Tag Archives: Investing

Seed Round Capital

Notes on Raising Seed Round Capital

Throughout the past year I’ve helped lead a couple of seed round funding for company’s that I’m a co-founder of. While I’ve assisted and consulted many startups prior to that with raising money, doing it from this perspective was quite different. I won’t admit to knowing absolutely everything, but I’ve certainly learned a few things along the way that are worth sharing if you’re in a similar situation or considering it.

Seed round funding takes significantly longer than you think it will, even if you’re just going after “friends and family”. Start reaching out to potential investors at least 6-9 months before you think you’ll need the funds as it can easily take that long to close the deal and collect the check.

How are you going to structure your company, and the investment? Delaware C-Corp’s are a common favorite structure and get a ton of attention, but you don’t necessarily need to structure it that way. Do you want to offer a convertible note or do a straight equity investment (or equity crowd funding – which is a whole other game)? There are pros and cons to each of these decisions, so it really just comes down to preference and seeking expert counsel.

Get serious about documentation as there’s a ton of it required. These deals are a negation, so anticipate there to be red lining for edits on a term sheet contract, additional concessions will be asked for, etc. Secure an attorney to assist you with this side of things. While you can start with a template, always get approval from a professional before executing the deal and finalizing documentation. It will help you later.

Your valuation is likely too optimistic. But even then, a valuation is always subjective. Your true valuation is essentially what you can convince someone your company’s worth. Remember no business plan or pitch book in the history of the world was 100% accurate with their projections. Make sure your work comes across as thoughtful and realistic however to show the potential investor that you did the work and aren’t just flying by the seat of your pants.

A “yes” isn’t really a yes until the money has been transferred. Don’t count your chickens and start deploying capital until you have received it. You can get a yes (or what you perceive to be a yes) on a deal but then when it comes time to complete a wire transfer the investor can get a little gun shy. Things happen, whether they get push back from their spouse, the market takes a downturn, or perhaps it’s some other random unexpected occurrence, a deal isn’t truly closed until you have the money in hand.

Collecting the funds isn’t where it ends, rather it’s just the beginning. After you receive the investment capital, then you have to execute the vision, deliver on what you said you were going to, provide further documentation along the way, communicate progress regularly, and ideally turn a profit so you can return the capital back along with a sizable return on their investment. Not sure which is the hard part? They all are.

What are some of the things you’ve learned along the way? There are so many others to consider. I always love hearing, and learning from, a good case study about your personal experience raising funds if you’re willing to share.

Market Contraction

The Coming Market Contraction & What it Means for Your Business

After a nearly decade long recovery period, it’s starting to look and feel like the time for an economic contraction is on the horizon. It likely won’t come for another year or so yet (if we’re lucky), but based on the history of our country, it’s certainly inevitable at some point.

A lot of the experts, economists, and pundits are starting to sound the alarm already. Things like the student loan debt crisis, 2018 interest rate hikes, the collapse of retail, and the toxic political climate, are all going to come to a head and likely trigger it. Forbes, Inc. Magazine, CNBC, Bloomberg, Seeking Alpha, and Newsmax are just a sampling of publications that have had a relatively recent article about it.

Now I’m very much an optimist, so I don’t want you to interpret my prediction of a market downturn as me being pessimistic. On the contrary, I think recessions can be an incredible opportunity for those who are prepared for them. Historically, a lot of fortunes were made in the years during and shortly after economic recessions. Not to mention, regardless of whether the stock market goes up or down, someone is always making a lot of money.

While I’m no economist, I am fortunate to be able to work with a lot of people with brilliant business minds and insight into the mysterious world of macro market forces. My suggestion (if you made it this far I’m guessing you care enough to read it) is to keep an open mind to start being proactive before it’s too late. I know a lot of you might be a bit too young to really remember 2008, but if you think back to past recessions they always seem to abruptly appear to come out of nowhere and catch people off guard. One day everyone is riding high with exuberance and the next day the bottom falls out. Clearly, it’s possible and likely that it happens this way again.

I’m not saying to run around being worried or dwelling on this. I’m simply recommending that you start tightening your belt a bit now while you can. Rein in those spending habits that may have gotten a little out of control lately. Perhaps consider cashing out on a few things while values are high and take some chips off the table. Otherwise, you could end up falling into the preventable trap of being forced to sell assets at the bottom.

