Spending the weekend at LA Startup Weekend – working with an incredible group of people launching a new dating site http://www.Paidate.com – basically a transactional model for dating. You pay for dates – basically “Buy it Now” but all the proceeds go to a charity of your date’s choice. Frankly I hate the idea of subscription based dating sites. I’ve always thought they should hold a Netflix style competition and optimize the matching algorithms but that probably wouldn’t make sense…they want that monthly fee. So I’ve always wanted to see a dating site that is transactional, and thus aligned with user’s interests. We’re still building it right now – should be up and live sometime sunday. For now you can follow us on twitter at @paidate and give us some love 🙂
Wondering if I need to change my blog name from “Good Angel” to “Good Founder” 😉 So excited to be building BetterWorks with amazing people. I think maybe next week we’ll disclose a bit more about the team. But until then I just wanted to make a quick point here — It’s all about the team, right? But how do you find amazing people? Over the last week I’ve had a couple recruiters hit me up and while I won’t disparage the business of recruiting – it certainly has its merits – I’m not a big fan of recruiters in the early days of building your team. I can’t remember who said it recently, but as a founder you need to recruit your A+ folks. And if you can’t recruit people, maybe you should be asking yourself if you’re fit to be a good founder?
This Week in Startups with my buddy Jason Nazar
My dad is off on his ‘adventures’ again – woke up to the family newsletter he sends out which reads more like a war report:
“Nice to be back to work, we just had our second explosion of the morning. The sound of bombs and choppers crisscrossing overhead lets you know you are back in Baghdad. Now it is 10:30 in the morning and we have had 3 bombings so far. First one was close, while I was having my first cup of coffee for the day, nice rocking explosion. The second was further a way and the third was further away than the second. Coming in from the airport last night XXXXX said there are about 1 or 2 bombings a day, most are not reported as no one wants to say the bombings are getting worse. Driving in to the city I lost track of the check points we went through. It looks like a city under siege.”
Funny when I realize my dad and I have been together through four different warzones – and when I say together I mean we’ve celebrated our birthdays, new years, christmas and more together. We’ve even cooperated on a few jobs and buried friends and coworkers in these places most of you hear about on CNN. He’s always been there for me and he taught me some of the most important lessons of my personal and professional career.
I built my first company after driving alone into Baghdad in 2003 with $10,000 hidden in a camera bag; in 2004 as the had business scaled from two dudes with an idea to a hundred professionals across Iraq, Lebanon, Dubai and DC my dad jumped in and helped me. I’m not sure about any of you, but can you imagine jumping on a skype call with your dad – “Yeah dad, yeah,hey luv ya and all…yeah im alive…all good here ya know how it is…so important stuff we’re doing really well, how about you come out and help me with the business…yeah we’re growing too fast, need some help on the ground, we got offices strung from Baghdad to Basra to Dubai and Amman and more on the way. Need some help putting the teams together….yeah… really…ok awesome, the sooner the better..couple weeks, yup that’s rad dad. Thanks. Ok. Luv ya – later dad.” So I can’t remember the exact details of that discussion but it took him no more than ten minutes to decide to come out and help me. Over the next couple years we would build a complex network of several hundred people across four continents. I couldn’t have done it without the help and advice of this great dude, my dad.
Most people don’t know that my dad gave me my first MBA; I’d later get a real MBA in 1999 while I was still in the Marine Corps, and it paled in comparison to the lessons I learned first hand from my dad. We had a family business that we started out of an abandoned house in Sacramento when I was five years old- said house also doubled as our home – and my dad involved me in the business at a young age. At seven and eight years old he’d bring me to vendor meetings, sales calls, and more. I spent a decade watching and learning how to serve and care for employees, customers, vendors and more. That sounds a little odd, right? But I used the word “serve” because that’s core to my dad’s being – he believes that we all “serve each other” – that we should use our talents, information, resources and riches to help those around us. He ultimately built an art framing and graphics business – but he didn’t treat it as a factory to produce picture frames and shadow boxes. He used it as a vehicle to inspire and support local artists in Sacramento – he leveraged his position to support local art events, to help the community around us, and ultimately he inspired me to be a better dude.
And now, back in the trenches building BetterWorks I’m going to be leveraging that inspiration once again to “Make Work Rewarding”.
Heads down on my new company BetterWorks – we’re “Making Work Rewarding” – more to follow. But, I’m simply jazzed to have an incredibly awesome cofounder, George Ishii (former adobe, paypal, Geni & Yammer cofounder). Incredible dude and I’m blessed to have people like George in my life. I’m constantly asked “What are you working on?” – people man, it’s all about awesome people. Yes, I’m out there doing the sand hill roadshow and even that’s a real blast watching people’s eyes light up. But #1 for me…it’s all about awesome people who love our vision.
So, if you’re an A+ player and want to join a fun group of folks launching something beautiful and profound here in LA hit us up. George and I are looking for killer technical talent (experience in B2B platforms ideal), and looking for some sales & service professionals with strong SME / local & online sales experience.
And yes, we’re still being a little bit “stealthish” – not to mess with any of you but honestly we’re heads down and driving towards an incredible vision that we hope will effect the lives of six millions business owners and seventy-million employees. We want to change the nature of the workforce and we’re both excited to follow our dreams thanks to all of our awesome friends and cohorts.
Starting something new – something exciting. Hope to tell you more about it in the near future…
Funny enough I love technology and I love entrepreneurs even more, but I’ve never maintained my own blog. I’ve remained relatively private when it comes to sharing my thoughts publicly even though I believe firmly in the concept of transparency. But after a solid year of investing in amazing people & their companies and sharing my perspectives one on one, I’ve decided it’s about time I start putting a few words down. Over the last year I’ve invested in twenty companies and roughly forty amazing individuals who will shape our world.
So here goes – I promise nothing profound in this first post and really this is a “getting to know you / getting to know me” kind of post. So probably the best place to start is “Getting to know me”
Getting to Know Me
I love entrepreneurs – I love the startup world and nothing beats being in the ring fighting to grow a great company, product and team. I like to invest in women and men who want to change the world one URL at a time. If you’re smart, passionate and know how to get shit done please talk to me.
My favorite investments fall into two areas: Entertainment & Social Data. Entertainment is easy to understand. I don’t invest in content but I will invest in platforms and tools that allow consumers to create, share, discover and engage entertainment in new ways. Social Data is a little harder to describe and sometimes it’s like porn – “I know it when I see it” – but basically I love companies that are riding the wave of transparency. If you’re collecting, storing, analyzing and leveraging streams of social data I want to talk to you. While these are my focus areas I’m always ready to talk – if you’re passionate and building a great consumer facing product please reach out to paigecraig at youknowwhat dot com.
What else should you know? First, I’m pretty active in every company. Talk to any of the founders and they’ll probably tell you (hopefully) that I’m always available even when I’m traveling the world. From Amman to Timbuktu, I try to stay in touch and make myself useful. Investing is far more than a check – it’s a mental & emotional commitment to support founders as they grow these companies.
Second, I make decisions relatively quickly. If you have something hot I can usually make my mind up in 24 hours or less.
One final thing – I don’t mind meeting early. If you’re at the concept or wireframe stage hit me up. I love to invest early, take a big risk and help you as you put things together. On a similar matter, I don’t invest in companies if I’m not involved in the seed round.
OK, that’s it for this first post. Like I said, nothing amazing here, just a quick introduction and hopefully more interesting posts to follow.