#MentalNote · business

An Executive Story

A fellow had just been hired as the new CEO of a large high tech corporation. The CEO who was stepping down met with him privately and presented him with three numbered envelopes. “Open these if you run up against a problem you don’t think you can solve,” he said.
Well, things went along pretty smoothly, but six months later, sales took a downturn and he was really catching a lot of heat. About at his wit’s end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read, “Blame your predecessor.”
The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous CEO. Satisfied with his comments, the press — and Wall Street – responded positively, sales began to pick up and the problem was soon behind him.
About a year later, the company was again experiencing a slight dip in sales, combined with serious product problems. Having learned from his previous experience, the CEO quickly opened the second envelope. The message read, “Reorganize.” This he did, and the company quickly rebounded.
After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company once again fell on difficult times. The CEO went to his office, closed the door and opened the third envelope.
The message said, “Prepare three envelopes.”
In the process of looking for the author to give credit. I heard it as a story during a network event. 
business · Kanye West · Leadership · Politics · Uncategorized

How the FBI Hacked Into the Iphone

This took a lot to post, but I’m not afraid anymore.

For a long time, our government has tried to stay ahead of us. What we’ve seen in reality is the people always catch up.

A couple of my colleagues and I have taken the last couple of weeks to identify the vulnerability the FBI is using to hack the Iphone.

We made a video about it here. We believe it should be shared with the world.


#productideas · business · product · startups · Technology

Disrupting VC

2 years ago, when tiphub was started, our core team had a couple of initial assumptions that came to be true.

  1. Bootstrapping is important, however majority of disruptive technologies need early capital.
  2. Venture capital is broken. With failure rates that would not be accepted in any other industry, most vc’s continue business as usual. The best ones have found ways to de-risk their investments by leveraging marketing strategies but its not a sustainable model for all vcs in a given ecosystem.
  3. The decision making process for investment selections was purposefully arbitrary. It allows gate keepers to claim a higher power than a regular person at picking companies that have the best chance of success.
  4. Lack of diversity in decision making leads to unequal representation and missed opportunities.

Now, to throw a wrench in it all, bring in the African perspective. Not enough vc activity, not enough opportunities to invest in, not enough capital, etc etc.

The major issue with the private market is that its supposed or destined to be the engine of growth for developed and developing countries alike. However, we don’t have the correct scale-able processes, or institutions in place to really push the needle of investment at scale. The two major problems are;

  1. How do you assess risk in a way that is accurate?
  2. How do you match risk, interest, and expertise to ensure optimal outcomes?

So early on in the inception of tiphub, the idea and the hope was that we would create a platform that would exactly what is missing in the vc community. A platform that could learn, overtime, the best investments for an investor based on different inputs. We called this project tracker.

2 years later, on the anniversary of tiphub, I can say we’ve gotten to the second phase of the tracker which is a platform that will bring together experts, investors, and startups to learn from interactions, and we’ll move on to phase three, where things will start to get really interesting.

Stay tuned as we build what we hope will be a game changing platform that will improve outcomes for all entrepreneurs and investors.


business · Uncategorized

On Sexy

As someone that’s been in the start-up space for a while, I understand the allure of technology start-ups and why there seems to be so much hype around building a “unicorn” (That reminds me… Can we leave the term “unicorn” in 2015?) and becoming the next Steve Jobs or Marky Mark.

It’s sexy. The thought of tech start-ups is sexy. The thought of bootstrapping and building the next Twitter sounds alluring. However, the problem with sexy is its based on rather superficial criteria, always empty at its core, and is somewhat fleeting. If there is one thing that’s true above all, it is that sexy is in a constant state of change.

Things deemed to be sexy sneak in to conversations as silver bullets to solve major problems. (Getting more people to build apps will solve economic inequality, for example) This is far from the case. Sexy attempts to simplify rather complex issues so it’s digestible and palatable.

This is especially enlightening to me as I travel to places like Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and Kenya. There’s so much hype around sexy start-ups. I understand the low barrier to entry. It takes less money and less specialized skill to begin a sexy start-up. I see the why. But I also see the bigger opportunity.

The bigger opportunity, to me, is in disrupting already established industries with new business models enabled by new technology and innovative thinking. For example, Hello Tractor  , one of my favorite start-ups of all time, leverages technology and an on demand based business model to provide tractors to small and medium sized farmers in Nigeria. Agriculture isn’t as sexy as a web based company or a cool app, but I would argue industries like agriculture are the foundation for any thriving market.

I’m looking for more companies, especially from developing markets, that attack these already existing industries. Particularly, waste management, transportation, agriculture, and real estate.





#MentalNote · #productideas · business

Must Protect This House: Defending My Email Inbox


I probably spend a lot more time than I should sorting through emails. I need to create a system that defends my personal inbox, curtails my professional email inbox, and make sure everything else in between falls into place. I’ll figure something out this weekend and share with everyone. Heck, maybe I’ll find a product idea in all of this.

Anyone with cool apps, extensions, and/or strategies to tame my inbox?