Breaking in a ball glove

I clipped this article from Forbes in 2001 thinking that someday, I would get a new glove or have to break in a glove for my future kids. The future came to be the other day. I tried this one second hot water dunk on my son’s glove in preparation for the upcoming t-ball season. It worked amazingly. The glove broke-in nicely and he even stands a chance of catching a ball.

Forbes: Breaking in a New Glove

As thoughts turn to the rites of Spring, two excellent baseball reads from the early 20th century.
1) The Unforgettable Season by GH Fleming
The National League Championship Season of 1908 was one of the greatest ever. The Cubs, Giants and Pirates battled down to the wire. This is one of Sports Illustrated’s top 100 sports books of all-time which brought it back into print. Copies are much easier to find today than they were when I first learned of the book about 15 years ago.

2) You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner
My brother gave me a copy of this book about 20 years ago. It is a great and fun read as a hayseed pitcher tires to make it with the White Sox in 1916. Copies on Amazon or on the Internet at the link above.

Matt McIlwain, Rock Star Venture Capitalist

Matt McIlwain, Madrona Venture Group

Many, many thanks to Matt McIlwain for speaking at Rock Star Venture Capitalist on November 7. Matt has a reputation for bringing his “A game” and this was no exception. Approximately 65 people from cross-sections of UW and the Seattle startup community took in Matt’s observations of the ingredients of a successful entrepreneur.

The talk started out broadly setting the stage of innovation as a journey and how it is a critical part of the economy. The long term benefit is a ecosystem with network effects. Specifically, Microsoft beget Real Networks, Real Networks, ADIC, F5 and UW CSE helped beget Isilon and now Isilon has beget Clustrix and Corensic. Matt believes, as many here do, that Seattle is uniquely positioned to be not only as major tech hub, but one that can be bigger than Austin, Boston, Los Angeles and New York. The ecosystem and the entrepreneurs who thrive in the ecosystem are key.

Matt then detailed how there are 4 key ingredients of the successful entrepreneur:

1) Customer Focus
Sunny Gupta of Apptio is a great example of relentless customer focus. He understands not only value creation but also value capture.

2) Domain Passion
Glenn Kelman of Redfin is so passionate about the domain, even through he had no prior experience in it, that Redfin has seriously disrupted real estate. Check this 2008 Forbes article for how disruptive Redfin has been.

3) Curiosity
Andy Liu of BuddyTV personifies how entrepreneurs must dream and execute.

4) Humility
Brad Jefferson of Animoto is a prime example of not letting ego stand in the way of success. Animoto stopped and redesigned their architecture around the then newly emerging AWS platform.

Thanks again to Matt, a true Rock Star!

The Futility Of Price Controls

For many years I have found the notion of price controls interesting mainly because there is vast amounts of historical evidence that state they do not work. Time after time, price controls are put forward as a solution, most recently in Venezuela. Interesting read at Forbes that tracts price controls back to Diocletian, which came as a surprise to this Catholic school boy who only knew about his Christian persecutions.

Forbes: The Futility Of Price Controls

Denis O’Brien & Haiti

All the incredible and horrible stories from the Haiti earthquake made me think of an article I awhile back in Forbes. Digicel CEO Denis O’Brien has brought mobile telecommunications to the world’s poorest countries. Digicel has been a large part of the surviving communications infrastructure in Haiti and has offered €3.5m in charitable funding. It would be frightening to think what Haiti would look like right now without Digicel.

In time, Haiti will begin the rebuilding process, it will need more people with vision and guts like Denis O’Brien.
Forbes: Denis O’Brien Cover Story, July 2008