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April 10, 2007

Raising Angel Money

Def:  Angel - a person who invests money in start-up companies.  They may or may not help the entrepreneur ultimately succeed.  They are often seen as a stepping stone to raising money from venture capitalists.

I get a lot of questions from entrepreneurs asking me about whether they should raise angel money and how to do it.  While I've done it, I only did it once and I can hardly take credit for how well it went.  One of my angels was Bill Payne (still is in fact) and he has done the entrepreneur community a great service by writing an eBook about raising angel money.  He gave me a copy of the book and it is wonderful.  It's called "The Definitive Guide to Raising Money from Angel Investors" but it could have the subtitle of "Things you need to know, but don't even know to ask" or "What no one will tell you about the realities of raising money for your start-up."

I would recommend the eBook even if you don't think you are going to raise money and that you buy this book because there is a lot in it that applies to any start up regardless of whether you raise money or bootstrap.

Bill was on my board of directors for many years and he invested in my company, so I shouldn't have been surprised by how honestly he speaks in this book.  He once told me when we were looking for capital, "I know where you can get a million dollars with very little effort and no cost."  I fell for it - "Where?"  "Do a better job of collecting your accounts receivable!"

I can't think of a question about raising money that I've heard that isn't answered in Bill's eBook.  Bill has been a very, very successful entrepreneur and angel investor.  You can buy his book for $37 at www.billpayne.com and save yourself a lot of time and energy trying to learn the lessons the hard way.  From now on when I get a question about raising angel money, I'm going to ask, "Have you read Bill Payne's eBook?"

Disclaimer:  Bill was on my board, he's still a stock holder in my company and he's a very good friend.  That said, I wouldn't recommend his book if I didn't think it was worth many times the price.  I do not get a commission or anything else other than the satisfaction of knowing that maybe a few entrepreneurs won't have to learn this stuff the hard way.  Don't take my word for it though - Brad Feld has also recommended it.

April 10, 2007 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2007

Guitar Hero II - Banjo Hero

(I should have posted this on the 1st - sorry, I've just been too busy.)

About ten years ago, Brad Feld gave me a copy of The Axe, a great piece of software created by a start-up he invested in called Harmonix.  The idea was that non-musicians could use the software to create music.


You played by pressing buttons on the keyboard and the software was smart enough not to play any "wrong" notes.  You can read more about the company here, but to make a long story short they went on to create Guitar Hero, a big hit, and the company was acquired by MTV.  Big success.  I had heard of Guitar Hero and how crazy people were for it, but I never played it until this week when it was released on the Xbox 360.  (Thanks to Amazon.com for the Guitar Hero II photo)


Guitar Hero is great, and while it's not like playing a real guitar, it's fun even for people who generally don't like video games.  The Person Who Prefers Not To Be Blogged About has even gotten hooked on it.  I went through the Rock N Roll phase years ago, but I'm anxiously awaiting the next release - Banjo Hero!

Here's a prototype of the controller.  I expect many of my Bluegrass favorites to be available and that it will be bigger than Guitar Hero. (Click on the photo to see more detail.)


To the person who also got Guitar Hero II this week - try calling 1 800 4MY XBOX.  It's a great speech recognition application and it has some tips about your scratched disk.  Max (the automated persona) doesn't say anything about not hitting your Xbox with the guitar, but he does say not to move the Xbox while it is turned on.  Knocking your Xbox onto the floor with the guitar also just might have something to do with the green button sticking now, but that's just a guess.

(Note: Banjo Hero will initially only be available in my home state of Kentucky.)


April 6, 2007 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 05, 2007

Update and FJ Cruiser Car Computer Photos

I've been really busy lately.  If you are in the communications industry, you know that business is very good and that a lot is happening right now.  I'd love to have the time to comment on it all, but I just can't right at the moment.

I'm also getting a lot of emails asking what is going on with the FJ Car Computer project.  Besides not having much time, or a heated garage, I've been debugging a GPS problem.  The guys at mp3car.com just sent me a new gps receiver and I think that may have fixed the problem, so hopefully in the next few weeks I can move onto the next phase, which will include Vista, more speech recognition and more communications options. 

Without even trying I've got the top link for the search on fj cruiser car computer and I've made some new friends of people who are wanting to put a computer in their own FJ.  I'm still not ready to write a review of the Infill T3 computer, but I have dumped a bunch of photos in a directory if you want to see what the install looks like.  Sorry, I just don't have time to make this into a nice slide show right now.

I've also dumped my Treo and I'm trying the Motorola Q again.  So far I like that it doesn't hang or get slow like the Treo did.  Is there anything else out there that I should be looking at?  Yes, I'll try the iPhone when it comes out just to say I did, but I need more than 40 minutes of battery life.  (I don't believe the story either, so don't flame me please.)  I'm also not interested in a Blackberry.

I'm still loving my Zune, and the Zune Pass.  There are signs that both Zune and iTunes could one day be DRM-free, which seems to me to make a lot of sense.  (DRM - digital rights management - the stuff that frustrates honest people and does very little to stop real thieves.)  Remember the story about the guy in WWII who lived because he had a bible in his shirt pocket that stopped the snipper's bullet?  I will say that this guy will probably never trade his iPod for a Zune or any other mp3 player.

After figuring out why I was getting so many emails about the FJ Car Computer Project, I was curious about what other searches bring up my blog and I just discovered that I also have the top link for speech recognition entrepreneur.  Just so you don't think I'm taking this too seriously, I also have the top link for entrepreneur knitting needles tsa.  I'm going home now!

April 5, 2007 in Car Computer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack