March 2018
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The Long Drop From Nokia’s Burning Platform

Time will show how many people make it off Nokia’s platform – and how many of them get picked up.

Offshore oil rigs are dangerous places, not least because they combine being at sea together with highly combustible materials and heavy machinery. It’s the sort of work the people who write the warning labels on cold [...]

Throwing Good Money After Bad

When do you pull the plug? Part 2


Knowing when to walk away is important, and often I walk away long after it is wise to go. It took the abrupt realization that my startup had run out of money to realize that the time had come. We needed to put more money in to keep it [...]

When Do You Pull The Plug?

Knowing when to say when takes a little preparation

Someone asked me an excellent question the other day, “When do you know to give up?” It was a superb question and she touched on a key dilemma. We’re always taught to do our best, she said, and work until we achieve our goals, but sometimes success isn’t [...]

Walk The Talk

The unrehearsed contingency is not a contingency

Predicting the unexpected tends to be hard. It may seem obvious, but an absurd number of people think otherwise. Murphy has a thing or two to say on the subject and contingency planners often make a number of dangerous assumptions.

Don’t assume anyone has read the plan

Time is short and most [...]

If Your Startup Needs Money, Don’t Be Bashful About Asking for It

Focus matters. So does practice.

Startups are risky business. Most of them go bust, either with a bang or a whimper. They tend to require huge amounts of work, a skilled team – and money.

Finding the money is often the hardest part. Founders are usually excited about their idea, but finding the money necessary to fund the [...]

“The Prospect of Hanging Concentrates the Mind…” – Samuel Johnson

Avon Barksdale on Managing Risk, Part Two

Avon Barksdale, the drug kingpin from HBO’s “The Wire“, was a man of many precautions, because his life and his freedom depended on them. Managing his risks effectively kept him free and alive – and enabled him to build an empire that made him fabulously wealthy.

Do not ignore failure

Most of us can limit [...]

How They Do Things on the West Side of Baltimore

Avon Barksdale on Managing Risk, Part One

Jon Gnarr, the mayor of Rekjavik, Iceland, uses the HBO series The Wire as a political filter. If you haven’t seen all five seasons, he doesn’t want to work with you. Crazy as it sounds, he’s on to something.

The series has plenty to say about how cities are governed. Many [...]

Strange Notions

Sometimes our faith in an idea is wierd
My grandmother was a cultivated woman of many opinions, most of them strongly held, and some of them distinctly unusual. For many years she insisted on watching TV in the dark while wearing sunglasses. She kept her TV in the dining room for almost as many years and so she would sit at the [...]

“You’re Not Getting a New Bike”

Answers to questions you haven’t asked can speak volumes
I live in the middle of Copenhagen, where the best way to get from A to B is on a bike. A few years ago, I bought a new bicycle. A month later I was outside the shop asking the owner why the rear brake had gouged the frame.
“I don’t know”, [...]

Let’s say the Euro does crack up… what’s in it for me?

What would a potential or even worst case scenario look like for the PIIGS?

There is no shortage of people willing to speculate on whether or not the Euro will survive or the fates of various indebted member countries, but surprisingly little talk of what a break up or default would look like. Adjectives like “bad” and [...]