Thoughts on Shark Tank Ep. 1 – 2012

Here is the details of the episode.  I really enjoyed the episode.  I think Mark Cuban brings a lot to this show.   He’s leveled the playing field.

Here is my opinion:

Clean Bottle – Big numbers and already a pretty good business w/ $750k in sales.  I did not like the business b/c I don’t see a patent or any other barriers to entry.  Result:  Mark Cuban invested.

My Beautiful Life – Hated it.  It’s like a lead gen. company for funeral homes.  Result:  no investment.

Business Ghost – Hated it.  It’s a job, not a business. Besides, no one prints books any more.  Result: no investment.

EZ VIP – I did not like this idea.  I think it’s a good service, but being a middle man to night clubs is a shady deal.  Result:  Both Mark Cuban and Daymond invest and love it.

You can watch Sharktank here on



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Owning a job versus owning a business.

My friend Pericles sent me a link to a Michael Gerber Youtube video and asked us if we think we own a business or a job?


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Mark Cuban’s path to becoming rich.

This is pretty cool. I don’t think it’s a how-to. It’s a how to put yourself in a position to win/succeed. This is a safe and secure plan for anyone.

This personal spending stuff really hits a nerve with me. I’m not a consumerist, but if you asked me to spend $100 on a dinner I’m going to crap out 2 hrs later, I’m in. If you ask me to buy something for $100 that can make more than $100 tomorrow, I don’t. I think it has to do w/ the small transaction amount. I can’t get rich on a $100, but when you think about it $100 a week is $5,200 per year. I bet half of America does not have that in a savings account. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big advocate of enjoying your life. My parents were immigrants. All the Greeks we know lived poor and died rich. That bothers me.

Here are some of Mark’s quotes that struck a cord with me.

“Getting there requires being ready when opportunity presents itself.”

If you don’t think you’ve missed opportunities, you’re crazy. People miss opportunities mainly b/c they’re either afraid, don’t believe in themselves or have an ego that gets in the way of succeeding. We’ve all had opportunities and there will be more, if you’re present enough to see them.

He ends w/:

“The question is whether you have the discipline to be ready when it happens for you ?

If you do, you will find out what it feels like to get lucky.” Most of it is luck. You can’t get lucky if you’re not in the right place at the right time, with some money in your pocket.

You can read the full post here:

“Here are some other quotes I found interesting.

IMHO, change and uncertainty create opportunity. Times like we are facing now, with complete financial uncertainty are perfect times to start on the road to getting ahead financially.

Always remember this. If a deal is a great deal, they aren’t going to share it with you.

Save your money. Save as much money as you possibly can. Every penny you can. Instead of coffee, drink water. Instead of going to McDonald’s, eat Mac and Cheese. Cut up your credit cards. If you use a credit card, you don’t want to be rich. The first step to getting rich is having cash available

Booms are when the smart people sell. Busts are when rich people started on their path to wealth.

When everyone was following the crowd, they kept on saving their money and avoiding the temptation of groupthink.”

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Pretty Cool Event w/ Ekhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Ram Dass, Kim Eng- Event

Can’t wait to see this. The event takes place Saturday, Oct. 29th at 8am CST. I’ll probably just pay and download it.

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Facebook’s soon to be billionaires

Never really know who owned what at Facebook.  Business Insider does an excellent job in their slide presentation titled, “Meet Facebook’s (Soon-To-Be) Billionaires.”

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Insight from Amazon’s first employee.

Seventeen years ago, Shel Kaphan was No. 1.  You can find the full interview at

Let’s start with some things you may not know about Amazon.

  • Jeff Bezos projections were no where near the scale of Amazon today.  Not surprising.
  • Started out of a home office.
  • Original possible names were Cadabra and Relentless.  Names don’t make companies great.  Companies make names great.
  • Early controversies:  “One of the early controversies about the company is that we were claiming that we had a million titles. Well, we did have a million titles. We didn’t have a million books, but we had a million titles in the sense that we could order them.”  Marketing is important.  Image is important.  I believe customers are more understanding when you’re an impressive company and you screw up.  Popularity helps.