Simultaneously you should also be going all-in on growing your business too. I know that may sound contradictory but investing in revenue/income generating activities is and always will be a wise move. A lot of people will be out of the game when the day comes and being able to perform a land grab because your business is dialed in can be a life changing opportunity.

Start thinking strategically about the next 1-3 years and what they could mean for you and your business. Instead of hiring several full-time employees consider leveraging a consulting firm so you have more flexibility. Make the commitment to increase your emphasis on sales and marketing even more. It’s tax season right now, so it’s a great time to really look at your numbers and analyze your financial data to identify weak spots or areas for improvement.

Hey, perhaps myself and others will end up being wrong about the timing of it. Maybe the next recession doesn’t come for another 3 to 5 years instead. Either way, would your business not be better off be taking those steps sooner rather than later?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject! If you agree with me I’d be interested to hear what steps you’re currently taking. And if you think I’m crazy, I’d still like to hear why you think we have nothing but blue skies ahead.

WIMS Client Spotlight: GNEISS (Global Network Encryption Investment Security Service) Ethereum Blockchain

GNEISS App Takes Development to Next Level; Launches Alpha to Users
New, Charlotte-based player in blockchain brings new value to crypto-tokens, smart contracts & economy.

Global Network Encryption Investment Security Service (GNEISS) officially launched the Alpha version of their much-anticipated App to the public.

GNEISS is the newest player in the blockchain platform space, crafting and adding unprecedented value and security for users. With its exchange platform, GNEISS users can create, transact, and destroy any crypto-asset or smart contract in a personal “E-Vault” utilizing the Ethereum blockchain. The GNEISS app is built to replace traditional dependency upon third-party market vendors (such as banks) for transactions and to provide a unique capacity for users to easily create crypto-assets of their choosing to trade in a digital marketplace via smart contracts.

Each GNEISS user who registers for the app via the website will have secure access to a private E-Vault. Although this is required by law to uphold any smart contracts made, the GNEISS app development team has gone to great measures to provide an added security measure.

Starting today, users will have the ability to create, send, and trade their own crypto-asset with the built in smart contracts of Privacy, Mint/Burn, Transaction and Interest Tax. Users will be able to trade a number of fiat currencies including: the U.S. Dollar (USDT), the Euro (EURT), Chinese Yuan (CNYT), Great Britain Pound (GBPT), Canadian Dollar (CADT), and the Australian Dollar (AUDT).

“This launch gives people the ability to create their own crypto-tokens and smart contracts,” Founder Michael Morton stated. “We have had six fiat currency pairs tethered for weeks which means users can start trading the world’s most-traded forex pairs on the GNEISS platform.”

This Alpha version is just the beginning.  Secured, smart contracts, including (but not limited to) derivatives, insurance and loans are in the process of completion as are DAOs. As well, a decentralized mobile app is set for completion by the end of 2017. It is reported that a Beta version will be available by the end of Q3 2017. The full launch of the platform will happen in early 2018.  All appropriate paperwork has been filed to list GNEISS on Poloniex; the company anticipates listing on that exchange in the next several weeks.

Morton is adamant that GNEISS has the power to transform investing in what he calls a ‘trustless economy’. “GNEISS will revolutionize financial transactions between people as much as the internet changed the transmission of data,” he says. “It will bring into existence an open, free, and accessible market powered by blockchain technology which will put the power of Wall Street into people’s hands – where it should be.”

ABOUT GNEISS
Unlock the power of the blockchain, and take control of your financial freedom. GNEISS is the first peer-to-peer blockchain platform that allows the creation of any financial contract middleman-free by leveraging the power of blockchain technology. GNEISS can do everything financial marketplaces can do – only better, cheaper, faster, peer-to-peer, and more efficiently. Welcome to the GNEISS Revolution. For more information, please visit GNEISS.io.

Hathrup Logo

Hathrup.com Entering Beta Testing Phase

Hathrup.com is launching the beta testing phase of it’s website and platform that primarily focuses on making access to capital for entrepreneurs more convenient and significantly easier.

