He’s probably listening to ‘experts.’

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Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

A recent opinion piece in Financial Times by esteemed economist Nouriel Roubini brought home to me why so many traditionalists are just not letting go of the “bitcoin is a scam,” trope.

Mr. Roubini rants his way through his case — casually tossing around the terms bitcoin and crypto interchangeably.

For anyone looking to better understand crypto and bitcoin, Roubini’s article is less than helpful.

I will try to be more so.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, all cryptocurrencies are blockchains. Not all blockchains are cryptocurrencies. It is sloppy to mix them without distinction.

If Roubini were writing this FT piece…


The same things that make a good person.

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What makes a good entrepreneur?

Some time ago, when asked in front of a class of MBA students, I can’t recall my soundbite answer. It probably included things like strong work ethic, adaptability, willingness to do the dirty work, etc.

That’s all true. But a longer answer is worth some thought. Because some people are just better cut out for entrepreneurship than others. Some of it you can teach, some of it you can’t.

But what makes a good one? Certainly that depends on how you define ‘good.’ Let’s use Webster’s definition: “Of a favorable character or tendency.”

Favorable character…


Learn from them.

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We’ve all done it. Talked smack about our competitors. It’s natural, and way too easy for a team to console themselves talking about how bad the other folks are.

But it is a lazy habit. Worth unlearning if you really want to beat the competition (and grow your business).

When we talk down competitors — even just to our internal team — we develop an unhealthy attitude of superiority and every time we do it, we’re developing blind spots.

Your competitor offers another way to address the same problem you do. Some customers choose you, some choose them.

Smart entrepreneurs…


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Photo by Benedicto de Jesus on Unsplash

Sooner or later there’s a chore to be done by one of us. The chore of missing.

Most days we can neglect it. But always it waits. Sooner or later, one of us, you or me, will tend to it.

Today I saw myself — for just a bit — as that one. Tending to the chore of missing.

I took one imaginary step down that weary road. Only one. For now we still smell the same air, feel the same earth beneath. Missing can wait.

But looking down that road, taking that one, hesitant step into your absence, I…


Four key traits can be either strengths or weaknesses.

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Image thanks to Pexels.

I have had a front row seat to many emerging companies over the years and several in the past months. It never gets old, watching people becoming first-time entrepreneurs. Hearing their tone change from, “I kinda miss that big company salary,” to, “I don’t want to go back, I’m going to make this work.”

It is a treat to see confidence forming as they talk to customers, and intimidation turn to excitement as they get their head around how their business will come together.

In today’s economy, many people freelance and work gigs without a long-term employment contract. A true…


Ownership and accountability move us.

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Photo Credit: Alex Cannon

Walking along the creek near our house, we came across three boys — 10 or 12 years old. Their football had landed in the water and was moving swiftly away with the current.

They chased it and we cheered them on, all puzzling aloud on the best place to make a grab for it.

It is Spring in the North, and the creek winding through our city runs fast and wide. Thirty feet wide on average, the current strong and cold from snowmelt and spring rain.

Still, it is not a mighty river. It is not too deep, not likely…


Spoiler: 2/3’s of it can, 1/3 cannot.

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I am frequently asked this question, so let’s settle it.

More people today are looking for ways to take charge of their own work destiny. I believe that’s a good thing.

Because of this, many different types of programs have arisen to train aspiring entrepreneurs. Is that also a good thing?

Yes, if we take the time to understand what they can and cannot teach.

Defining an entrepreneur.

The label ‘entrepreneur’ was not always considered flattering. That has changed. In the past couple of decades, the badge of entrepreneur has become a sought-after credential. …


The six-word business plan no startup should ignore.

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I spent most of my life leading ventures I co-founded from scratch. Now I help new tech startups build out their business plans and prepare for launch.

Because I believe in the synergy of education & practice, I’ve tried to learn (and hopefully teach) how to relate best thinking from business school to life in the startup trenches.

But it also helps sometimes, to pause and remember to keep things simple.

Every business plan boils down to two simple statements. First, you have to find the money, then you have to get the money.

Thinking about a business through this…


I’ve done it. Nothing will better prepare your new venture for success.

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Years ago I found myself out of college, in my older brother’s basement, sitting at a computer on a card table, coding a product I didn’t completely understand but my older brother knew his customers would buy.

In true startup style, my bed was next to the card table.

I was still clearing the college out of my veins and my natural aversion to joining the corporate world (and plan to go to law school the next year) made me an easy startup recruit.

So, I became co-founder and employee #1 (my brother wisely kept his day job until we…


Bold moves are the safest. But know the difference between bold and rash.

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“I am of the opinion, the boldest measures are the safest,” said British Royal Navy Admiral Horatio Nelson.

I recently heard this quote on radio news — used by some pundit or another, likely out of context. The apparent paradox fascinated me and sent my thoughts wandering away from the story.

How can bold choices be safest? As I thought about it, the meaning and its usefulness to entrepreneurs appeared.

Having Googled him, I now know that history remembers Vice Admiral Nelson as a brilliant, unconventional and successful naval commander and strategist.

Wikipedia is happy to list the many quotes…

Joel Cannon

Business formation & development | Servant leadership | Energy tech | Curious nerd

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