It’s impossible to miss the news going on around us. Triggered in Minneapolis, by a despicable act of someone who should never have been put in the privileged position as an officer of the peace, tensions have exploded. As an American, I am embarrassed for our country by what this police officer did, but also for the violence that has resulted. As a human, I am ashamed of our species’ behavior, both for what drove this officer to brutally kill this person, but also for how we continue to treat each other. As a person whose skin complexion is not…


Falling from the Pinnacle of Success
Falling from the Pinnacle of Success

When Elizabeth Holmes’s photo adorned the June 2014, cover of Fortune Magazine, it certainly seemed like a time for the team at Theranos to celebrate. Holmes had created a seriously important healthcare industry disruptor. The potential of Theranos was now reaching influential healthcare executives around the world. The photo on a major business magazine cover was the product of monumental accomplishments together with hard work by the public relations and marketing teams at the company. But something else was festering deep within the Theranos organization.

It wasn’t that the product wasn’t working. As we are finding out, although the product…


2019 has been a rough year for company founders. Adam Neumann (WeWork), with moves that probably made Travis Kalanick jealous, got a billion-dollar boot. Kevin Plank was forced to walk one (the plank, that is) as the financial performance of Under Armour suffered. Jia Yueting pulled the plug and filed for bankruptcy at Faraday’s Future. Vernon Hill (Metro Bank) got ousted from the bank he built. Patrick Byrne of Overstock, after failing to squeeze short sellers and a deep state controversy, unceremoniously left the company. Julian Dunkerton of Superdry got left out…to dry. Luo Jun of Tujia (China’s Airbnb) got…


Ronald Acuna Jr watches, didn’t run hard out of the batter’s box and only wound up with a single. Jason Getz, USA TODAY Sports

If you are a baseball fan, you are no doubt aware of the different trajectories of the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves baseball teams. Unless something rarer than a black swan pops up in the next three weeks, the Braves will win the National League East Division and the Mets will come in third or fourth out of five teams. Some who are unfamiliar with the game will assume that the Braves have better players than the Mets. …


Photo Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

Founders don’t often voluntarily replace themselves. It’s usually not their decision to step aside to let someone else take over the leadership of their company. Ultimately most founders will be replaced. Usually by the C round of capital raise. And when this happens, unfortunately the founder usually sticks around in some capacity — often as a board member, even as Chairman, in an operational role on the executive team reporting to the CEO or sometimes as a partner to the new CEO.

Each of these roles, short of the founder leaving the company completely and entirely, is bullshit. So why…


There are plenty of arguments about whether the digitization of health information has improved the delivery of patient healthcare. There are some obvious advantages of moving from hard-to-manage-and-store paper and film to media that is much more compact and transportable. The technological availability of digitization (plus some heavy-handed government incentives here in the US) has ushered in the wide-scale adoption of electronic health records (EHR).

Despite the potential benefits, most physicians dislike (some use a stronger word) their interaction with their electronic health records systems. Many see them as a distraction, drawing attention away from their personal patient interaction to…


An alarming trend is occurring in a growing number of technology initial public offerings (IPO). Just prior to selling shares to an unsuspecting public, founders have been turning the tables. Instead of selling you the same shares that insiders hold, a newly constructed class of stock is substituted instead. These shares seem in most aspects to be the same with one important distinction. Your vote doesn’t count.

How could this happen? Doesn’t the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the stock exchange or some other watchdog group protect public shareholders? Actually, they don’t protect you from this practice. …


I admit that I’m cynical. I come by it naturally, a product of my life experiences. Cynicism is generally not admired. My wife hates my cynicism. She says that it often comes across as contemptuous and irritating. Some of my business colleagues feel I am overly fixated on problems. But I am also an optimist.

I try to reconcile the two. If I wasn’t a cynic I wouldn’t find problems to fix. My cynicism helps me spot opportunities and the improvements they need. If I wasn’t an optimist, I wouldn’t have the guts to tackle these opportunities. …


In 1981 Geoff Moore published the best-selling marketing classic entitled Crossing the Chasm. In it he identified a disruption in the product life cycle that he deemed the Chasm. The chasm separated two different types of customers with drastically different buying behaviors. Moore advised radically changing our marketing behaviors to deal with each. His contribution of this disruptive gulf in what otherwise appeared to be a smooth and continuous maturity process, changed the way technology was and is positioned and sold.

From Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm

The Chasm, according to Moore, depicts a difficult-to-cross gulf between early market adopters and main street. According to Moore…


There is a dirty little secret that executive recruiters would like you not to discover. It’s one that experienced managers have known for a long time but prefer to ignore. Most newly recruited executives fail to live up to their expectations. Despite the fanfare, high hopes (and investment) a new executive appointment brings, half fail entirely during the first eighteen months. And, more than three quarters are never considered an unequivocal success.

In a survey of two hundred CEOs, only 21% felt they received the value they paid for their executive searches. Yet, the headhunter business continues to thrive.

A…

Les Trachtman

Author of “Don’t F**k It Up, How Founders and Their Successors Can Avoid the Cliches That Inhibit Growth” — www.foundertransitions.com

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