Anyone who has watched Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" knows all about the Pirate Code, laid down by the pirates Morgan and Bartholomew. I think the idea of a single code for pirate is probably the most modern piece of Pirate Mythtory to be featured on this site, and I don't think it extends back any further than the release of the excellent POTC.
AS3O: Atlanta Seed-Stage Second Office July 20th Meeting at Java Vino
12:53 am EDT, Jul 19, 2007
It's time again for the almost-weekly meeting of AS3O, the organization that dares... well, to go to coffee and work. We were not overwhelmed by attendees at Gathering Grounds last week, and I heard from a few that Atlanta's seven different Kirkwoods, only one of which intersects with one of Atlanta's twelve different Hosea L Williams drives (intermittently also known as "Boulevard"), may have contributed.
So, Friday July 20th, back to the downstairs room at Java Vino -- North Highland just south of Ponce and North. See the web site at http://javavino.com , directions at http://maps.google.com/?q=579+N+Highland+Ave+30307 , and more info at http://as3o.org
Make sure to find us downstairs -- we're not sure we'll be able to put up a sign at the entry level. Thanks again to everyone -- we look forward to seeing you on Friday!
-Jackson, Russell, and Ali
PS - As always, we're looking for suggestions -- please let us know if there are any great (locally-owned) places to meet, if some times are better than others, etc. We'll be having our first evening meeting soon -- beer and a blackboard, maybe? And please forward this e-mail on to anyone who might be interested in hearing about future meetings.
Burnham's Beat: 10 Pragmatic Steps To Raising Venture Capital
12:21 am EDT, Jul 17, 2007
# Prepare a 10-15 page power point presentation and a 1-2 page executive summary. That’s it. Don’t bother with a 100 page business plan, no VC is going to read it. Make sure the documents cover: stage, location, team, market, market size, business, business model, capital structure, and capital required. # Get a list of VC funds. This list from the NVCA is good place to start. The NVCA also puts out a member directory that shows which funds are interested in specific sectors, but for some reason they don’t make that accessible, but almost any VC will have a copy. # Go through the raw list and identify those VC firms that make investments in your sector, stage, and city. You can do this by going to each firm’s website and reviewing their high level firm description and noting their location. As a general rule, it’s pointless pitching an early stage company to a Silicon Valley VC if you are in Alabama. # Go through this initial subset of firms and identify specific partners at each firm that focuses on making investments in your specific sector and stage of development. You can do this by going to the websites at venture firms and reviewing the portfolio’s of the individual partners. Don’t send your software company pitch to the partner with 10 semi-conductor deals, it’s a waste of time. # After you identify a list of specific partners at specific firms investing in your specific stage and sector, then try to indentify how many boards each of those partners are currently on. You can usually do this by just reading their bio or just looking at the firm’s portfolio company list. Sort the list by fewest board seats first. # Try to identify when each partner’s VC company raised its last fund. You can usually figure this out by looking at the firm’s press releases. The more recent a new fund has been raised the better. # Priority rank the partner list with the goal of having the partners with the strongest sector focus, the least number of board seats at the firms with the newest funds at the top. It also helps to rank this list by age, because younger partners are less likely to have significant “recycled” deal flow and therefore more open to newcomers. # Figure out if you know someone who knows that partner. For example, go to LinkedIn and try to figure out if you know someone within 1 or 2 degrees that knows the partner. If you do and you are pretty sure you can get a warm intro, call in that favor ASAP. # If you strike out on a warm intro, do a Google Search and try to figure out if the partner A) has a blog or B) has recently said something mildly intelligent in some other public forum. Then send that partner a personalized e-mail indicating deep respect and appreciation for whatever they said that was mildly intelligent. Mention that you noticed they invested in Companies X&Y (boards they are currently on) and you thought they might be interested in taking a look at your company because it’s in the same sector they are focused on and has a very promising approach to the market. Attach your 2 page summary to the e-mail. # If they respond, follow up ASAP on whatever they ask you to do (usually to talk with their Associate or someone else at their firm). Congrats, you are in! Don’t screw it up. If they don’t respond, don’t bother re-sending your e-mail 4 times, it’s a “no” and you should move on. There are plenty of VCs in the sea.
Even a Pilot Thinks Itâs Time to Crack Down on Airlines - New York Times
11:52 pm EDT, Jul 14, 2007
Despite the airlines’ strong lobby and financial clout in Washington, the passengers’ bill of rights seems to be gaining momentum in Congress. The legislation would basically require airlines to let people off parked planes after three hours, and set standards for in-cabin food and water and sanitation during long delays.
Wal-Mart’s legendary obsession with cost containment shows up in countless ways, including aggressive control of employee benefits and wages. Managing labor costs isn’t a crazy idea, of course. But stingy pay and benefits don’t necessarily translate into lower costs in the long run.
In return for its generous wages and benefits, Costco gets one of the most loyal and productive workforces in all of retailing’and, probably not coincidentally, the lowest shrinkage (employee theft) figures in the industry. While Sam’s Club and Costco generated $37 billion and $43 billion, respectively, in U.S. sales last year, Costco did it with 38% fewer employees—admittedly, in part by selling to higher-income shoppers and offering more high-end goods. As a result, Costco generated $21,805 in U.S. operating profit per hourly employee, compared with $11,615 at Sam’s Club. Costco’s stable, productive workforce more than offsets its higher costs.
These figures challenge the common assumption that labor rates equal labor costs. Costco’s approach shows that when it comes to wages and benefits, a cost-leadership strategy need not be a race to the bottom.
Remember the local-yokel deal up front? The one that fell victim to the Southern Curse of selling prematurely for $10 million?
Same payday for the founders. But they got it faster, with far less stress, a less-demanding board, and without the ego hit of having to watch a bunch of outsiders run "their" company.
And those local-yokel investors? Their ROI was four times as good as the Boston investors got in the "swing for the fences" deal, without the risk of a cram-down or wash-out round if things turned bad.
Maybe these Southern boys (and girls) aren't so stupid after all.