Writings by a younger, less handsome man who shares my name


The market isn’t listening to you and you don’t know why.

Your product will change lives. Your company will make investors rich. Your idea has to spread.

But no one cares.

You can tell because every sale is a struggle, investors won’t return your calls and your customers aren’t telling their friends about it.

So you have two options.

The first option is to think like Sisyphus and keep pushing the boulder uphill. The second is to think like gravity and use the hill to make the boulder roll faster.

Read more…

This is the first post in a five-part series on missioneurs, a new community of startup and social entrepreneurs.

The premise is that startup entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs need each other. Alone, too many of their great ideas are struggling and failing. Together, they can fill in each other’s blind spots, build stronger companies and make greater change.[Missioneurship image]

A new post in this series will be published every day this week. Blog subscribers will receive them one day early by email or RSS.

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Great startups and non-profits are dying needlessly, and it’s time for those of us who care to do something about it.

The obituaries look so familiar that they start to run together.

Here lies Anthillz, a tech startup that failed for lack of traction, inability to attract investors and too much time and money spent building the right tech team.

Here lies Great Intentions, a (barely) fictitious non-profit that died the non-profit version of this same death. It lost its foundation funding, laid off most of its staff, sought help in vain from its indifferent board – most of whom missed that board meeting, just like the ones before it – and forced its founders to look for other work because they couldn’t afford to pay themselves a salary, not even the peanuts they were making before.

If you’re a startup or social entrepreneur, one of these two stories should sound familiar. You probably hear versions of them again and again. Read more…

As I announced earlier this week, I quit a great job at TicketLeap, one of Philadelphia’s most promising young companies, without any idea of what I would do next. I hadn’t even started the search.
Jumping without a parachute
It’s either brave or foolish
, depending on who you ask. It’s also hard to understand, especially for my mother. I think she worries that I’m too proud to move in with her — that she will see me on the news one day holding a sign that says, “Will bring you customers for food.”

So I want to share the story of why I left and why I did it without a parachute. I also want to give you some ammunition in case you find yourself in a similar situation. After all, it’s hard to explain your apparent insanity to everyone you know. It’s also hard to ignore that voice inside your head that will say anything to talk you out of it.

The million dollar question

Before we go any further, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: it seems insane to jump without a parachute, especially in a recession. It seems insane for one simple reason. Read more…