Hi there. I'm an entrepreneur, photographer, and coach (to startups) based in Silicon Valley. This is my personal website where you can learn about me and the ventures I'm involved with. Scroll down to read the latest updates or get in touch using the contact form below. Thanks for stopping by!

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From The Blog

Jet.com Insiders

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Perhaps the most interesting thing about Walmart’s recent $3 Billion acquisition of Jet.com is seeing how the startup eCommerce company’s referral-for-equity launch program, Jet.com Insiders, played out.

Maybe That should read “paid out”.

The top Jet.com insider is set to make $20M on the stock options that he earned after investing $18,000 of his own money to drive the most pre-launch referrals. Nine other participants in the program will make around $2M each on their stock options.

So The question I have to ask is has Jet.com redefined the sweet equity model? It sure feels like it.

This kind of windfall is sure to attract the attention of savvy founders who are looking for an edge when launching their startups.

And rightly so. As a cash strapped startup the potential value of your equity is your secret weapon. It’s one of your super powers. When wielded correctly, it can unlock doors, attract high value employees, and as Jet.com has proven, even create a built-in fan base for your product that might have taken millions of dollars or years to establish.

The Goverment Needs Product Managers

  
Straight talk from Mickey Dickerson about the healthcare.gov meltdown and the creation of U.S. Digital Service.

I’m glad to see that someone is addressing the organizational issues that led to dozens of contractors pocketing millions of dollars while no one was in charge or accountable.

It’s amazes me that there was no one in charge of a major product launch like healthcare.gov. Just furthers my suspicion that the government has no repeatable product delivery capability. 

So what should be done? After the meltdown I heard a lot of  calls for having the government do more IT outsourcing but I think the answer is the exact opposite.

What the Goverment needs to do is hire real product managers.

More specifically, hire awesome, experienced PMs and put them in charge of the government’s core web products and services. 

A good PM would never let a situation like healthcare.gov happen. Yes we have a U.S. CTO, but if we want to have real product delivery in government we need a product management corps run by a Chief Product Officer.

The Arcanum

Sometimes a new approach to an old way of doing something is just what it takes to create a breakthrough. That’s exactly what The Arcanum aims to do by using the latest technology to bringing back the Master & Apprentice method of teaching photography and art.

While it’s true that the master & apprentice model is still alive and well in photography, it is mostly limited to a small number of students that can afford to work long hours for little pay as a pro photographer’s first or second assistant. Over the last 10-20 years, amateur photographers have attempted to fill this “training gap” through enrollment in professional training schools (which can cost as much as $100,000 in tuition) or self learning via the endless amount of free (or almost free) educational content posted to websites and youtube. While both of these options have produced excellent photographers, neither is a substitute for hands-on coaching and feedback from a working master of the art.

The Arcanum, which is the brain child of pro photographer Trey Ratcliff, aims to match photography students up with Pros in an online master & apprentice relationship. After applying, Apprentices are hand picked by masters from a variety of photography disciplines and guided through ten levels of artistic mastery – after which they can then be taken on by a new master.

I’m personally very excited to be one of the initial masters at The Arcanum and look forward to guiding a group of apprentices when the doors open fully in 2014.