April 9, 2015 (USA) – Hathrup Capital Funding, LLC (HCF), a website platform that offers entrepreneurs, start-ups, inventors, and investors an opportunity to connect and help each other, has announced the launch of the beta testing phase for it’s socially interact website and “FundMeNow” program.

“As entrepreneurs and investors ourselves, too many times we have seen and experienced numerous ideas fizzling out because of the lack of capital. As a team, we have struggled to raise seed capital in ventures we have done in the past and met with too many people that gave us a reason why we could not create and achieve our dream,” states Henry Norom, Co-Founder and CEO of Hathrup.

This recurring problem spawned the idea of using the peer-to-peer business model, made popular by companies such as Uber and AirBNB, to bridge the vast gap that exists for entrepreneurs seeking funding to achieve the American dream. The idea evolved over time, leading to the social media like platform, which is now something of a cross between Facebook, LinkedIn, and Kickstarter, but for primarily geared towards connecting entrepreneurs, investors, and the many ancillary people that help support them.

Further, most of the existing solutions out there focus primarily on start-up tech companies that offer innovative products and services, yet the vast majority of entrepreneurs with service business (80% or so of small businesses) are left out. They may not have a sexy idea that will change the world, but they have solid businesses that need access to start-up capital as well. Whether someone wants to open a hair salon, photography business, or even an independent legal or accounting firm, Hathrup will help facilitate. These businesses may not get the attention of some of the larger VC funds, but they deserve the opportunity to achieve the American dream as well.

As Hathrup’s mission states, it wanted to bridge elements of what makes all these ideas and companies successful, while stripping away the downsides in order to create a more complete product specifically tailored to improve the lives of users, not exploit them.

An excerpt from their mission reads:

“Hathrup is a free, capital-funding facilitating technology company. We are a non-bank/untraditional finance company. We are a social media/social networking company specifically for entrepreneurs and their family and friends. We are a crowd-funding company, without the strangling limitations of high minimums and the must-reach-your-arbitrary-goal-to-actually-get-funded restrictions. We are a peer-to-peer company that allows you to receive a direct financial contribution to your company via our FundMeNow program, which is facilitated by PayPal, giving you access to the capital you desperately need as it comes in and when you need it, i.e. ASAP. We are a capitalism facilitator. Hathrup takes the technological advancements of today, mixes them with the philosophy and ideals of the American Dream of yesterday, in order to bring you a better way to make your dreams become a reality tomorrow.”

Initially, Hathrup.com is narrowing its focus to entrepreneurs who need between $500-$25,000, for either building a prototype, purchasing inventory, or are looking to launch or expand their business.

As they now begin to enter their beta testing phase, they are seeking other like-minded thought leaders to take their site for a spin and to offer feedback. Those who are interested in participating, you can email contact@hathrup.com to get access.

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Hathrup.com was founded in 2013 and is a LLC registered in Delaware. For more information, please visit the website at www.hathrup.com. You can keep track of their progress in real-time by following along on Twitter @Hathrup, and/or at www.facebook.com/hathrup.

Media Contact:

Mike Simmons, CMO

Hathrup Capital Funding, LLC (HCF)

PH: 305.562.9639

mikesimmons@hathrup.com

Hathrup Logo

The Hathrup Manifesto

What is www.Hathrup.com?

Hathrup Capital Funding, aka Hathrup, is a free, capital funding facilitating technology company. Hathrup is a non-bank/untraditional finance company. Hathrup is a social media/social networking company specifically for entrepreneurs and their family and friends. Hathrup is a crowd-funding company, without the strangling limitations of high minimums and the must-reach-your-arbitrary-goal-to-actually-get-funded restrictions.

Hathrup is a peer-to-peer company that allows you to receive a direct financial contribution to your company via our FundMeNow program, which is facilitated by PayPal, giving you access to the capital you desperately need as it comes in and when you need it, i.e. ASAP. Hathrup is a capitalism facilitator. Hathrup takes the technological advancements of today, mixes them with the philosophy and ideals of the American Dream of yesterday, in order to bring you a better way to make your dreams become a reality tomorrow.

