Uncle Saul

Need straight-talking advice from a serial entrepreneur? Ask Uncle Saul and the answer may be posted here.

Last week’s question:
Dear Uncle Saul, How far should I go with developing my new business before seeking to raise venture capital?
- Brian

Go as far as you can! By bootstrapping your business during the early stages you will attain a far greater valuation enabling you to raise more money while giving less equity away. For more advice about VCs read "Brian Epstein is Not John Lennon, and Neither is Your VC."
- Uncle Saul


Launching Venture

The Book – How Rookies and Startups Can Maintain Their Unfair Advantage

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Late in the 1936 baseball season, a 17-year old Iowa farm boy struck out 15 St. Louis Browns in his first Major League game. Shortly thereafter, Bob Feller went on to strike out 17 Philadelphia Athletics, an unprecedented feat for anyone, let alone a youth with no professional sports experience.
How could such a young, inexperienced […]

Tom and Huck

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, Act 5 scene 1
In Mark Twain’s masterpieces, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn“, Huck is portrayed as a ‘fool’, whereas Tom is considered ‘wise’. In actuality, Tom’s actions are […]

Where Have All The Ideas Gone?

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

“Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope of further developments.”
Julius Sextus Frontinus, 10 A.D., Roman Engineer
It happens to every generation - the feeling that there are no new frontiers. The inevitable gloom that comes knowing that everything worth doing has been done. It even happens to people who should know […]

Beware The Consultant

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Once you obtain funding, it will be worse than hitting the Lottery. Instead of hearing from your long lost third-cousin, you will be inundated with an avalanche of ‘congratulatory’ emails, calls and letters from people who want to relieve you of the burden of your hard-earned equity round. Many such ‘congratulations’ will come from consultants.
An […]

Personal Pitch

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Panhandling techniques cover the spectrum from menacing demands to sophisticated appeals for help. You can angrily shout, “Hey, got any change?” and you might net yourself a nominal number of donations from fearful passersby. However, your overall productivity will likely be poor. Alternatively, you can deploy a more sophisticated and correspondingly a far more effective […]

Nature or Nurture?

Friday, September 7th, 2007

For lack of more productive things to do, many scientists, psychologists and sociologists enjoy arguing over which has a greater impact on an individual’s chances for success: their innate abilities (“Nature”) or their environment (“Nurture”).
With each passing decade, the pendulum swings back and forth among the intelligentsia as to which factor has the greatest impact, […]

Small Ideas, Big Benefits

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

When viewed from The Fringe, the world is like a cash booth from a bad 1950’s TV game show. Just like in the game show booth, in the real world, you can count on various exogenous factors to generate some proverbial wind that will swirl the cash around and force you to work a bit […]

The MBA Education And Other Oxymorons

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Once early stage entrepreneurs learn that I earned an MBA from Wharton, they usually ask, “Should I pursue an MBA as well?” My initial response is, “If you want to be an entrepreneur, why would you possibly want an MBA?”
In certain instances, an MBA may make sense. However, for most entrepreneurs, the time and money […]

Pattern Matching

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Gestalt - an organized whole in experience which explains psychological phenomena by their relationships to total forms rather than their parts.
A Venture Capitalist friend of mine once told me that, “Venture Capital is really a game of pattern matching.” He noted that whenever he met an entrepreneur in search of funding, he did his best […]

Turncoats are Turncoats

Monday, July 16th, 2007

It is 1783 and the Revolutionary War just ended. Benedict Arnold applies for a job at your adVenture. Your patriotic leanings aside, and assuming he is highly qualified, would you hire him?

Founderitis - A Ten Step Recovery Program

Monday, July 9th, 2007

Everyone around you knows that you have it, but you are in denial. You say things like, “I am open to giving control to the right person at the right time”. However, the reality is that the “right person” does not exist and the “right time” never arrives.
Founderitis, Founder’s Disease, Founder’s Syndrome; by any name, […]

Bank Robber or ATM Operator?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

A Fortune 500 CEO once told me that I was a Bank Robber. Initially, I was offended. However, once he explained what he meant, I was flattered.

Brian Epstein is Not John Lennon, and Neither is Your VC

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

It was the biggest day in the young Beatles’ fledgling career: an audition with Decca Records. However, rather than showcase such high-energy Beatle originals as “I Saw Her Standing There”, or “The One After 909”, Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ Manager, focused the group’s efforts on sappy show tunes and languid pop standards.
The result was a […]


Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Along with Dr. Suess’ “Green Eggs and Ham” and Marcia Brown’s “Stone Soup”, the seemingly innocuous board game “Monopoly” has played a pivotal role in the United States’ rise as an economic superpower.

Making Stone Soup

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Pop Quiz: Why did the Berlin Wall fall?
Some say Reagan orchestrated the Soviet Union’s demise. Others surmise that Communism was a doomed economic model bound to eventually fail on its own accord.
However, I believe that Communism failed because the West possessed three very powerful “secret” weapons: the board game Monopoly, “Green Eggs and Ham”, and […]