Author Archives | richardhooker

This week’s Why-Didn’t-I-Think-Of-That department . . .

In our belief that the only thing separating you from a rocketing start-up is the simply the right idea at the right time, we here at Shoestring Venture will once a week highlight a few of the wackiest and wonderfullest boy-I-wish-I-thought-of-that business ideas. There’s no more excuses, folks. If these guys can think this stuff [...]

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Fat Decisions Part Two: You’re Screwed

If there is a science to business, it is the science of making the right decisions. Not good or bad decisions, in the sense of well-made or poorly-made decisions. But the right decisions. Make the right decision poorly (Mars was retrograde and Linus was in the house of Leo, so I shorted Toyota to the [...]

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Fat Decisions Part One

Fat Decisions Part One

If there is a science to business, it is the science of making the right decisions. From the lone entrepreneur bootstrapping a startup from a one-room apartment to world-bashing mega-corporations with hundred million dollar CEO’s and thousands of employees, success always boils down making far more right decision than wrong ones. Proving once again that [...]

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Margins count!

Margins count!

The only thing better than losing money is . . . losing other people’s money! During the dot com days, I misspent my middle age at a marketing communications firm that kept the lights on servicing a passel of dot com dreamers, drudges, and outright phonies. They were, I admit, all well-funded startup phonies, but [...]

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The spreadsheet formulas every entrepreneur should know, Part 5: Calculating Payback

The spreadsheet formulas every entrepreneur should know, Part 5: Calculating Payback

The Series Introduction 1.) Internal Rate of Return 1a.) Modified Internal Rate of Return 2.) Net present value 3.) Payback (What Is Payback?, Spreadsheet Payback, Discounted Payback, Spreadsheet Discounted Payback) 4.) Average 5.) Standard deviation Bonus!) Excel Solver As you learned in our previous post, the basic math behind calculating paybacks is to simply run [...]

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Been there, done that, got the T-shirt

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt

“You can quote me on that!” You know that a major part of the Democratic pitch on health insurance reform is how the package will benefit small businesses and startups? Well, it seems a small entrepreneur has taken them up on that. Hours after Vice President Joe Biden dropped the f-bomb in listening range of [...]

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The spreadsheet formulas every entrepreneur should know, Part 5: What is payback?

The spreadsheet formulas every entrepreneur should know, Part 5: What is payback?

The Series Introduction 1.) Internal Rate of Return 1a.) Modified Internal Rate of Return 2.) Net present value 3.) Payback (What Is Payback?, Spreadsheet Payback, Discounted Payback, Spreadsheet Discounted Payback) 4.) Average 5.) Standard deviation Bonus!) Excel Solver Our epic little mini-series on must-know spreadsheet formulas has covered some pretty advanced topics, mind-benders like the [...]

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Financial strategy — the most important, and most overlooked, business strategy

Financial strategy — the most important, and most overlooked, business strategy

“It may look like a movie, but I see dollars, dollars, dollars.” Let’s start with a bit of word association. When I say the word “Miramax,” what immediately comes to mind? You might say, “great movies,” or “Cinema Paradiso,” “Shakespeare in Love,” or “Harvey Weinstein.” All of these are fine, but for someone on the [...]

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Can your business pass the unlimited paid leave test?

Can your business pass the unlimited paid leave test?

Social Strata thinks it can pass the unlimited paid leave test. The Seattle-based business, Social Strata, has been around for 13 years as a social media company (one of the ancients, in other words), and they’ve decided they’re ready for it. Just yesterday, on the Live Cloud blog (which they produced), Social Strata announced that [...]

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Information Week goes digital

Information Week goes digital

The PDF version of Info Week is now available at the super-low cost of free. Information Week is one of the two dozen or so magazines/newspapers I have read religiously over the last decade in various capacities. It has been such a rich resource of business technology news, that Steve and I had no qualms [...]

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Posted in the i.t. files0 Comments

IPO’s lose their luster

IPO’s lose their luster

More entrepreneurs are thinking that Sarbanes-Oxley is, in fact, for dummies. All that glitters, it seems, is not golden. In a trend not totally related to recessionary pressures, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are increasingly turning their back on the traditional brass ring of business startups, the initial public offering. Although we’ve all been saturated with [...]

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Malcom Gladwell lays down the laws of entrepreneurship . . .

Malcom Gladwell lays down the laws of entrepreneurship . . .

Malcom Gladwell explains the puzzling failure of Bill Gates and his promising startup company. Malcom Gladwell has in the last few years become one of the favorite “elevator” intellectuals in the world of business and entrepreneurship. If you’ve ever been involved in a start-up, you’re intimately familiar with the “elevator speech,” the 30 second “kernel [...]

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Seven business tips for upgrading your computer

Seven business tips for upgrading your computer

New, new new! No, no, no! Probably the most convenient aspect of blogging is that topics come knocking at your door, instead of the often-agonizing search for relevant topics when you’re on the hook for magazine or newspaper articles. And this week’s topic came a rapping at my door a week ago when my brand [...]

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Shoestring Venture for 2010

Shoestring Venture for 2010

We wish you the greatest success and happiness for 2010. Depending on how mathphilic or mathphobic you are, we have either entered the last decade of the naughties or the first decade of the twenty-teens. Either way, it seems we all have big plans to close out the decade (or start the new one) with [...]

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Posted in the book0 Comments

Here’s a bit of bad timing

Here’s a bit of bad timing

Because I’ve been neck-deep in a consulting gig these last three weeks, I’ve little time for what matters, let alone leafing through all the reading material piling up neck deep in my kitchen. So I just got around this afternoon to leafing through last week’s Forbes magazine and there in living color is reason number [...]

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Number 10: The first rule of Fight Club is . . .

Number 10: The first rule of Fight Club is . . .

At the Church of Scientology, every disciplinary write-up is proceeded by a knock-down. . . . you do not talk about fight club. The Shoestring Venture first anniversary retrospective of Top Ten Bizarre Business Stories of 2009 begins, appropriately enough, with a manager that makes your boss look wonderful. Really. Tell me about the worst [...]

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The Top Ten Bizarre Business Stories of 2009

The Shoestring Venture blog is celebrating its first birthday! We have gone from zero to thousands of readers and had a walloping good time getting there. In celebration, for the next couple weeks we’re going to get all nostalgic on you and highlight some of the highlights over the last year — the most popular, [...]

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If running a business is a marathon . . .

. . . have you ever wondered what a marathon is like? Come on, you know you’ve heard the expression a thousand times. “Running a business” or “starting a business” “is a marathon, not a sprint.” And you nod your head in agreement as if somebody has actually said something sensible. But outside of the [...]

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Posted in Entrepreneurs as leaders, happenings0 Comments

Social network? Or pyramid scheme?

Social network? Or pyramid scheme?

Any food will do. Like spam, for instance. Over the past three months, we here at Shoestring Venture have been damn-the-burritos-full-speed-ahead in social networking and marketing. Business, as you all know, is a school of hard knocks and, I can tell you feelingly, social marketing is a class where the hard knocks rain down like [...]

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What next? Advertising stamped onto envelopes?

What next? Advertising stamped onto envelopes?

The Post Office makes most of its money from junk mail. So why not junk trucks? Junk post offices? In further evidence that “Richard needs a life,” the USPS inspector general has a fascinating blog today (yes, the U.S.P.S. inspector general has a blog — tagline (I’m not joking): “pushing the envelope” (*grooooooan*) — and, [...]

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