Words of Wisdom for Non-Technical Co-Founders (via Sam Altman)

by Scott Edward Walker on May 16th, 2021

To Our Clients & Friends:  Welcome to our series “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Every few weeks we share a favorite video clip of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.  This week, we again present Sam Altman, the former President of Y Combinator and the CEO of OpenAI.

In this brief interview (from a few years back), Sam shares some solid advice for non-technical founders trying to launch a technical startup, including the following:

  • In order to succeed as a non-technical founder, “you have to be able to convince really good technical people to follow you.” (at 0:38)
  • If you’re not going to be technical, you have to be great at product and be a great leader.” (at 0:43)
  • “I would not start a company with somebody I didn’t already know.” (at 1:18)
  • “And I wouldn’t start a company with someone I hadn’t worked with on some project either.” (at 1:28).

I hope it’s helpful.  Cheers, Scott

Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “I Told A Good Story”

by Scott Edward Walker on May 4th, 2021

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” -Steve Jobs

Welcome to our series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Every few weeks, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate founders.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being a founder (particularly during this pandemic).  Indeed, whether you’re launching your venture, trying to iterate on your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice. 

Today’s video provides a little motivation from an award-winning filmmaker and storyteller, which every founder must learn to be.  As Elisa Schreiber (the marketing partner at Greylock) wrote a few years back in her article, “How founders can tell a great startup story”:

No matter the sector, I have found that the organizations who effectively tell their stories are the ones who can recruit the top talent, acquire long-term customers, and build brands that endure.

What is your story?

Your story is way more than a chronological history of your company. The biggest mistake most companies make is they start with the love story of the founders. (i.e. “My co-founder and I met when we worked together at Company X. We built these 3 successful products together and had had fun doing it, so we decided to build this new thing because we think there is a market for it.”) This is the absolute wrong foot to start on.

A great story about your company will succintly capture 1.) what you offer, 2.) to whom, and 3.) why you are different. Nailing this will set the path for every other decision you make going forward.

I hope you enjoy the video. Cheers, Scott

More Words of Wisdom from Jeff Bezos

by Scott Edward Walker on February 7th, 2021

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our series “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week or two, we post a favorite video clip of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.  This week, we again present Jeff Bezos, an extraordinary entrepreneur. 

In this brief clip, Jeff shares some solid advice for entrepreneurs and founders: “You need a combination of stubborn relentlessness and flexibility – and you have to know when to be which.” I hope you enjoy it.  Cheers, Scott

Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “We Slept on the Couch” (via Elon Musk)

by Scott Edward Walker on January 24th, 2021

Welcome to our series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Every week or two, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being an entrepreneur; and whether you’re launching your venture, trying to iterate on your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice.  Cheers, Scott

 

Top 3 Posts in 2020

by Scott Edward Walker on January 3rd, 2021

Happy New Year!  Below is a list of my top three posts in 2020.  Cheers, Scott

More Words of Wisdom from Steve Jobs

by Scott Edward Walker on December 10th, 2020

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our series “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Every few weeks we share a short video clip of a successful founder, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.  This week, we present an old interview of Steve Jobs discussing the importance of quality.  My favorite quote: “We need to get back to the basics and go improve our products and services.”  I hope you enjoy it.  Cheers, Scott

Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “Life Is a Game of Inches”

by Scott Edward Walker on November 15th, 2020

Welcome to our series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Every week or two, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being an entrepreneur (particularly during this pandemic).  Indeed, whether you’re launching your venture, trying to iterate on your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice.  Cheers, Scott

Dear Founders: Here Are Three IP Mistakes to Watch-Out For

by Scott Edward Walker on October 19th, 2020

Introduction

Over the past six months, my firm has been engaged by a number of startups with significant intellectual property (“IP”) problems.  In a couple of cases, the founders played lawyer on their own; in the other cases, the founders either used (i) a Web service that did not address IP issues or (ii) an inexperienced law firm.  The purpose of this blog post is to briefly discuss the three most common IP mistakes that founders make.

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RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “All I Ask of Our Brethren Is That They Take Their Feet Off Our Necks”

by Scott Edward Walker on September 20th, 2020

Welcome to our series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Every two or three weeks, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being an entrepreneur (particularly during this pandemic).  Indeed, whether you’re launching your venture, trying to iterate on your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice – and rest in peace Justice Ginsburg! 

Words of Wisdom from Geoff Ralston

by Scott Edward Walker on September 13th, 2020

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our series “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Every few weeks we share a favorite video of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.  This week, we present Geoff Ralston, the President of Y Combinator and a very solid former entrepreneur.  