We believe in the power of the human mind, and we belief that anything is possible when one is determined. We want to help remove the barriers created by the world around you, to clear the way and let you run with your innovative and potentially world changing ideas. Hathrup represents a newer and better way of doing things, one that puts PEOPLE first. We look forward to working for you, and to watching all of you change the world for the better.

As we now begin to enter our beta testing phase, we are seeking other like-minded thought leaders to take our site for a spin and to offer us feedback so that we can go live with the best service possible. If you are interested in participating, please send us an email at contact@hathrup.com. We understand that perfection is impossible to attain but we will continue striving for that unreachable ideal daily as we relentlessly work to enhance the value we provide for our users.

You can keep track of our progress by following along on Twitter @Hathrup, and/or at www.facebook.com/hathrup.

Hathrup Logo

The New Entrepreneurial Landscape: Not Just an Ol’ (White) Boys Club Anymore

American’s born abroad are now responsible for launching more than a quarter of new businesses in the US. This is a substantial trend as that percentage continues to grow each year and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Hathrup Capital Funding, the company I’m thrilled to be the CMO of, is extremely proud to be one of these businesses as our CEO, Henry Nnorom, was born in Nigeria, and continues to pursue his American dream. At Hathrup, It is our mission to help entrepreneurs of all backgrounds succeed regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, or any other demographic.

Henry Nnorom

Henry Nnorom, CEO of Hathrup, realizing it’s time to get back to work!

It’s no secret that the American economy as a whole is vastly different than it’s ever been. While there haven’t been too many changes to the top of the food chain other than the emergence of the tech titans, the landscape in the middle class is evolving at a rapid pace. The reemergence of growth in this country can largely be attributed to the groundswell of start-up businesses.

Entrepreneurs are inspiring and creating a revitalized level of innovation enabled by the rapid progress of technology. Because of this the world has become very small, and much easier to make an impact. One of most important components of this increase in new businesses is that it is largely attributed to women, immigrants, and minorities, creating one of the most unique opportunities for commerce in the history of the world. This is better than the Silk Road, the rail road, and just about every other commercial quantum leap combined. It is the opportunity for literally everyone to become a member of your target market and the potential to spread commerce to a global scale without having to leave your couch.

Collaborating across multiple cultures and backgrounds and biases inspires innovation and growth. Differing ideas that complement and challenge each other lead to better ideas. The fact that people from other countries are coming here to start a business is a huge win for the US. This not only expands our tax base, improve our markets by increasing competition, but it also opens up a gateway to the rest of the world. This enables any small mom and pop shop to have the potential to create a global impact. Collaborating and working with businesses from a variety of backgrounds opens up your opportunity as well. In the event they maintain connections in their home country, new markets emerge and become a realistic opportunity.

At Hathrup, it is our goal to facilitate funding of businesses locally in the US initially; we especially want to service people of all backgrounds and ethnicities as we subsequently want to export capital around the world. When we help a business get started here, after they become successful, hopefully they will then want to pay it forward and fund businesses not only locally but from their home country as well. That is how we help create and facilitate a more global economy and enhance growth for all. This will enabling people to be able to make their dream become a reality and gain an entirely higher level of pride and self-worth.  We want to encourage everyone to take the chance and start the business of their dreams. Even if they maintain their day job while they build it, that’s ok with us.

Stay tuned as we gear up to launch our beta testing program in the next few weeks. If you’re an entrepreneur, planning to become one, or if you’re open to the possibility of becoming one of our investors please reach out and let us know. We’re opening up our testing program to those interested in getting a sneak peak at the platform in order to get user feedback and implement improvements before going live on a much larger scale.

Funding Gap

The Gaping Hole in Capital Funding

Along with countless other entrepreneurs out there it has been nearly impossible to acquire funding for my consulting firm, WIMS Consulting. It’s a constantly looping game of “chicken or the egg.” You can’t get a business loan or start-up funding without demonstrating two-three years worth of income. Simultaneously you can’t grow your business to a sustainable level without having an appropriate amount of capital. See the dilemma?

