Sep 28, 2020

Success in a tough economy requires balance, not brawn

The economic environment under COVID is volatile, which makes temperance and a measured approach tougher than ever—and all the more impressive to achieve. This year, I’m particularly interested in partnering with entrepreneurs who exemplify an ability to reconcile opposing forces and tensions, even when under pressure. Here’s my advice for how to achieve this sense of balance—and why investors are likely to find the skill more valuable than ever.

Authenticity Balanced with Preparedness

I look for partners both in business and in life who are the real deal. The pandemic has put a lot into perspective, making it harder to justify investing time and effort with people who seem to lack authentic intent. I am a judge on Shark Tank, and every season there is at least one entrepreneur more focused on saying what he or she thinks the sharks want to hear than on what is truthful. These entrepreneurs turn everyone off and rarely walk away with a deal. People are skilled at sniffing out a gimmick, so be real, honest, and sincere—even when you have bad news to share. On the other hand, don’t confuse being authentic with flying by the seat of your pants…

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COVID-19          Entrepreneurship          Investing

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Understanding the Tricky Balance When Launching Social Startups

At a time when our world is facing unprecedented challenges, from climate change to political polarization to a global pandemic, entrepreneurs and nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders cannot afford to operate in silos. Entrepreneurs possess resourcefulness, creativity, and initiative; heads of nonprofit organizations are equipped with depth of knowledge, purpose, and the patient determination that comes with that purpose. Together, these partners can turbocharge impact if they properly calibrate their respective contributions to create new social enterprises.

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Both Sides Are Minimizing Violence. Americans Must Fight for Our Nation

Shocking news emerged this week from the bipartisan committee investigating the January 6 attack: On that dark day, Fox News hosts and former-President Donald Trump’s son sent text messages begging for Trump to address the nation and stop the violent riot. Yet many Republicans continue to downplay the insurrection that dangerously undermined electoral integrity and the rule of law and threatened our democracy.

But minimizing violence isn’t only happening on the Republican side. From Philadelphia to Los Angeles, District Attorneys promoting an anti-police narrative and lax crime-fighting policies have contributed to an alarming rise in homicides and spiraling crime rates. Yet despite the skyrocketing crime in liberal bastions, many of us have family and friends living in these cities who refuse to accept that controversial policies to suspend prosecution for many crimes may have played a role in the violent wave.

There is no comparing an attempted insurrection with day to day crime; one is significantly worse, and a much bigger threat to our democracy. But both sides are suffering from a partisan blindness that has led to minimizing any violence that appears to implicate their leaders. And it presents a huge threat to our country.

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Breaking society’s bad habits Starts With Us

Decades ago, hatred began to build in online chat rooms, where people (protected by the anonymity of their computer screens) could post judgmental vitriol with little accountability. We thought these ugly conversations would stay contained to small virtual spaces; but when millions of people adopt the same bad habits, those behaviors add up to define who we are. Hatred begets hatred and nasty words based on nastier (and often false) sentiments, have since spread through social media – and bubbled over into the offline world, too.

Today, we seem quicker than ever to judge one another, and slower than ever to forgive. We often assume negative intent instead of positive, and point our fingers before we’ve taken the time to explore the nuances of a situation. More and more, we’ve replaced trust in one another with chronic skepticism and defensiveness. We have become accustomed to pitting “us” against “them,” and dividing the world – and its complex issues – into two incompatible halves.

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