Good morning, All,
First, don’t forget that our breakfast is tomorrow morning, so don’t forget to register!
We were guests of Dell World last week, and despite the fact that this list is filled with entrepreneurs who hope to someday go public or be acquired, we must say that there was a special energy being knee deep in employees of a company whose founder had just taken it private again. No shareholders to look over his shoulder and second-guess him. The freedom to focus long-term, rather than having to keep an unwavering eye on the bottom line, to the exclusion of all else, in order to appease shareholders. Elon Musk was other keynote, and while he didn’t overtly comment on shareholders, he certainly did imply that with the wild fluctuations in the Tesla stock price, he certainly had his share of challenges – and shareholder lawsuits.
We know that finding an investor is often the Holy Grail for startups, and to get to the next level, money often helps. Let’s face it: it didn’t hurt either of the aforementioned and it’s often difficult for a startup to scale without it. But also note that both entrepreneurs built businesses that generated revenue, and one of them – so far – succeeded to the point where he could buy his business back and return to his entrepreneurial roots. Having investors usually brings with it its own special form of hell, so don’t jump at the first opportunity and as always, choose wisely, young Jedi. It’s the end of the year. A great time for reflection, introspection and re-evaluation. Investor money is among the most expensive on the planet, and always comes at a price. If you decide to take it, you’d better be tough. If not, you’d better be smart. As the expression goes: unless you’re the lead dog, the scenery never changes. Michael Dell spoke with a special kind of exuberance as only a successful business owner can, while the creator of the Tesla listened wistfully. Nice to have developed the car. Even better to be in the driver’s seat. Onward and forward.