25iq

My views on the market, tech, and everything else

Business Lessons from Oprah Winfrey

Writing a blog posts about Oprah Winfrey is intimidating since she is such an influential and inspiring person. Including a short biography to start this post seems almost pointless since I can’t imagine anyone reading this who does not know her story. It is possible that not everyone knows everything about her abilities as a businessperson and investor, but even that seems unlikely. The Oprah Show, O magazine, Oprah Radio, […]

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Business Lessons about Growth from Andrew Chen (Andreessen Horowitz)

Andrew Chen is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Previously, he led the Rider Growth teams at Uber. He holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington. He is a prolific writer and insightful Twitter participant. Speaking of Twitter, some of the quotations below are compiled from tweetstorms and are marked with an asterisk. “Without growth, you have nothing, and the status quo is death.” “Scaling growth […]

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Business Lessons from Jess Lee (Sequoia Capital)

Jess Lee is an investing partner at Sequoia Capital and the former chief executive officer of Polyvore (a fashion web site allowing users to create shareable collages of clothing and interior designs). Before being CEO at Polyvore, Lee was a Product Manager at Google. She started her career at Google by working on the shopping engine Froogle before becoming product manager of Google Maps.  “In the early days of a startup as a founder you […]

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Business, Investing and Life Lessons from Quincy Jones

“The ’30s in Chicago, man. Whew. No joke. My brother and I saw dead bodies every day. Guys hanging off of telephone poles with ice picks in their necks, man. Tommy guns and stogies, stacks of wine and liquor, big piles of money in back rooms.” “A guy attacked me with a knife when I was 7 years old.  I was on the wrong street.” Jones moved to Seattle from […]

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Business and Life Lessons from John Cleese

John Cleese is an actor, comedian, screenwriter and producer. His comedy achievements are too numerous to list fully, but here are a few highlights: In the late 1960s, he co-founded Monty Python. Cleese’s business training films use comedy as a teaching tool, including the well known classic: “Meeting, Bloody Meetings.” Cleese wrote the script and played a character in the movie A Fish Called Wanda. He is also the co-creator of the Emmy […]

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Investing and Business Lessons from Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures)

Aileen Lee is the founder of the seed-stage focused venture capital firm Cowboy Ventures. She was previously a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Lee was also the founding CEO of the digital media company RMG Networks. She is a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School. “Venture investors are looking for large addressable markets. How big is the market? What is the problem that you’re trying to solve? […]

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Business Lessons from David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar and Food Television Personality)

Since I have already written blog posts about the “food television” personalities Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown, I decided to write one about David Chang. If you don’t know who Chang is, Time magazine has an excellent written profile. A few sentences from that article provide a brief biography of his early career: “It may surprise you to learn that the Korean-American rebel chef David Chang, known for his delicious, […]

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Business Lessons from Mark Leonard (Constellation Software)

  Mark Leonard reminds me of Warren Buffett. Anyone who likes reading Berkshire shareholder letters will very likely enjoy Leonard’s shareholder letters and his answers on earnings call transcripts. The Globe and Mail describes part of what Leonard has accomplished at Constellation software: “With an initial $25-million investment from OMERS and his old associates at Ventures West Capital in 1995, Mark Leonard has built Constellation into a world-leading consolidator of […]

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Friar Tuck Financial Services: A Classic Unbundle/Re-bundle Strategy

Financial services businesses traditionally created a broad portfolio of financial services and then packaged them in a bundle for customers. Chris Dixon has previously explained the justification for bundling in a blog post so well that I will not repeat those points here. You can find a link to Dixon’s post in the end notes. Unfortunately, bundles can become so expensive or cumbersome to consume that “overshoot” can kick in. […]

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Lessons from Robert Smith of Vista Equity Partners

Robert Smith is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Vista Equity Partners. A March 2018 Forbes profile described Vista’s performance: “Since the firm’s inception in 2000, Vista’s private equity funds have returned 22% net of fees annually to limited partners, according to PitchBook data. Annual realized returns, which reflect exits, stand at a staggering 31% net. His funds have already made distributions of $14 billion, including $4 billion in the last year alone. […]

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