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I recently went to a conversation with Andy Ellwood — formerly director of business development at Waze, and co-founder at Bond, he is working on his next startup now, called Basket.

I learned more in that talk than I could remember, so I decided to write down the biggest learnings.

At the beginning, he was asked, what is something you wish every entrepreneur knew?

His answer: Own what you control. Build teams and processes around those.

The story: He was the #1 sales person in America when it came to selling life insurance back in the day.

Every day, he…


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A friend recently asked me how they could get a first job in VC.

The phrase that came up for me: De-risk it.

When investors are looking at investments, they look for signals that risk has been reduced significantly — a founding team that has had success before, customers that are willing to pay, revenue generating partnerships that are already signed, and so on.

The same goes for hiring — they are looking for proof that there is not too much risk in hiring you. Do you have the skills they need to do the work? Have you succeeded doing…


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There is nothing quite like the feeling of putting on a great event.

We love seeing people enjoy an experience, smiles on their face, and appreciative of the opportunity they’ve had. They keep coming back, and ask if they can bring others next time because they enjoyed it so much.

And there’s nothing quite like the pain of hosting a crappy event.

When people are constantly checking their phone, barely talking, or indifferent to the experience that we’ve created.

What makes the difference?

There are a lot of tactics event folks and community builders could share, from email language to…


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Eating healthy food. Working out. Reflection and goal-setting. Learning, creation, expression.

We all want amazing habits.

But we kind of suck at building them.

Take the following situations:

You want to do a goal setting session on Monday evening after going to work. But instead you decide to sit down on the couch, pop open a bottle of wine, and have a drink while watching Netflix.

And it feels good.

You relax, are entertained, and get a good taste on your tongue.

You want to wake up early to workout before the day starts. But instead you hit the snooze…


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“So what’s your story?”

The first time I heard that at an event, I felt at a loss for words.

My story? What the heck should I say? Do you want my full autobiography? Something else?

It’s an editorial challenge — giving a narrative that is concise, memorable, and meaningful to the person with whom we are speaking.

But it need not be an insurmountable challenge.

Here are three concrete strategies we can use when trying to describe ourselves, all of which I have found personally to be helpful.

The Belief


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Despite the work pressures of our daily life, decades down the line, I’m confident that I won’t look back at my life from my death bed and be most proud of my pursuit of Inbox Zero.

A few years back, I realized I needed to do a better job with my emails. (And in some ways, I still do.)

But it wasn’t just from a sense that I had too many.

I felt like I was using my time poorly on emails- I wasn’t prioritizing them properly in comparison to everything else in my life.

I had tried going to…


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You’ve received that piece of card stock that tells you their name, title, email, and phone number.

They saved you those 30 seconds that it might take to write those things down on your phone.

And now, you’ve gotten home an hour later, and have taken 30 seconds to look at the card. And write those things down on your phone.

What do you with those wonderfully designed pieces of thick paper that you won’t use again?

Here’s 17 ideas:

  1. Bookmarks. Especially if the cards were given by guys named Mark, with details about how you can book them for…

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Often we look up for guidance.

But much wisdom about how to live life can be found below the sidewalks.

MTAism #1: Generosity is a choice, not a privilege.


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I don’t know how, but the college class that I got the most practical value from was Existentialism.

It taught me countless lessons about how to live my life, keep motivated, and work through challenges.

And, best of all, it taught me the power of the pause.

I recall reading entire passages written by philosophers about the existential anxiety caused when we are uncertain about the thoughts or reactions of another person.

I first applied this Midas touch of influence when I was a teacher in the South Bronx.

If a teacher reacted to student misbehavior immediately with anger, it…


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Mindshot

My mother used to get a little crazy about eating healthy food.

Our lunch-time snacks included boxes of Biozone Bars, which were so niche for their healthiness, I can literally find no photos online of them.

I recall a time when I had a bowl of Rice Krispie Treats cereal (one of my childhood favorites), and saw that there was a surprisingly large mound of powder in the bottom of the bowl (I ate it with the milk on the side, so it was dry.) I took a taste of the powder, thinking it was sugar.

It was not sugar.

Mike MacCombie

Community Geek // Behavior Science // Puns All Day // @ff Venture Capital // @EvertrueVC // @MikeMacCombie

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