While I’ve been fortunate enough to walk this tight rope since I launched my business back in March, at some point the only way my business can truly grow is with additional external funding. Only that’s much easier said than done, as you can only operate on retainers and short-term projects for so long before the bills start piling up. But for professional service businesses like mine it’s difficult to show predictable and sustainable revenue in the beginning. It’s not only the case with consulting; it’s the same whether you want to start an accounting firm, a law practice, a hair salon, or photography studio among countless others.

Perhaps I’m just going about it all wrong? I certainly realize that’s a distinct possibility. To quickly digress, this isn’t meant to be a “woe is me” post, I may have to struggle now but don’t get me wrong, it’s been the most exhilarating and rewarding experience I’ve had in my professional life to date. But in case I’m not the only one stuck in this catch-22 let’s review the existing options out there along with their shortcomings.

The first one that comes to mind is going to an actual bank. Theoretically their sole purpose of existing is to give access to capital to those that need it, right? Ha! Unfortunately that is far from the case. They only loan money to those that already have it and don’t need it. Even when they do consider shelling out a measly slice of the multi-billion dollar pie they’re hoarding they make you jump through insurmountable hoops while holding you hostage throughout the entire process.

After banks the idea of peer-to-peer lenders came to mind. Companies like the Lending Club would be more understanding that I can’t provide two years of my business’ tax returns because I just started it, right? Wrong. It doesn’t matter how much money you made at your previous position, starting your own business deems those years of income moot.

Unless you have a world-changing technological innovation or company that can prove solid cash flow over multiple years, venture capital and private equity aren’t really an option. Not too mention the equity hit you’ll have to take for them to give you the time of day typically isn’t worth it either. Moving on.

I finally found the ideal solution, or so I thought. Crowdfunding is all the rage these days and the success stories receive a ton of media attention. While it has been a step in the right direction, and has done wonders for things like financing movies of old TV shows and launching innovative new products like the Coolest Cooler, it doesn’t help much when you’re starting another “boring” service business. I tried getting in on the action by setting up a GoFundMe account; sadly it still remains bare after several months. There remain challenges with this approach, but at least upcoming (still pending) changes allowing the incorporation of equity provides hope.

What’s left is the dreaded and awkward “friends and family” option, another far from perfect one however. This is especially true in my case as I personally come from a very poor family. While I’m generally very proud of that fact, it’s an unfortunate one when you’re trying to raise capital for your business. Yet, even when you get past the awkward ask and get to pitch to wealthy friend, it’s quite challenging to assure them that you will be able to generate enough revenue to be able to pay them back as these can be quite unpredictable businesses. You can’t blame them for being concerned, like any reasonable person they just want that elusive guarantee that their investment will be returned to them.

Despite this ongoing challenge, starting my own business from scratch has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, and one I’d remake over and over again. And on a sort of related note, the best businesses always solve a huge problem that a large number of people face. Therefore there is a huge opportunity here.

When I became the CMO of the start-up (and soon to go live) Hathrup Capital Funding it’s clear that this is a problem that I personally can become part of the solution for, while helping potentially millions of people in the future so they don’t have to go through the same experience I have. I’m very much looking forward to the challenge.

Bootstrappin'

Bootstrappin’: How to Launch Your Business on a Barebones Budget

Starting a business today is far easier than anytime in history. The caveat is that it depends on what type of business however, thus I’m primarily referring to professional service businesses (i.e. consulting, accounting, real estate, photography, legal, etc.). The type that don’t have the overbearing regulations attached to them or endless red tape to acquire permits and licenses, on the contrary those probably have more hurdles than ever (particularly in the US). But if you’re like me, and want to start a consulting or other service business, you can do it quicker and cheaper than ever, not to mention minimize overhead so you can compete with larger competition.

Before I begin, I want to emphasize that every single business is different and has various requirements, so while I’m speaking from a more general manner, please make sure to do the appropriate research regarding your specific industry and niche to make sure everything is legitimate.

Establishing Your Entity: My attorney friends may not be too happy to read this, but you don’t necessarily need one to establish your business. You don’t always need an automated service like Legal Zoom either. If you’re certain of the structure you want to use and don’t plan on having partners (which require more complex operating agreements, etc.) than in most instances you can go directly to the source and bypass additional fees (they can range anywhere from $150 to $1,000+). In my case, WIMS, Inc. was established in Coral Gables, FL so I used Sunbiz and set it all up for around $75. I will say that in most instances seeking counsel from an attorney is invaluable and worth the cost, however.

Website: Nowadays you can create your own website for free, using sites like Wix and 1and1. They have many elaborate templates to choose from so that you don’t have to start from scratch or learn to write code. You can simply swap out generic text for your own as well as graphics to completely customize it. It even ads easy to incorporate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) functionality. The catch of using these for free is that you can’t use your own domain name (they include theirs in the free versions) and there may be some ads. However, it’s quite affordable to create your own domain name (costs typically around $15 a month) if you’d prefer to go that route.

Email: By now it’s no great revelation that you can get great email service for free using Gmail. In most cases businesses can even get away with solely using a Gmail account (not to mention you get the added benefit of the also free Google Docs). However if you want to step up the professionalism a notch and create an email account using your domain name it’s relatively affordable to do so. For example, when I registered my domain name with GoDaddy, it also allowed me to leverage a custom email account via Office365 for about $10 a month. I find both to be well worth the cost.

Blog: Another one that is far from a novel idea, but you can start a blog for free using sites like WordPress (my personal preference) or Blogger. This is a great marketing tool that when coupled with social media can be very powerful, and all it costs is time. Providing thought leadership type content to your network demonstrates your expertise and adds value to the services you provide. Of course, there are upgrades to the service as well that are both affordable and worth it as your blog’s following begins to grow.

Marketing: I’m going to keep this section short and sweet as most of you know the usual suspects that can help market your business for free (yes, I’m referring to social media). My personal favorites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. If what you’re selling is more visual (photography, hairstyling, tattoo artist) consider Pinterest too. There are plenty others as well.

CRM: CRM programs used to be thought of as these overly expensive and overly complicated Big Brother like programs that only the big boys could afford. Not anymore. Now you can get access to simpler CRM programs for free. My favorite is Insightly, it has a web based version coupled with a free app. Can’t beat it for the price!

Financing: If you need to raise money and aren’t able to get financing from a bank (you can’t show “2 years worth of income” when you just started, HELLO silly bankers!) consider crowd funding. Kickstarter is a good one, as is GoFundMe, which leverages your social media accounts to spread awareness. They’re “free” to start but make money by taxing 5% per donation or so (but hey 95% of something is better than 100% of nothing)! Although I’ll admit, I’ve recently set one up without much success yet.

Freelance Income: As you’re getting started you may need to build up some short term income with smaller projects as you build your network. Consider sites like Elance (I use it and love it so far) or others like Fiverr and Freelancer. There are million of projects searchable by expertise that you can do online or in person depending on location. Typically you get paid using PayPal (you do have PayPal right?), which is great, if you don’t have a fancy credit card machine. Although one solution I’m evaluating now is Square as I’ve heard good things.

Loose Ends: Just wanted to touch on some other things to consider in this paragraph. For one, you can get free digital storage space at either (or all if you’re a true hustler) Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box. For business cards, (which some people don’t even use anymore, although I advocate for them still) check out either Vista Print or Moo. Lastly, office space, this can be one of the hugest overhead expenses around. Do you really need to pay a ton of money each month in rent? I advocate a mix of home office, Starbucks, or local library (free internet!). But if you need tangible office space you can look at some of the shared office spaces from places such as Regus, or if you’re in Miami, Pipeline Brickell.

So there you have it, just some of the ways to start your business on the cheap. There are plenty others of course but I wanted to hit on some of the main ones to help get your started (if you have others please share in the comments!) Keeping low overhead is one of the ways to remain competitive with larger competition, so be relentless about every dollar you spend and you’re business will stick around long enough to start being profitable. Good luck!

Fantasy Football

Why My Fantasy Football Obsession Makes me a Better Business Man

Despite the current negative climate surrounding the NFL I’m still an avid fantasy football enthusiast. That being said, the focus of this post isn’t related to that unfortunate side of game, rather it’s designed to discuss some of the parallels between playing fantasy football and the business world, and how skills acquired and enhanced via the former can help improve those in the latter, and vice versa. These are just a few of my observations, so if you have others, or even want to elaborate on some of mine, please feel free to leave a comment. Here goes.

