an investor and not an operator.

I will plead guilty to both (being crazy and being an investor) but I am extremely confident that being resource constrained is a blessing in the hands of a great operator.

I have seen companies do amazing things with no money and tiny teams.

I have seen companies do absolutely nothing with all the money in the world and hundreds of engineers.

This experience, built up over thirty plus years in tech and startups, has convinced me that resources are never the limiting factor to doing great things.

The limiting factors are;

  1. having great management that can make the right decisions and drive exection
  2. knowing what to do and what not to do
  3. playing your game and not someone else’s

Resources, measured in available capital and headcount, often make #2 and #3 more challenging.

Organizations start to feel that they can do more than they can and should.

They start looking around enviously and counting the size of the fundraises and engineering teams of their competitors.

They stop knowing who they are. And that is death.

I believe that excess capital makes companies weak and unfocused.

I believe limited capital makes companies strong and focused.

And I don’t believe capital has ever helped a company win a market. Many have tried that approach and it always ends badly.

So I encourage all of you entrepreneurs out there to embrace being resource constrained and learn to love operating with less.

It will serve you well.

Ari Gold on Elon Musk

Two of my favorite characters.  One is a fictional character, closely based on a small few of Hollywood’s elite agents (and played to perfection by Jeremy Pivens).  The other a brilliant entrepreneur and engineer rightly stepping into Steve job’s previous role as King of America’s Entrepreneurial Aspirations.

In the book written by the Ari Gold character, there is a great chapter named, “Your Most Important Product is Heat”.  An descriptive paragraph is below:

Heat is a kinetic, volatile, temporary bubble of energy that engulfs whatever it is you’re selling—be it a product, a client, even yourself—tipping the scales of attraction in your favor, allowing you to conjure outlandish, outrageous, inconceivable deals that would not be possible under more temperate weather conditions. Heat adds a layer of excitability to the demand side of the equation, triggering buyers to place a disproportionately high value on a product, giving you leverage to demand more . Why was Owen Wilson’s character in Zoolander the highest paid model in the world at the time? Because that Hansel… he’s so hot right now! Buzz. Momentum. Juice. It’s all the same. You’re catching lightning in a bottle and selling it before you hear the thunderclap. Remember, people may eat a steak for the taste, but they buy it for the sizzle. Heat makes people do crazy things. Four centuries ago, the whole country of Holland went completely batshit berserk for tulip bulbs. Yes, tulip bulbs. Tulipmania was the first time prices of a speculative asset, in this case—tulips—shot up through the stratosphere. Farms, homes, and families were lost, all because of a flower you send your girlfriend to apologize for sleeping with her sister. Heat is the ephemeral force that compels Midwestern morons to sink their life savings into Beanie Babies, that makes CPAs quit their jobs and spend six months building fallout shelters in their backyards before the Y2K apocalypse.

The best time to sell tickets to a volcano is just before it erupts.

I believe in Tesla, I believe in SpaceX, I saw the success of PayPal.  I believe Elon Musk is the real deal and an engineer with great aspirations and talent to match.  I also believe that Elon Musk knows how to generate Heat.  Half a million Model 3’s on order and production capabilities in doubt, losing increasing amounts of money each quarter yet can easily raise $1.5 Billion in debt?  That’s Heat.

Anyone selling anything is better served if they can create Heat.  Social media, personality, 10x performance, celebrity endorsements, an awesome give-away contest for clients…..whatever it is you need to do to create Heat, find a way to make it happen.

Confirming Who I Am

As part of an online application with Fulton Waters, I was asked to use the 16 Personalities website to take a test and see who I really am.  I recognized the website as something I had done a while ago.  Without going back in time to see my previous results, I plowed ahead with the requested (short & fun) quiz.

I am happy to report my results came out exactly as they had a year previously.  Good to know that I know who I am.

Add the Blockchain to My Cross-Margined Life and This Could Really Work

A while ago I put up a short post about the idea of cross-marginning my financial life.  https://wordpress.com/post/arhaik.com/835

I do not like tracking so many different aspect of my financial life; 401(k), mortgage, checking accounts, savings accounts, 529 plans, monthly bills, K-1’s, W-2’s, PayPal, Coinbase, on and on and on.  So the idea that you could have an available “balance sheet & income statement” of your financial life that you can choose to make available when you wish and to whom you wish would ease the pain of tracking your financial self.

There are some services out there that do some of the work like Intuit’s Mint platform.  Mint helps track your personal wealth, but it is self-reported and not considered valid information by any outside entity.

But what if there were a blockchain application that could track ALL aspects of your financial self?  For starters, it would still connect to current-day “accounts” as I listed above.  But eventually this blockchain-confirmed “personal balance sheet and income statement” would become those accounts.  No need for a Fidelity IRA & your 401(k) from that last job (and the associated paperwork and fees).  Your retirement balances would just be a part of your Retirement Assets under the blockchain.  Monthly invoices from the internet company, Amazon Prime, and the kid’s after school activities?  Record the invoices then auto pay from my blockchain account.  If I make my personal balance sheet (validated via blockchain technology) available to those vendors, they are likely to give me credit to pay at the end of each month.  In some cases people will not have a strong enough balance sheet to be extended credit by vendors.

The obstacles here are clear and massive.  The current global economy is strongly tied to the current global financial services industry.  None of those entities want to be disrupted.  But will any of them take on the challenge of making this a possibility?  Hard to say.  I’ll keep refining this idea and keep updating when I do.

“I Am” – By Alex Leahy

I am amazing but unknown

I wonder if I can make the world worthier, I hear the irritating scream of my sisters, I see myself doing a barspin, I want to work harder

I am amazing but unknown

I pretend I am the BOSS, I feel I’m not quite there yet, I touch the top of the world, I worry about my future, I cry way too much

I am amazing but unknown

I understand all people are unalike, I say that EVERYONE is incredible, I dream that everyone could be treated equal, I try to make a difference, I hope my voice is heard

I am amazing but unknown.

Gig Economy With Corporate Benefits?

I have been thinking about this for a while now.  As more people work in the gig economy, there are more people who are searching the corners of the internet for healthcare services, retirement accounts, office space, small office services, accounting, etc.

Not only are a lot of these services somewhat complex to analyze and decide on, they seem to change all the time.  “Gig employees” are spending too much time on these challenges.

There are a few Web 2.0 style benefits organizers like Namely, and Zenefits who are taking on the ADP’s and Paychex of the world…..but they are still focused on companies.

Who is out there solving the problem of managing these issues for gig economy workers?  What company can find a way to give gig-economy workers a simplified means to run their personal “company”?



The NBA Finals were on last night (Congrats to Golden State).  In a game of consequence, with incredibly skilled and agile athletes competing for their sport’s highest honor, I just could not stand to watch all the incorrect calls by the referees.  Neither could the announcers.  After just a few minutes, I became disinterested and started doing some household chores.  But I left the TV on and could hear the announcers reviewing and critiquing each subsequent call by the refs.

When the TV announcers are spending that much time critiquing the calls and discussing what an influence on the outcome the referee’s have become, it is time for the NBA to fix the problem.