Don't Moon the Giant!

This week the world’s largest flexible-office company announced a strategic business model shift and is looking to accelerate growth through franchising. No I’m not talking about WeWork. I’m talking about Swiss-based IWG which manages office brands Regus, Spaces and No. 18. Until now IWG has leased office space, built it out, furnished it, and sublets the space at a mark up. To most of you this sounds like WeWork, but there are a few big differences between the two models going forward.

I Love History

“On April 19th, 1775, a messenger reached Sudbury between 3 and 4am bringing news that British Regulars had left Boston the evening before and were headed westward, presumably to Concord where military supplies were garrisoned. Each Sudbury contingent heeded the call and took the most expedient route to what is now called Battle Road. The present day Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute follow a route that approximates one of the routes.

Where's the Lift in Lyft?

Companies without profits, or even visibility into when they might become profitable, are valued in the billions of dollars largely based on the belief that revenue growth will continue on a similar pace, market share will be gained, and eventually operations will become more efficient and generate cash flow and profits. Lyft has traded down almost 20% since going public. A recent article in Motley Fool blames short sellers, Wall Street analyst sentiment, and the Uber S1 as reasons for the recent swoon. The company itself is pointing the finger toward Morgan Stanley claiming that it is allowing pre-IPO investors to short sell. I find it interesting that no one has cited the business model itself.

Speed Kills

t was 1976 when the Meadowlands Raceway opened in East Rutherford, New Jersey. My father, who loved the horses, took my older brother and me to the races that night probably with the hope that we might bring him some luck. My father explained how the betting worked and asked us to choose a horse to win the next race. Not being educated handicappers we did what any kids our age would do, picked the horse with the coolest name – Ungawa!

Facebooks No Good Very Bad Week

Someone once said that any news is good news, but I’m not sure if Facebook would agree. In the last week the social media company has lost two key executives, live streamed the murders of innocent people in New Zealand, there are talks of criminal investigations into the data scandal, and its stock was downgraded by a Wall Street analyst. All of which resulted in a loss of approximately $37 billion in value.

Singer Sows a Sad Tale About American Values

By now most of you have read about the latest of three related scandals to hit elite academic institutions this year. The latest involves a fixer masquerading as a college admissions counselor to the rich and famous, Rick Singer. Singer claims to have helped more than 760 children of the privilege change test scores, pretend to be elite athletes, and outright bribe their way into top universities.

Delivery Wars

Back during the Internet Bubble of the 90’s I remember having a conversation with a friend who was considering an investment in Cosmo, the NYC food delivery business. He wanted to know my opinion and I shared with him that I had familiarity with grocery delivery and while I was a fan of the service personally, I was not a fan of the business model.

Boiling a Frog

Yesterday, I was able to venture out on my own for the first time in more than 3 weeks because of my surgery. I settle into a nearby lunch spot and opened the Saturday WSJ and the lead article was, “Apps Send User Secrets to Facebook.” A few days earlier I turned on the news only to hear that Google shipped a product that included a hidden microphone, but neglected to indicate it on the packaging. To quote Vince Lombardi, “what they hell is going on here?”

VCs and the Lone Entrepreneur

I seem to be asked every week about lone entrepreneurs versus teams of entrepreneurs and what my view is on the backability of each. While I have not seen any hard data on the topic, the empirical evidence appears to support that investors prefer teams. Now, I’m sure that there are examples of where investors have done well investing in a sole entrepreneur. However, I would venture to say that even in these cases the investors worked diligently to build a world class team around the entrepreneur.