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Entrepreneurship


tombgrt
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I was wondering about this subject after reading this post of stahleyp:

 

I'm #4 on your list, moore.

 

I started "investing" around 9 buying up baseball cards. After a few dirty nights and drifting through card conventions, I decided to try filthy world of action figures around 12 or so. Bumming around flea markets just looking for next next hit. I would buy Jurassic Park toys and ohhhh yeah, those Starting Lineup sport action figures.  After rehabbing through those, I decided to try a less risque investment opportunity and try these "stocks" I've heard so much.

 

My cousin helped me set up a good, old custodial account and I started reading Individual Investor.  Not including a brief relapse back into baseball cards, I've been clean ever since! Yeah, okay, so I had some "risque" moments with Internet stocks in the late 90s...but hey, who didn't! :P

 

This is really basic entrepreneurship and I remember doing the same when I was 13-14 years old. I used to flip rare playstation games and figures and even had my own "store".  ;D I have no doubt this is where I originally got my interest for investing from.

 

I have always been attracted by the creativity, personal accountability and problem solving entrepreneurship demands. There is a lot of correlation between investing and entrepreneurship and I have no doubt many other members where just as creative as a kid or are actual entrepreneurs today. Am I right? If you truly have a passion for either investing or entrepreneurship, I bet you can be successful in both if you put you're mind to it.

 

Any book recommendations about entrepreneurship to feed the hunger for knowledge about the subject would be greatly appreciated. Please no list with titles you found somewhere and haven't actually read. Time is scarce and I like to focus my time on things that are worth it. :) This weekend I'm reading '1000 dollars and an idea' by Sam Wyly, great book so far. Like the way it is written and how it shows his process of becoming an entrepreneur.

 

I would also be very intrested to hear some overall thoughts from actual entrepreneurs (and others!) and how they experienced the relationship with investing and how it helped etc. Maybe an interesting discussion can come out of it!

 

 

 

Tom

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I just finished Kevin O'Leary's "Cold Hard Truth - On Business, Money and Life".  He may be better know as one of the dragons on the Canadian version of "Dragon's Den" and the American "Shark Tank".

 

He gives his own experiences from getting through school to his Mother's $10000 loan that he built into a company that he and his 2 partners sold for $4.4B to Mattel.

 

His angle on entrepreneurship is different than others I've found.  He's very candid on strengths and weakness, when and how about taking on a partner etc.  From anything else I've read, he seems very honest in how he earned what he has and doesn't fill the book with the same old cliches that are in other books.

 

One of the biggest points he drives home for entrepreneurs is, you need to either make a decision right now or hire someone who is able to.  To many failures occur from not acting. 

His golden rule for investing is to only invest in something that returns a yield whether that's dividends, bond yield or unit trust distributions (Canadian trusts before the taxation flip flop).

 

He also feels that true entrepreneurs see everyday life as an opportunity to make money, everything else is a waste of time and energy.

 

All in all it was a great read that I couldn't put down.

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I´m just 32 years old (and I will definitly have to learn a lot more and improve my abilities), but I can say that beeing a value investor clearly helped me to be a "better entrepreneur". I may have become more risk averse but the basic ideas of value investing definitly keept me away from several "betting the farm"-decisions or financial risky business ideas.

 

A good book about entrepreneurship is  "Losing My Virginity" by Richard Branson.

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Any book recommendations about entrepreneurship to feed the hunger for knowledge about the subject would be greatly appreciated. Please no list with titles you found somewhere and haven't actually read.

 

If you're interested in the tech sector, Founder at Work is amazing. Interviews with tons of startup founders:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Founders-Work-Stories-Startups-Problem-Solution/dp/1430210788/

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Haha, tom, selling videogames is awesome. I used to do that when I was younger too. How did I not include that in that other post!

 

I had two pretty big (percentage wise anyway!) hauls. I bought some strategy guide for a penny and sold it for like $50 (I think they were clearing them out at the store) and I bought a game called valkyrie profile for around $7 from blockbuster and sold it for 100+. hahaha.

 

Ohhhh the memories! If I could only compound real capital that quickly and easily.  :D

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I would also be very intrested to hear some overall thoughts from actual entrepreneurs (and others!) and how they experienced the relationship with investing and how it helped etc.

 

I'd say that the biggest thing to come out of it is the thinking with respect to competitive advantages.  For me as an entrepreneur, it's not really about selling stuff.  It's about building a moat.  As such, I generally ignore ideas that wouldn't end up with a business that has a significant moat.  And it also results in decisions to build the moat rather than profit in the short term.

 

Recently, the idea of focusing on "unloved" areas is also becoming more appealing to me, kind of akin to looking at unloved value investments.  Was it Lynch or someone else who suggested that you look for the most boring or disgusting areas of the market, and look to invest there?  As an entrepreneur, that means focusing my efforts on niches and geographies that are boring/ugly and where my skill set is rare. 

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I've never been comfortable with the term "entrepreneur" as it's been applied to myself: a guy who started a business that got off the ground and is still going today.

 

I graduated college (for the second time) with a diploma in computer programming into the nadir of the 90's recession and it was impossible to find a job. I threw my resumes in the garbage, printed up some business cards and *presto* I was no longer an unemployed recent grad looking for work. I was a consultant. I remember seeing a TV commercial from some bank with kittens rolling around in toilet paper and a smug voiceover cooing "so...you've decided to become an entrepreneur" and it enraged me. I wasn't choosing anything, it seemed, it was necessity.

