Business, life

Good Podcasts

headset with colors in the backgroundYesterday I had an interesting conversation with a friend about ways to improve your knowledge in different topics.

I suggested to him to leverage his long commute or runs to listen to audio books and podcasts. I have been doing it over the last 15 years and it’s a great way for me to utilize time better. Suddenly the long runs become interesting and time flies. So his next question was what are the podcasts I like and why.

Here are the top ones:

  • Revisionist History is my favorite one. Gladwell does what he is excelling at… telling a story you think you knew but turn it on its head and during this process teach you a thing or two. In the last two seasons, Gladwell went back and reinterpret something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood. The one on Martin Luther King is fascinating.
  • Freakonomics is an award-winning podcast with a lot of listeners (which most, I suspect, like logic, economic etc’). Stephen Dubner has conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt. The last few episodes (as of March 2018) about CEOs are really good. Check it out.
  • Here’s the thing with Alec Baldwin – Alec really knows how to interview his impressive guests and listen to their ideas and stories. It’s great to follow him and learn about people that changed history, industries or ‘just’ put a smile on our faces.
  • Epicenter – I’ve been passion about the crypto world since 2012. Around early 2014 I found this one. It’s a podcast that takes you to the heart of this important technological revolution: the rise of decentralized technologies. Every week, they bring conversations with some of the brightest minds in this bourgeoning ecosystem of startups and open source projects. Good stuff if you want to learn more about decentralized technologies and the crypto world.
    Btw, Block Zero is a new podcast that deal with this topic as well. It’s still young but sounds good so far.
  • The Moth – The Moth Podcast features stories that are being recorded live on stage around the USA.
    Some of them are really good! Episodes are released every Tuesday.

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Business, life

Books I Enjoyed During 2017

This year was full with good books.

I got to some books by mistake (e.g. Girl with a pearl earring during a trip to Zion national park) and others after getting a warm recommendation. Here is the list of the ones that I like most. There were at least ~12 other books that I didn’t like and stopped in the middle, but I guess, it’s part of life.

One of the best papers I read this year (again) was “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. The paper is quite short (only 8 pages without the references) but every word there counts and it’s giving a total picture of this powerful invention. It’s much bigger than ‘just’ cash system and in the future we will see this technology breakthrough changing many industries.

OK, let’s jump to the books. Continue reading

Business, life

Where The Best Ideas Win

I’ve just finish to read one of the best books for this year: Principles: Life and Work

It’s a a long book but very well organized. You get a good background on Ray Dalio and how he arrived to where he is today. I knew him for the past 10 years, but I was amazed to learn that he was broke in the early 80′. In a classic american dream story, he was able to build one of the largest (and maybe, best) hedge funds in the world that these days managed over $150B.

Things I liked:

  • He is giving good explanations to each principal and how he got to it. There are many cases where he is driving his points with a real life example, which is helpful. In a way, you can think on this book as a recipe book for life and business. Ray doesn’t want you to follow blindly after this principals but to get you to think on them and come up with a set of principal that is based on your idea, experience and life lessons.
  • He provides the reader with a strategy and a roadmap to better thinking and dealing with problems and challenges.
  • He also giving tools and methodologies to accomplish goals you think are important base on your values.
  • After over 40 years in the stock market, he learned that in order to be so successful you need to be an independent thinker (because the consensus is baked into the price of assets) and you need to be more right than wrong. So the ability to learn from your mistakes and to keep improving is critical.
  • In the last part of the book, he is talking about business and how to build a group or organization that will be transparent, self improving and able to bubble up with the best ideas. It sounds easy, but from the past 20 years, I know how hard it is to accomplish.

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Startups Limiting Factors #StartupTips

In reality, we see many examples that too much capital makes your startup unfocused and it’s a curse, not a blessing. When you get funds at the beginning it’s putting you in the wrong position of ‘spending’ money and not earning it. To minimize it as much as you can is a smart move that helps to build a healthy business. One that is earning money and not spending all of it. It sounds (too) basic but you will be surprised how many founders forgetting it after the raising the first round. You wish to start lean and mean and keep it for as long as you can.

Limited capital makes companies focused.

This is an important factor when you wish to build a business and make it profitable in limited time.

The main limiting factors for startups:

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Business, life

Einstein: His Life and Universe

I just finished to read this book and there are few aspects I really enjoyed.

It was a long book that the master of biographies (Walter Isaacson) wrote based on the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein.

I liked to learn about Einstein personality and his private life as well as his academic achievements. His imaginative and ‘thinking out of the box’ approaches enable him to create a revolution. To me, the amazing part, is that he only used his mind. No experiments or ‘tools’ that will guide him.

The book explores how an imaginative patent clerk came with theories that changed the way we understand the universe. We get a description of a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate. I learned that unlike the pop culture that claimed he was an awful student, he was a good one. He wasn’t strong in french but in math and physics, he was a good student who got high scores.

One of the thing that I found as a surprise, was the fact that he knew that he is going to win the Nobel prize. He also promised his first wife the money from the prize. Continue reading

Business, life

You Don’t Need Status Meetings

The most valuable and scarce resource is time.

As a young startup you must do your best to use it as efficient as possible because you have limited time to show traction and become a profitable business.

Now, there is no doubt that you need to focus and try to spend most of your time on real work. However, we all did it in the past, we get into a room of 5-10 people and everyone is telling the group what they did.

It’s such a waste of time! Even if each person is talking for 5-10min you got here 50-100min of boring meeting which is equal to a waste of time.

Why not have this updates in a tool that let everyone in the team to see what all the others are working on? Continue reading


#LPA17 Executive Summary


The 3rd class of Launchpad Accelerator boot camp is over. It was a great two weeks packed with talks, workshops and mentoring sessions. I hope we will see soon the accomplishments of what we did together with the founders. We had more than 1100 mentoring sessions (of one hour or more) and all the notes from these sessions are being saved in a set of apps that we built. This allowing us to follow up with the startups and see what is the impact that we are making (or not). I was amazed by the founders and their dedication and grit. It’s always a true pleasure to work with so much talented, focused group of people. My hunch is that we will ‘hear’ in the news on about 15% – 20% of the startups. Btw, this is a ratio that any VC would love to have.

The goal of our program is to help tech startups build a successful business. This is why we searching after these startups that already got a product market fit and funding. In this program, we are doing our best to help them boost their KPIs and become sustainable businesses.

After reflecting on these two weeks, I think we are moving in the right direction. We got lots of good feedback and we are going to (try and) do better next time, this summer. A series of videos with stories and ‘action items’ will be live soon – so we can share our learning at scale.

These are the startups that took part in this class. I had the pleasure to mentor 90% of them and it is going to be fun supporting them in the next 6 months. Continue reading