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SEC Expands “Accredited Investor” Definition

by Scott Edward Walker on August 30th, 2020

This past Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments expanding the definition of “accredited investor” to include individuals who hold certain professional certifications/licenses or have certain “credentials,” as determined by the SEC.  As the SEC press release provides: “For the first time, individuals will be permitted to participate in our private capital markets not only based on their income or net worth, but also based on established, clear measures of financial sophistication.”  The amendments also broaden the types of entities that qualify as accredited investors and add a new “spousal equivalent” concept, as discussed below.  The amendments will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “I’m Not Okay Waiting”

by Scott Edward Walker on August 9th, 2020

Welcome to our series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Every couple of weeks, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being an entrepreneur (particularly during this pandemic).  Indeed, whether you’re launching your venture, trying to iterate on your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice.  Stay well, Scott

Words of Wisdom from Jack Ma

by Scott Edward Walker on July 26th, 2020

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Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “Right Now, The New Is You” (via Steve Jobs)

by Scott Edward Walker on July 11th, 2020

Welcome to our series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Every week or two, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being an entrepreneur (particularly during this pandemic).  Indeed, whether you’re launching your venture, trying to iterate on your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice.  Cheers, Scott

Words of Wisdom from Kevin Systrom

by Scott Edward Walker on June 21st, 2020

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our series “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Every few weeks, we share a favorite video of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.  This week, we present Kevin Systrom, the co-founder and former CEO of Instagram.

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Selling Your Company? Here’s a Legal Checklist

by Scott Edward Walker on May 27th, 2020

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Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “If You Want It, Go Get It.”

by Scott Edward Walker on May 9th, 2020

Welcome to our series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Every two or three weeks, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being an entrepreneur (particularly during this pandemic).  Indeed, whether you’re launching your venture, trying to iterate on your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice.  Stay well, Scott

Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “At Dawn I Will Prevail”

by Scott Edward Walker on March 15th, 2020

We all need a little inspiration during this difficult period.  Two days ago, the Italian Air Force sent an encourging message to the world via Luciana Pavarotti (singing Nessum Dorma).  Below is a translation of the last verse. 

Pass by, oh night!

Fade away, stars!

Fade away, stars!

At dawn I will prevail!

I will prevail, I will prevail!

Note: this post is part of our series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”

Stay well.

Scott

                               

Words of Wisdom from Sam Altman

by Scott Edward Walker on February 29th, 2020

To Our Clients & Friends:  Welcome to our series “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Every few weeks we share a favorite video clip of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.  This week, we present Sam Altman, the former President of Y Combinator and the CEO of OpenAI

In this interesting blog post, Sam shares some solid nuggets for founders, including the following: 

  • “The most counterintuitive secret about startups is that it’s often easier to succeed with a hard startup than an easy one.”
  • “The most precious commodity in the startup ecosystem right now is talented people, and for the most part talented people want to work on something they find meaningful.”
  • “If people care about your success because you seem committed to doing something significant, it’s a background force helping you with hiring, advice, partnerships, fundraising, etc.”

And below is an old clip for non-technical founders, with the following advice: “It’s very hard…to have a company [succeed] with no technical founders; it’s not impossible, but it’s a significant headwind.”  I would also add that it’s very difficult to raise seed funds from sophisticated investors if your company is a tech startup and you have no technical founders (i.e., all the development is being outsourced).

 

Are You Selling Your Company? Be Careful with Financial Buyers!

by Scott Edward Walker on February 9th, 2020

Introduction

I’ve been doing M&A transactions for 25+ years (including nearly eight years at two major New York City law firms), and I’m going to discuss an important issue for founders interested in selling their company: the distinction between strategic and financial buyers.  Most founders are familiar with strategic buyers, such as Google, Facebook and other big companies; they are not, however, familiar with financial buyers.  This post briefly discusses the differences between such buyers and expressly warns founders to watch-out for financial buyers.

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Top 3 Posts in 2019

by Scott Edward Walker on January 4th, 2020
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Below is a list of my top three posts in 2019.  Happy New Year!  Cheers, Scott

Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “Work Like Hell” (via Elon Musk)

by Scott Edward Walker on November 23rd, 2019

Welcome to our weekly series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Each week, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being an entrepreneur — and whether you’re launching your startup, iterating on your product or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice.  Cheers, Scott

Fundraising 101: Words of Wisdom from Aaron Harris

by Scott Edward Walker on November 3rd, 2019

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our weekly series Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week or two, we share a favorite video clip of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.  This week, we present Aaron Harris, a partner at Y Combinator.

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“We Can Do More Than We Think We Can Do” (via Eliud Kipchoge)

by Scott Edward Walker on October 14th, 2019

Welcome to our weekly series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Each week, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being an entrepreneur or founder; and whether you’re launching your venture, trying to iterate on your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice.  Cheers, Scott

Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “Your Biggest Advantage Is That You Are Hungrier Than Your Competitor” (via Gary V)

by Scott Edward Walker on September 14th, 2019

Welcome to our weekly series “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Each week, we share a favorite video clip to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because we know how tough it is being an entrepreneur — and whether you’re launching your startup, iterating on your product or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice.  Cheers, Scott