Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Feeling Around in the Dark

A recently hired executive at one of my portfolio companies sent me this picture today to explain how he feels on the new job. I told him that, indeed, it can be a pretty crappy experience while one is still feeling his way around in the dark, but eventually he'll get a handle on things...

Friday, April 15, 2011

TechStars New York likes my blog

As I approached the TechStars Demo Day event in New York yesterday, the first thing I noticed was my blog title in lights. (Thanks, TechCrunch, for the photo.) The second thing I noticed is that no two "N's" were alike. The sloppy Webster Hall sign stood in sharp contrast to the incredibly well-polished pitches from the 11 startups inside. If the products and business models of those startups are even half as refined as their on-stage presentations, there will surely be some interesting winners from the batch.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Suckers Must Be Trading Facebook Stock

If you have ever owned a fax machine, then surely you received an occasional spam fax from a stock promoter. The typical one or two page stock-pumping fax proclaims the "sure thing" of potential profits from buying some rinky dink stock you've never heard of at the bargain basement price of $1 or $2 per share. "It's definitely going to $5, maybe even $10," so buy now "before it's too late."

I never could understand who actually responded to these faxes and bought the promoted penny stocks, but there must have been enough suckers out there to justify the expense of sending the faxes. I haven't received one for a while, so I thought maybe the world had finally "wised up."

Turns out I was wrong. The stock promoters have simply shifted to email (thankfully, I've got Postini to protect me). But much more remarkable is that the promoters are now pumping private company stock. Here's an unedited email offer my friend received a week ago:

We have not had a chance to speak recently so call me or let me know a good time to call you so I can let you know what is going on with Facebook. Bottom line is this is the very last time we will have Facebook stock to offer to investors - We are closing next Tuesday at $31 per share on our Facebook fund. This will be the very last close we will ever do in our Facebook fund - THE VERY LAST - GAME OVER. The stock we are closing on is attractively priced compared to the current market of $34-$37. It is my opinion that we could see a 3-4x return over the next 12-24 months. It is also my opinion that Facebook, will at the very least, double from this level (which would be a major disappointment) and certainly will not trade lower from the $31 level. What other investments are you aware of today that offer this kind of risk reward ratio over that period of time?

This is the last bite of the apple - take it!

If you have any questions or intend on investing please let me know as soon as possible.

I guarantee that you will not be hearing from me regarding facebook again!


[Name redacted]

If you believe cheesy stock promoters tend to flock to where the suckers are, I guess the implication is that the private market for Facebook shares is full of suckers. I just wish I knew whether the suckers were the ones buying or selling.