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    Business and Investing Lessons from Steve Martin’s Movie The Jerk

    Steve Martin tells a story as part of his current comedy tour in which he encounters a teenager who asks if him he was in The Jerk. Martin proudly says to the teen: “Yes, that was me in that movie,” which causes her to ask: “When are you gonna do another movie?” The Jerk is in my view a funny movie with great writing: “Carl Gottlieb, who was nominated for a […]

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    Risk, Uncertainty and Ignorance in Investing and Business – Lessons from Richard Zeckhauser  

      Richard Zeckhauser is an American economist and a Professor of Political Economy at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. Charlie Munger has said about him: “The right way to think is the way [Harvard Professor Richard] Zeckhauser plays bridge. It’s just that simple.” “Smart people make these terrible boners. …Well maybe a great bridge player like Zeckhauser [doesn’t], but that’s a trained response. The list of his published work […]

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    Lessons from Chance the Rapper (Value Chains and Profit Pools)

      “Chancelor Jonathan Bennett, known professionally as Chance the Rapper, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and philanthropist from the West Chatham neighborhood of Chicago” is a sentence from the Wikipedia biography. I will explain more about Chance in the post below. “There’s no reason to [sign with a label]. It’s a dead industry.”  “A&Rs like, ‘Chano you ain’t playin’ fair!’”  The music industry has been transformed […]

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    (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction and Negative Churn

    My grandfather said to me once: “Two negatives can create a positive in English, but what is the point of that?” He continued by saying: “It is clever dialogue when Bert says to Mary Poppins ‘If you don’t want to go nowhere…,’ but that phrasing was intended as humor, rather than to improve clarity.” He was referring to the lyric “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in a song by the Rolling […]

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    Lessons for Business Founders from Tupac Shakur

    There are many biographies of Tupac, all of which have aspects that someone probably will take issue with, so I won’t create my own version in this blog post.  I will instead quote one sentence from Wikipedia: “Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor.” As you probably know, in September of 1996 Tupac was shot and killed in Las Vegas, in what […]

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    How Subscription Business Models are Changing Business and Investing (the Microeconomics of Subscriptions)

    A subscription is at its core an arrangement with a customer that creates a periodic contractual commitment. Netflix is an example of a subscription-based business. The default in a subscription relationship is that the customer will make an additional purchase at some time in the future unless they take some action like sending a cancellation notice or not paying a renewal fee when the subscription ends. The other method used […]

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    Lessons from Michael Batnick (Big Mistakes)

    Michael Batnick is the Director of Research at Ritholtz Wealth Management. He is also the author of a new book Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments “which explores the ways in which the biggest names have failed, and reveals the lessons learned that shaped more successful strategies going forward.” “A book that influenced my thinking was Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t by Steven Pressfield. This quote is […]

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    Lessons from Elad Gil and High Growth Handbook

    Elad Gil was a co-founder of Mixer Labs and Color Genomics. After Mixer Labs was acquired by Twitter, he was a VP at Twitter. He also previously worked at Google where he started their mobile team and worked on AdSense. Gil is an investor in and advisor to companies like: Airbnb, Coinbase, Instacart, Stripe, OpenDoor, Square, Pinterest, Stripe, Gusto, Wish and Zenefits. Gil is the author of a new book […]

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    Lessons from Jim O’Shaughnessy

    Jim O’Shaughnessy is the Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management (OSAM). He was a pioneer in quantitative equity research, part of an early group of explorers who combed through data to find factors which predicted future stock returns. O’Shaughnessy is the author of four books on investing. “Mandelbrot basically demonstrates that markets are not log normal but chaotic normal. They have much more of a peak and […]

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    Business Lessons from Rob Hayes (First Round Capital)

      Rob Hayes has been a partner at First Round Capital since 2006. I wrote about First Round previously in the chapter on John Kopelman in my newest book A Dozen Lessons for Entrepreneurs which is a fund raiser for the charity “No Kid Hungry.” Before joining First Round, Hayes was a venture investor at Omidyar Network and prior to that he worked at Palm. Among the investments Hayes has made […]

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