Why Amazon is so successful:

  1. Timing (can also be considered luck)
  2. Focus
  3. Execution
  4. Talent
  5. Jeff Bezos (Leadership)
  6. Faith

You’ve heard it in comedy and it rings true.  “Timing is everything.”  Amazon could not have happened five years later.   Although, there is no doubt that Jeff Bezos would still be successful.  He’s a rare bread of visionary and business person.  “….he (Jeff Bezos) saw those opportunities and seized them. I am not sure just anybody else would.”

Focus:  “Jeff had made an impression on me as a really intelligent and focused person.”  How do stay focused?  You walk away from things that get you unfocused.  The scale of the websites out there that do something cool and will never make a dollar.  They’re not geared towards the market.  Amazon made a huge industry bigger and more efficient.  Bezos was focused and opportunistic.  Those are two states that are hard to balance.

Execution:  Shel says, “I remember there was a day when Jeff’s face was on the front page of The Wall Street Journal in their little portrait engraved style, and we got really slammed right after that and managed to survive that.”  They got an opportunity and they hit a home run.  They went “viral” before it was en vogue.

Talent:  You need a pool of talent to create a game changing business.  Ask any military general.  You can’t win a war without good soldiers.  Good people have a synergistic effect.  Serendipitous things also happen that lead to success.

What impresses me about Amazon is that they could have settled many times as a book seller or some niche.  They just did not stop.  You have to give a lot of credit to Jeff Bezos as a leader.   I would love to write a book about the big decisions and how he made them.  For someone with his success, he’s managed to keep a low profile.

Faith is a word that is a little bit misunderstood.  People tend to associate it specifically with religion and that’s not correct (although understandable).  Jeff Bezos believed in himself and his idea.  No one would have ever predicted this companies meteoric rise.  “I think from having come from the big money world of Wall Street, and also the big ego world of Wall Street, just to be able to see a huge opportunity and go after it was part of his frame of reference.”

Finally, don’t let faith turn into foolishness.


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Daily exercise to get you pumped up.

You have to step back and realize what you’re really good at.  Too many people focus on what they can’t do.  This turns into the graveyard of half-done products.

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Dinner for Schmucks is Hilarous. A few funny quotes.

Hard to believe a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Therman (Zach Galifinakis): I just need to hear Barry say you can eat my pudding.

Tim (Paul Rudd): Oh my god! You know that is just so like you. You call a guy a douche and you get your first museum show.

Kieran (Jermaine Clement): Do you have any idea what it’s like Tim, to be up to your elbow in a zebra’s vagina?

Barry: I know that you take a magic marker and draw a little face on your penis.
Therman: Is that against the law? I don’t think so.
Barry: And you put a little hat on it. And you call it Sammy.
Therman: Nobody is supposed to know that!


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Strike-through for Gmail (Woo-hoo).

I have found some inventive ways to simulate strike-through text in Gmail.  Now, there’s a Chrome extension:

Pretty sweet.

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Name-dropping. Is it lame?

Let me preface that I’m not a sales dog, which is why sales advice is so important.  I find the two most important ways to develop a sale is credibility and rapport.   You can’t even go into your pitch (or offer) prior to establishing these two items (credibility and rapport).  I covered this in my post titled “The best sales advice I ever got.

Let’s get to the point:  name-dropping.  I hate to say it, but it is important.  It’s NOT lame.

Name-dropping turned me off a long time ago.  I remember waiting in lines at clubs in Chicago, like:  Shelter, Elixir, Crobar, Buddha Lounge and start dropping names.  It rarely worked, but it did sometimes.   After I left that scene, the name-dropping stopped b/c it made me feel sneaky.

What I did was go into these huge spiels about our product.  What I slowly realized is that nobody really cared about my pitch.  Sure, the product has to help them, but the product is only as good as the people that use it.    If you do not build credibility and rapport, it starts sounding SPAMMY.

Let’s face it, the most important commodity today is people’s time.  They’re more likely to let you waste their time, if you’re wasting the time of someone that makes more money than them.  Name-dropping is part of the credibility process and you should clean this part of your pitch up before you bother your product managers about adding new features.

If you want to get deeper into this, there is an excellent academic article titled “Why We Trust People We Do Not Know“.  Thanks to Sean McGinnis.

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