“You can’t think anything is a must-have, or you’re dead in negotiations.”

Really interesting profile on ESPN. The whole piece is worth a read.

The head of ESPN on how to value something:

“I have a very simple rule of how you establish value. It’s whatever anyone will pay for it.”

Great bootstrapped quote. Also, really loved this quote about Bill Simmons:

“I was going to do it whether I was at ESPN or not,” Simmons says. He told Skipper, “I want to do this with you guys. If you guys don’t want to do this, I’m not going to be upset, but I’m going to do it somewhere.”

Stop asking permission.

My Mantra

I was reading through the interview Offscreen did with Drew Wilson for their first issue when I stumbled upon this quote:

Everything I’ve ever built was built because I wanted it to exist so I could use it.

Replace “built” with “done” and you have the response I give to everyone when they ask me why I did something.

Seth Kravitz of Technori fame once asked my why I started the Boostrappers Breakfast in Chicago. He assumed, like most people, that I get some leads, work, etc… from it. My response was simply

No, I don’t get anything from this, besides some social capital. I did this because it needed to exist.

A bit overwrought and dramatic, but it’s the truth. It’s easy to work through the kinks and do something when you’re the audience for it. Your standards will also be higher.


The Minimalists on outcomes.

This is a critical question I ask people when they tell me they want to start their own company. Usually the outcome they want is to be rich just to be rich. The beach dream and whatnot.

All too often, people want something without asking themselves why they want it. Unfortunately, a lot of those wants end up being the product of other people in their lives. Don’t live someone else’s life, live your own. Do whatever you want to do, but do it with a purpose.

Seth Godin on College

Over at The Great Discontent:

you went $150,000 in debt and spent four years of your life so someone else could pick you. That’s ridiculous. It really makes me sad to see that. The opportunity of a lifetime is to pick yourself. Quit waiting to get picked; quit waiting for someone to give you permission; quit waiting for someone to say you are officially qualified and pick yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to be an entrepreneur or a freelancer, but it does mean you stand up and say, “I have something to say. I know how to do something. I’m doing it. If you want me to do it with you, raise your hand.”

20 Questions

I was reading the latest issue of Worth magazine & saw something that caught my eye. Their last page is a Playboy style 20 questions with an entrepreneur. I thought the questions were good, so I decided to do my own for myself. I’ll revisit it every few years and see if my answers change.

Favorite Entrepreneur?
Warren Buffet
Favorite Restaurant
Wine, Beer or Spirits?
Spirits. I’ve been a tequila drinker for about 13 years. Chinaco is my favorite. If not that, then a nice Pinot Noir
Favorite City in the U.S.?

Chicago aside, it has to be NYC.

Porto Alegre, Brazil for obvious reasons.
How many days do you spend on the road?
Up until recently, it’s been about 20 for business. For pleasure, I’ve been averaging about 21 days
Private or Commercial
Ha…. commercial of course with as much leg room as I can afford.
How much do you sleep?
6 hours minimum, but I try and get 7 most nights.
What’s on your nightstand?
My kindle. Queued up are a lot of books about management, lean/kanban and other geeky topics
Last music you listened to?
Watchu want from me?” – Homeboy Sandman
First website you check everyday?
Finance, banking & news websites. Varies from day to day
Favorite clothing?
It’s a splurge, but has to be my Barbour jacket from Jack Spade. Fits like a glove and works great. Will last me decades.
What do you wear to work?
Jeans, nice shoes & a polo or sweater. Occasionally a button down, but always untucked & sleeves rolled. I brag that the first suit I owned was for my wedding.
Unjustifiable extravagance?
Has to be my vinyl toy collection. I’m really into some of the underground artists like Huck Gee, Carson Catlin, Task Oner, MAD, and VISEone.
Your Watch?
I used to rotate among 6-7 different ones, but since Nov 11th, I only wear one. I bought a Tissot Seastar 1000 for my wedding and I cherish it. It’s my wedding band.
Your Hero?
My dad Carmen.
Your business philosophy?
Doesn’t really differ from my life philosophy: Work hard & chop that wood. When the odds are in your favor, bet and bet big.
What charities do you support?
Several privately. I don’t really like to draw attention. I will say that my willingness to help out is directly proportional to my contact with the recipient. I don’t like foundations that much.
Investment philosophy?
With a few SWAG (Silver, Wine, Art, Gold) exceptions, diversified index funds. I like to balance between domestic, international & bond based.
Best entrepreneurship tip?
Stay away from ‘lotto’ opportunities where you sacrifice yourself for someone else. Everything you do should equally reward you and not unequally reward someone else.