My views on the market, tech, and everything else

Author Archives


    Lessons from Norman Augustine About Innovation and his Famous Laws

      Norman Augustine has a reputation for saying exactly what he means. When he says something like: “If stock market experts were so expert, they would be buying stock, not selling advice,” he transforms an obvious point into a humorous barb. As another example of his wit, he recently said: “We’ve all heard the criticism ‘He talks too much.’ When was the last time you heard someone criticized for listening […]

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    Benoit Mandelbrot’s Ideas about Investing and Markets (Made as Simple as Possible, but not Simpler).

      Benoit Mandelbrot was a Polish-born, French and American “mathematician with broad interests in the practical sciences.” I met him only once at a lecture at Microsoft Research before he passed away in 2010. Mandelbrot and Richard Hudson are the authors of the influential book The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence. I suggest you read this book for yourself (even though it is not an easy […]

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    Investing Lessons from the Dude. “Or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”

      The part of The Dude in 1998 Coen Brothers’ film The Big Lebowski is played by Jeff Bridges. The movie is so popular that it became the inspiration for Dudeism, which has been called “a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle.” The entry for Dudeism in Wikipedia describes it as: “essentially a modernized form of Taoism stripped of all of its metaphysical and medical doctrines.” In December of 2014 The Big […]

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    Business Lessons from Katrina Lake of Stitch Fix

    Katrina Lake is the founder and CEO of Stitch Fix. The magnitude of what she accomplished in building this business is highly underappreciated: She took a clothing retailer public in November 2017. This is a remarkable accomplishment given the financial state of retail in the United States and the challenges facing Nordstrom, Macy’s  and others. Lake did so by finding sustainable competitive advantage using some of the most advanced technology in the […]

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    Business Lessons from Ben Thompson of Stratechery

    Ben Thompson is the founder of the subscription newsletter Stratechery. He previously worked at Apple, Microsoft, and Automattic, where he focused on strategy, developer relations, and marketing. I love the way he thinks and writes. I always look at something in a new way after I read his writing. Thompson has said about the nature of his work: “I don’t think there are enough writers talking about how things work […]

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    The 1990s Telecom Bubble. What Can We Learn?

    My goal when I started writing this blog post was to write a review of The Startup Way. In this new book Eric Ries writes about the application of Lean Startup principles to established businesses and organizations. Rather than write a dry book review, I will try to tell a story in this blog post about a phenomenon I lived through called the Telecom Bubble in order to illustrate a […]

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    Business Lessons from Alton Brown

      I decided to write a blog post about Alton Brown (“AB”) not just because he is interesting, but because he is an entrepreneur who built a business without venture capital. AB has on several occasions talked about how he needed to get bank loans to grow his business. Since bank loans, together with personal savings, loans from friends/family and cash flow from operations are the way most entrepreneurs finance […]

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    A Dozen Business Lessons from Waffle House

    I enjoy being challenged to write a post on a topic like Waffle House since it is an opportunity to show that you can learn from anyone or anything. That is why I have written blog posts about people like Rza, Biggie Smalls and Louis CK. In some cases what you learn is what not to do, which can be a very valuable thing. Waffle House co-founder Joe Rogers got […]

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    A Dozen Lessons from Megan Quinn about a Growth Mindset

      Megan Quinn is a General Partner at Spark Capital. She was a previously a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Quinn joined KPCB from Square, where she was Director of Products. Before joining Square she spent seven years at Google working on products like Google Maps. Quinn has invested in many businesses, including Clover Health, Handshake, Pendo, Rover, and Slack. I thought it would be useful and fun […]

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    What Killed Post-Break Up AT&T? What Lessons can be Learned from this Titanic Modern Failure?

      While it is impossible to say that any one event started the process that resulted in the breakup of  AT&T, one important personality who was involved was “Jack the Giant Killer” Goeken.  He was the founder of many businesses including the long-distance provider MCI, two air-to-ground communications providers and the communications system used by FTD florists. The Washington Post wrote about him: “Beneath Mr. Goeken’s frumpy appearance — he […]

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