Knowledge and Information = Currency

Knowing things before the rest of your league can be very lucrative, assuming that information leads to action. The rate at which information is distributed nowadays has reached breakneck speeds and the definition of instant is constantly being redefined. Access to these information distribution tools is pretty widespread, I remember the days when Rotoworld was my secret weapon, then NBC Sports acquired it and now its common knowledge. The key differentiator in a world of instant information however, is having the courage to act on it. Most people see the world the way they want to see it so when they hear things their initial reaction is disbelief, which creates hesitation. If you hesitate that lotto ticket sitting on the waiver wire gets scooped up and leads someone else to fantasy glory.

Perception is Reality

In the crazy “Twitter-Mob-Rule” world of today facts are often secondary to perception and propaganda with regard to the establishment of market value. Perception tends to be molded by which information source you use, the writers you read, talking heads you watch, etc. When you have a level of familiarity it leads to trust which leads to bias, which is ultimately the basis of perception. For example, if you use ESPN rankings rather than Yahoo’s you’ll notice they both are mostly different despite being made up of the same players. Therefore if you do a draft in Yahoo you can find value from guys who are ranked much lower compared to ESPN where they may be priced more accurately, and vice versa. As such, whether you get your stock news from Yahoo Finance, CNBC, or Fortune, you can read many different opinions about the same stock which could lead to different actions, one says buy, the other sell, your preference for information will directly impact the subsequent transaction. Before many drafts the buzz surrounding guys like Toby Gerhart reached deafening heights, causing many to reach, the current reality however is most likely nauseating for his owners (I wouldn’t know though as I wasn’t buying what they were selling).

The Rich Usually Get Richer

Having a wealth and depth of assets gives you leverage. In fantasy football it allows to you to offer two-for-ones and three-for-twos trades, the things that lead to upgrading your weaker positions. It also gives you the ability to have a higher tolerance for risk, the kind that can lead to a higher reward. Having the knowledge and foresight to identify “sleepers” and get them at a discount is crucial for success. Whether you play them yourself in lieu of your “busts” or trade them for more proven stars having the knack for picking winners is valuable. This often requires an objective mindset, leaving emotion and the persuasive rants of the so-called experts out of it. Be more like Buffet than Cramer when it comes to finding value and you’ll end up rich.

Sometimes Past Performance is Trumped by Upside and Potential

This lesson is more something to be aware of than a fact of life. Everyone is different and the human element and opportunity play a huge role in dictating future performance. I will say this though, people often have a burning desire to be the one that “discovers” the next big thing. Therefore they will reach for someone with high upside rather than take a boring old veteran with a well-established and predictable floor. The results of which are always mixed. Guys that took Monte Ball over Demarco Murray are probably second guessing themselves right now; then again that feeling could change tomorrow. I feel that you need a mix of both to truly do well, coupling a high upside with a high floor as well. 

Starting Well Doesn’t Mean Ending Well and Vice Versa

Nearly a decade ago Netscape Navigator came roaring out like gangbusters, while Google was a little late to the search engine game (remember Ask Jeeves?!). In hindsight we now see how both of these stories turned out. The market and fantasy landscapes change literally every second of every day as they are impacted by a variety of external forces. Sometimes they’re changed by politics, more or less demand, or emerging competition. Sometimes they’re changed by injuries or suspensions. Just because you’re in 1st place today doesn’t mean your whole team won’t get injured tomorrow, it’s the NFL and crazier things have happened. In addition, being in last place after 2 weeks of the season doesn’t mean you’ll stay there (I’ve experienced both phenomena many times)! The key is to never rest on your laurels whether you’re failing or succeeding. Always be open and aware of potential changes and opportunities coming down the pike and be prepared to act accordingly.

Aside from the time consuming distraction of keeping track of my teams, players, injuries, etc. required for playing fantasy football it can actually be quite a learning experience. The correlation between fantasy football approaches and techniques with that of the business world are many and lessons that applies to each in order to be successful. It even goes further than business as it’s undoubtedly made me a better write too, you should see how clever yet vicious some of the trash talking/verbal lashings get. Perhaps I’m simply trying to justify my obsession, or perhaps I’m on to something here. Regardless I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!