This particular slide came across my inbox recently in a pitch deck.


What’s funky here? (I’ve removed names and details to protect the innocent.)

Hint: it’s the word “cumulative” at the bottom of each graph.

Well, what’s wrong with that? Plenty.

People looking at revenue growth graphs like this are universally expecting per-month total revenue. This slide represents shows cumulative revenue since the company began.

In an attempt to show “up and to the right” growth, this slide has done the opposite and put everything in the deck in question. …

Prior to Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, people had really weird ideas about how to grow an economy. They didn’t understand that trade was the great creator of wealth and prosperity. Instead, mercantilism prospered. People would try to hold onto things like gold and created tariffs to protect local industries.

There is a common misconception among us those building startup communities that parallels this backward view. They have an “us versus them” mentality. One community wins and another loses.

I think that’s backward.

There is power in networks. The old-school view of community building looks inward. The real power comes when you build bridges to outside startups communities, making the whole more powerful and benefiting each node. …

Learning Through Play (for Adults)
Learning Through Play (for Adults)

People ask: “I’d like to learn about XYZ thing. How?”

The obvious answer is to go get some books and read. As we all realized in school, that’s the opposite of fun.

I use another technique:

Invent a way to “play” with it. In other words, find some way to make the learning fun.

For example, in 2012, I wanted to learn about angel investing. So, I just went and started making some investments with a small percentage of my net-worth. I knew I didn’t know what I was doing then (and still have lots to learn), but made it a playful exercise.

So, that’s it. If you want to learn something, find a way to just go play with it. Make it fun.

If it’s not something you can make fun, then question why you want to learn it anyway. :-)

Originally posted at


Michael Girdley

I’m an entrepreneur and seed-stage internet VC living in San Antonio, Texas. I blog at