Monday, April 27, 2009

Sponsor Rajiv's Run for Literacy

This is my second year running the The Relay, a 199 mile, 12 member team run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. My cause is literacy, specifically the India Literacy Project. I had such an amazing time last year running 18 miles that I just had to do it again - along with 59 of my running friends. Please help me make a difference.

Why am I doing this?

Beyond being a glutton for punishment, I am volunteering for the India Literacy Project (ILP), an organization that promotes literacy in India. My goal is to raise more than we did last year because the need is greater and impact is tremendous.

Literacy is a powerful tool of personal and community development. If you can take one child and teach them to read and write, you can change their world. That child does not have to live a life of hard labor or be blind to all the amazing books that he or she can read. She can learn on her own, teach her kids and make her life better than her parents. She may even be the next great scientist or entrepreneur.

Look at this ILP sponsored project. ILP is funding a mass scale literacy project touching thousands of children in 225 villages. This will be done for $40k or $200 per village! How often can you have so much leverage to make a big difference? It truly shows how every contribution helps - large or small.

The literacy rate in India is less than 60%. Projects supported by ILP include: educating kids forced into child labor, providing vocational training to unskilled youth and building functional skills for illiterate adults. Over the last eighteen years, ILP has distributed over $1.5 million benefiting 100,000 women & children.

Make a difference
Please join me in helping the India Literacy Project. So drop in that credit card and pour your heart out. When you do, I'll even go out of my way to thank you publicly :).

Click here to sponsor. Scroll down when you reach the page.

And yes, your donation is 100% tax deductible.

Thank you!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Taking the Plunge

In honor of the title of my blog, I've decided to quote every article that has "take the plunge" or a close derivative. Think of this like a drinking game. If you find an article, send it to me and take a shot of Petrone.

First, the definition from

take the plunge Informal
To begin an unfamiliar venture, especially after hesitating: After a three-year engagement, they're finally taking the plunge.

Now the articles:
* The Governor's Mr. Fix-It - NY Times editorial - July 9, 2009
"We don’t know yet whether it was legal, but Gov. David Paterson of New York was right to take the plunge and name a lieutenant governor in an effort to break the increasingly damaging stalemate in Albany."

* Take the plunge at amusement parks - Detroit Free-Press - May 17, 2009
"Beware the Diamondback, the new steel roller coaster at Kings Island that plunges at 80 miles per hour into the Lagoon of Doom." Almost literal.

* Astronomers take virtual plunge into black hole - - April 27, 2009
New word - "spaghettification." That's what happens if you fall in one, seriously.

* Obama sees signs of better Cuba and Venezuela ties - April 19, 2009
"Obama took a plunge into Latin America ... We created a new way of viewing each other and of overcoming our differences by debating them," Lula (Brazilian President) told reporters."

* Despite Challenges, Doctors Take Digital Plunge - - March 25, 2009
Despite these concerns, she (Dr. Fishman) and her partners have decided to take the plunge. "As of May," she says, "we will no longer have paper. If anything is on paper, it will go on computer."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

7 Steps to Wealth While Killing Startups

I know this entrepreneur who has made himself wealthy while his companies have never caught fire. In fact most have or will die - not necessarily because the idea is bad, but because this entrepreneur unconsciously kills the company. People live their lives in patterns and this person is no different. So for my friend who asked me to send this as an email, I will instead put it into a post:

7 Steps:

1. Ideation: come up with an idea that matches some current or emerging trend. Talk it up with the network. Get a bunch of people excited.
2. Pre-funding: get angels in or put some of your money in. This is critical for the next step.
3. Funding: get friends and angels to push a fund to put significant money in. Critical to this transaction is to take "some" of your money off the table to "allow" the fund to buy in.
4. Buildup: hire management, build up the product or service. In fact, keep hiring "better" because it keeps existing people literally on their toes.
5. Slash back: as soon as the concept is ready in beta form, slash back - cut people and spending. The buildup was excessive, the released product is not ready or the pricing needs to be slashed - pick one or multiple - even use the "economy." Then, put in significant constraints on whoever is left in the company. Definitely do not invest in any significant marketing.
6. New Ideation: the previous idea did not take hold, not enough people are using it, the trend has passed. Kill it while talking up the new new idea.
7. Rinse and repeat, but do it fast enough so people don't wonder what happened to your previous concepts. Each time you are making money, so judging success or is difficult.

Do you know anyone like this? This person is always into the new thing. His or her superbright mind is always churning. They are uber salespeople and networkers, but not necessarily ones that can create successes. Since we all tend to stay within existing patterns, I'm sure there are many. Please share your story.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

G20 Adopts Obama Marketing

Have you noticed the signs Obama administration talks? When Treasury Secretary Geithner presents anything there's the blue banners with words like "Reform," "Recovery," "Stability." Check out the recent G20 meeting. Not only do they want you to know about the subject of the meeting, but they also want you to know that they are about "Stability," "Growth," and "Jobs."

You have to love how good our President is in marketing himself when the world adopts his methods. You have to love a marketing oriented president.

I think I'm going to have a placard when I speak at events - Rajiv Parikh, CEO - Amazing, Sharp, Buy.