Updates from December, 2018 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Leon Apel 7:10 am on December 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Critical Thinking vs. Rehashing 

    I’m impressed with how fast conclusions spread–both good and bad. In fact, it’s a bit concerning that ideas can spread so quickly, often without much due diligence.  It’s also a potential problem because people are trained to trust authority or certain sources and they are overconfident about half-baked conclusions.

    I think the root issue is that people aren’t motivated enough to determine the truth because it involves reviewing source/raw data. Instead, the majority of people believe a headline or some clickbait without doing sufficient due diligence.  Sometimes issues are rather complex and involve hours of study to determine fact from fiction (eg. nutritional recommendations, global warming, vaccine safety, etc). Sometimes, ideas that are stated as “absolute truths” are not that.

    It’s quite refreshing to hear new ideas because many social interactions involve someone repeating, almost verbatim, a common news headline.  In fact, it’s gotten to a stage where Gmail and Skype have begun predicting your response to someone’s email/messages.

    This may seem off-topic but one clear symptom of this is that people tend to repeat the hottest buzz words of the week, or month. For example, as of December 2018, I’ve heard the word “Millenial” so many times it’s quite ridiculous.  A millenial is a wide age range so people casting a large group as acting in a similar fashion is quite ridiculous and almost meaningless.

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  • Leon Apel 12:44 am on November 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Suggested Investment Criteria 

    Suggested Investment Criteria:

    1. Excellent product market fit (the product needs to be highly appealing to its intended audience)
    2. Excellent ability to acquire clients, partners, and team members to grow
    3. Excellent management team and reasonable equity structure to align incentives
    4. Reasonable valuation/terms
    5. Reasonable upside: 100x+ potential for very early stage companies and 10-50x for later stages
    6. Excellent probability of traction and capturing significant market share
    7. Strong business references
    8. Desire/passion to focus on the business rather than on other interests
    9. Reasonable skin in the game
    10. The company must have reasonable odds of generating a competitive advantage over time (eg. knowledge advantage, IP, network effects)
    11. Aligned incentives with the investor
    12. Historical track record of success with other companies/projects/employers
    13. The founder must consider feedback and be open to suggestions; however, the founder must have great judgement and ultimately decide what is in the company’s best interest.



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  • Leon Apel 12:40 am on September 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Chance of Crowd Funded Venture Getting Liquidity? 

    I wonder if crowdfunding sites were forced to disclose the probability of an investment’s liquidity what would happen? For example, if only a single digit% of ventures after 5 years achieve a liquidity event would it change market behavior significantly?
    It’s incredible that the big question isn’t answered clearly enough: Why do you think you have a good probability of getting a liquidity event?
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  • Leon Apel 4:20 pm on July 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Why I Don’t Sign NDAs an Investor: 

    Why I Don’t Sign NDAs an Investor:
    You can read someone else’s reasons here, which are more eloquently explained than mine:¬†https://medium.com/@suranga/why-you-shouldn-t-care-about-ndas-and-why-we-don-t-sign-them-2ba3edcaa86e
    The following are my reasons:
    a) We look at many deals and don’t want to invest in conflict of interest checks or be limited
    b) I think I’m a good guy. Look up the type of companies I’ve funded (mostly mission oriented)
    c) They’re not super enforceable
    Since I’ve been asked a few times now, I thought I’d post this here.
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  • Leon Apel 8:54 am on June 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    How to Get a Successful Mentor 

    To get a successful mentor, there are two important components:

    1. Sources
    2. Persuading mentors to mentor you (finding a mutually beneficial proposition)

    Mentor Sources:

    1. Directly contacting the person you want to mentor you (LinkedIn, Email Introductions twitter etc). I’ve caught the attention some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs on Twitter (Donald Trump), LinkedIn, forums (Some business partners), Facebook, and even through a proprietary messaging app (Mark Cuban) they invested in.
    2. Getting a referral from a mutual acquaintance
    3. Alumni networks (I found this surprisingly useful because you can send a direct email to person)
    4. Emailing team members at their company and asking for a direct introduction

    Persuading Someone to Become Your Mentor:

    1. Ask their criteria (sometimes you can pay them, but, in the case of billionaires, their time is so valuable that you can’t afford to pay them)
    2. Offer them equity in a potentially high growth company
    3. Have strong references (Personally, I require the mentee to create a list of successful, credible references)
    4. Offer to assist them in other ways (eg. Help them find connections or service providers)

    Further, it may make sense to read books written by your favorite mentor rather learn directly from them.

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