As a 39-year military veteran, I think I know something about the flag, the anthem, patriotism, and I think I know why we fight. It’s not to allow the president to divide us by wrapping himself in the national banner. I never imagined myself saying this before Friday, but if now forced to choose in this dispute, put me down with Kaepernick.

Michael Hayden: In Trump versus NFL, standing up for free speech | TheHill (General Hayden is the former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency)

The IPO process should be difficult

Since the recovery of the first internet crash in 2001, it’s an old saw to hear entrepreneurs and investors (mostly the latter), talk about the pain of going becoming a public company. 

And recently some friends of mine have launched a SPAC with a plan to help companies become public with less “brain damage”.

I have a few thoughts on the subject.

In the NYT article, Chamath points out that Facebook was the poster child of such a strategy. That is quite true but they were also the poster child of a secondary stock for private shares which was virtually unheard of previously. (And I’m not sure the secondary stock world has been a healthy thing for everyone but I’ll leave that for another post). And even though FB waited a long time to go public, they still provided massive equity growth after their IPO which is an extraordinary thing and a positive dynamic for the market/industry. 

Going public should be rigorous. It should be for the best companies. Recall in the late 90′s startups were going public with zero revenue and and endless losses. In addition, you had a bogus process for pricing private stock, we didn’t have a 409a process, and tech companies were even backdating options. Some had VCs specific programs/staff/infrastructure in place to take companies in less than a year. 

There will no doubt be great companies will choose to stay private longer or may not go public at all. That’s always been the case. But I like that the bar is high for companies to go public. It’s a healthy and constructive thing for the company and their customers and employees. I’ll end this post with some wisdom my good friend Fred Wilson shared about going public:

I appreciate why some founders want to avoid being public. I spent the last day and a half being a public company director. There are parts of that job that suck.

But having seen this movie (going public/being public) many times now, I think there is a lot less to fear than most entrepreneurs think. It’s good for the company to be held accountable, it’s good for the employees and investors to have liquidity, and it’s good to join the ranks of the best companies in the world.

* * * 

The NYT article also describes an effort by Eric Reiss to encourage longer term shareholders. I like that concept a lot and would love to learn more about it. 

Why I’m a Patriots fan

In our house, the biggest fan of the New England Patriots is our oldest child, Sophia. She watches every game from start to finish. And she always sits in the same seat in our family room. To say she’s a superstitious fan is an understatement. 

This fall Sophia moved out of the house and headed off to college — and the Patriots lost their season opener. 

I got a text during the game from Sophia that said, “you know why they are losing, right?”.

I knew exactly what she meant. She wasn’t watching the game from home. It turns out I was thinking the same thing. 

This past weekend, Sophia was home. She had been really sick and decided to come home to get some rest and TLC. I felt bad she was under the weather but it was nice to have her back.

Yesterday we watched the Pats beat the Saints. She was sitting in her usual spot and she was happy watching her team win again. 

I like watching football and I like the Patriots. But the real reason I’m a Pats fan is really because I have so many memories of me and that kid cheering on Brady and team over the years. That’s what we do together and we did it again yesterday.

iPhone X

I am seeing a lot of negative tweets in my timeline about Apple’s new iPhone X.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the price or because people expected something else for this 10th anniversary phone.

I loved the pitch: a big screen in a small beautiful form factor, 2 hour longer battery, a crazy fast chip, improved camera, FaceID & wireless charging. 

It seems like many folks believe iPhone X isn’t going to sell very well and most customer will purchase the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus — because of the price points. The 8/8 Plus are great phones but we are talking about Apple customers here. And Apple customers want the very best. 

I believe iPhone X is going to be a huge hit and the premium price may be a feature, not a bug. Give me the best materials, the best design and best performance

That’s the iPhone X. Well done, Apple. 

I can’t wait to get one. 

“Our enemy really isn’t capitalism, it’s cynicism. That’s one the things I learned from Woody (Guthrie)… Not to be cynical… That cynicism… It destroys you, it rots you away from the inside. So that sense of optimism and humanity… which 20 years ago I would have called socialism but now I’ll call compassion… You know, that idea is still out there and alive and if you can plug into that and encourage that it makes it all worth while”. ~ Billy Bragg