 

Then a few years later in the mid-90's all I knew was that the internet was getting interesting and that I wanted to be involved. That was it. No ideas around starting a business and selling it for big bucks, no desire to cash in on the explosion, I was just immersed in the technology and suddenly people were paying me to "do stuff" for them, and before long we were creating "things" that people were paying us to use. Systems, programs, etc. Suddenly I look around and lo and behold, it's a business.

 

It didn't feel like there was an entrepreneurial impetus in there anywhere. Sure, we realized we were in "start up" mode and that was both exciting and scary. It beat working for a living (because the common theme throughout all this was that it never felt like "work"...still doesn't).

 

So now I have a few businesses and investments in the space that give me a good living. Enough to take some off the table incrementally and invest it elsewhere. Over the years I came to identify with "investor" more than "entrepreneur", and as I refine my investment style I realize I'm some kind of pseudo-activist. Not that I go in, take a position and start a proxy war. But rather I get involved with companies with more than just my capital. Now, I'm not Warren Buffet, so it's not like I go in and take a 5% stake in Coke and get on the board. I'm talking tiny, even local companies. Put in some capital, help them with business development and usually their technical issues, since I have a background there.

 

So for me it's more about investing than entrepreneurship. The latter seems about starting something and then cashing out. The former is about buying in and helping to develop it and take it to the next level (and then just keeping it). IMHO.

 

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So for me it's more about investing than entrepreneurship. The latter seems about starting something and then cashing out. The former is about buying in and helping to develop it and take it to the next level (and then just keeping it). IMHO.

 

It's called private equity Mark!  ;D  That's what you do with all your different vehicles and investments...just smaller scale.  Cheers! 

 

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Thanks for your insightful posts all, very interesting.

 

I just finished Kevin O'Leary's "Cold Hard Truth - On Business, Money and Life".  He may be better know as one of the dragons on the Canadian version of "Dragon's Den" and the American "Shark Tank".

 

He gives his own experiences from getting through school to his Mother's $10000 loan that he built into a company that he and his 2 partners sold for $4.4B to Mattel.

 

His angle on entrepreneurship is different than others I've found.  He's very candid on strengths and weakness, when and how about taking on a partner etc.  From anything else I've read, he seems very honest in how he earned what he has and doesn't fill the book with the same old cliches that are in other books.

 

One of the biggest points he drives home for entrepreneurs is, you need to either make a decision right now or hire someone who is able to.  To many failures occur from not acting. 

His golden rule for investing is to only invest in something that returns a yield whether that's dividends, bond yield or unit trust distributions (Canadian trusts before the taxation flip flop).

 

He also feels that true entrepreneurs see everyday life as an opportunity to make money, everything else is a waste of time and energy.

 

All in all it was a great read that I couldn't put down.

 

I love Dragon Den. I always watched the Brittish version a few years back.

 

I read the same about hiring the right people to succeed in Sam Wyly's book, makes sense. I'll have a look at the book, thanks.

 

I´m just 32 years old (and I will definitly have to learn a lot more and improve my abilities), but I can say that beeing a value investor clearly helped me to be a "better entrepreneur". I may have become more risk averse but the basic ideas of value investing definitly keept me away from several "betting the farm"-decisions or financial risky business ideas.

 

A good book about entrepreneurship is  "Losing My Virginity" by Richard Branson.

 

Yes, that relationship between investing and entrepreneurship was partly what I was refering to. Providing in competitive advantages, margin of safety, great management, ... are obvious - but very important - take aways you get from investing imo. I'll check that book. Can I ask what you found great about it? I guess it's more of an inspirational book? Not that it matters much, all great books ultimately have their value.

 

One of the things, like RichardGibbons said, that is core to both succesful investing and building businesses to me personally is obtaining and maintaining a competitive advantage. I have no interest in building a business that is to vulnerable. I'm afraid the hard part is finding a decent moat and building it. I have a couple of (early) ideas for later but most really have little protection from outside competition so I abandon them quickly. One of my ideas for example is easier to obtain a moat in because it's about delivering a quality service in a niche market.

 

With respect, I can't understand how people today dare to invest their capital in a basic local store without any moat and depend on it for their livelihood.

 

Any book recommendations about entrepreneurship to feed the hunger for knowledge about the subject would be greatly appreciated. Please no list with titles you found somewhere and haven't actually read.

 

If you're interested in the tech sector, Founder at Work is amazing. Interviews with tons of startup founders:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Founders-Work-Stories-Startups-Problem-Solution/dp/1430210788/

 

Not really interested in the tech sector but this book seems great nonetheless. Books about startup founders are probably more educational for me than reading life stories from guys in their sixties with billions on their accounts.  8)

 

Haha, tom, selling videogames is awesome. I used to do that when I was younger too. How did I not include that in that other post!

 

I had two pretty big (percentage wise anyway!) hauls. I bought some strategy guide for a penny and sold it for like $50 (I think they were clearing them out at the store) and I bought a game called valkyrie profile for around $7 from blockbuster and sold it for 100+. hahaha.

 

Ohhhh the memories! If I could only compound real capital that quickly and easily.  :D

 

Haha yes. Some weeks I had 5-10 times my allowance, which at the time was like finding a treasure.  ;D I remember selling some for $50+ as well. 

 

 

So for me it's more about investing than entrepreneurship. The latter seems about starting something and then cashing out. The former is about buying in and helping to develop it and take it to the next level (and then just keeping it). IMHO.

 

 

Interesting view on things Mark. Thanks for your comment!  :)

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