Tag Archives: Venture capital

10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training from Admiral William H. McRaven

By Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.


University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address – Admiral William H. McRaven

Watch his speech above or directly on YouTube,

An inspiring and powerful 20-minute commencement speech by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, at the University-wide Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014.

Admiral McRaven’s commencement speech is perhaps one of the best commencement speeches I have ever heard. It is on point and offers some fantastic life and business lessons.

Below are excerpts from his amazing speech.

10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training

1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”

2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
“You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help— and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.”

3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
“SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.”

4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.
“Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie.”

“For failing the uniform inspection, the student [in Basic SEAL training] had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand. The effect was known as a ‘sugar cookie.’ You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day — cold, wet and sandy.”

“There were many a student who just couldn’t accept the fact that all their effort was in vain. . . Those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill. You were never going to succeed. You were never going to have a perfect uniform.”

5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.
“Every day during training you were challenged with multiple physical events — long runs, long swims, obstacle courses, hours of calisthenics — something designed to test your mettle. Every event had standards — times you had to meet. If you failed to meet those standards your name was posted on a list, and at the end of the day those on the list were invited to a ‘circus.’ A circus was two hours of additional calisthenics designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit.”

“Life is filled with circuses. You will fail. You will likely fail often. It will be painful. It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core.”

6. If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.
“There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.”

8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
“At the darkest moment of the mission is the time when you must be calm, composed—when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.”

9. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
“If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan, Malala—one person can change the world by giving people hope.”

10. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.
“In SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”


“Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up — if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.”

“It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward—changing ourselves and the world around us—will apply equally to all.”

“Changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it.”

Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.
Leadership Advisor & Talent Development Consultant


University of Texas at Austin – Adm. McRaven Urges Graduates to Find Courage to Change the World


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The Social-Media Bubble Is Quietly Deflating


Two years ago, when the craze for social-media startups was in full swing, a former Facebook (FB) engineer summed up the situation with a memorable lament: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” the engineer, Jeff Hammerbachertold Bloomberg Businessweek at the time. “That sucks,” he added.

It might be over.

Social-media companies drew only 2 percent of the venture capital headed to Internet-based enterprises last quarter, according to data published on Tuesday by CB Insights, a research firm that tracks venture-capital investment. In the two-year stretch that ended in the middle of 2012, social-media companies took in at least 6 percent of overall venture capital invested in Internet companies each quarter. But for three of the last four quarters, those social startups have brought in 2 percent or less (with the outlier quarter largely the result of a huge investment in Pinterest earlier this year). The peak came in the third quarter of 2011, when social companies led by Twitter took in 21 percent of the total $3.8 billion in Internet deals by venture capital firms.

Here’s how Bloomberg Businessweek‘s Ashlee Vanceexplained it at the height of the social-media money boom:

Once again, 11 years after the dot-com-era peak of the Nasdaq, Silicon Valley is reaching the saturation point with business plans that hinge on crossed fingers as much as anything else. “We are certainly in another bubble,” says Matthew Cowan, co-founder of the tech investment firm Bridgescale Partners. “And it’s being driven by social media and consumer-oriented applications.”

If Cowan was right, the air seems to have been released fairly gently—at least in comparison to the Internet bubble of the late 1990s, which shook the U.S. economy. Sure, Zynga (ZNGA) crashed and Groupon (GRPN)burned, but overall tech investment continues at a reliable pace. The total amount of venture investment in Internet companies last quarter was $3.625 billion, close to what it was in the third quarter of 2011—and much higher than it was before then.

New buzzwords have arrived: Big data and cloud companies are grabbing the imaginations of venture capitalists, says Anand Sanwal, founder of CB Insights. Boring companies that make tech products to sell to businesses seem to be in ascendance. But it’s just not the same.

“Social was so unique in that it had taken up a lot of mind-share,” Sanwal says. “Folks were singularly focused on social, and that was unlike anything we’ve seen to date. It was probably most analogous to e-commerce in the last dot-com boom.”

Brustein is a writer for in New York.

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What Does Deal Flow Mean to Private Equity Investors?

Private equity investors use the term deal flow to describe the prevailing rate of opportunities for investment.  Deal flow software can help investors both decide on whether to make investments and monitor existing investments.

What investors look for

Investors can use a deal flow software to monitor their existing investments as well as gain guidance on potential new investment opportunities.  Deal flow is measured simply as healthy or poor.  The rate of deal flow is determined purely by the level of good investment opportunities and returns,  Deal flow software helps private equity investors monitor this.

Deal flow software aids both individuals and groups with private equity investments generate good investment opportunities with the potential for a clear return.  Investors are looking for a healthy deal flow throughout their investments.  With a healthy deal flow investors will expect an equitable result from the initial investment against the amount ultimately earned.

Healthy deal flow

Private equity groups make investments with a clear strategy in mind.  Investors will often make separate investments to separate sectors in an organisation.  For example, directing their resources directly to consumers or liaising with suppliers can help private equity investors attain some security on their investment.

Deal flow has recently been very good due to the high level of entrepreneurs and private equity investment businesses against falling levels of venture capitalists.  Deal flow software helps potential private equity investors analyse and identify healthy trends quickly in order to make investments with a great chance of delivering high returns.

Where to find deal flow software

As the private equity market continues to grow, more and more examples of deal flow software are becoming available online.  Deal flow software is great for helping individuals and private equity investment firms make decisions on investment.  Deal flow software should not be used as a definitive decision making tool, but should be used to analyse potential gains from an investment and form a part of a private equity firms’ investment decision.

One of the most excellent and effective deal flow software tools is available completely free of charge from Dealmarket.  Their cloud based software, called MyOffice, enables private equity investors to organise and view all of their deal flow information in one accessible place.  The MyOffice deal flow software available from Dealmarket allows both individuals and private equity investors to search and compare investment opportunities and rate the best deals.  As MyOffice deal flow software is cloud based, there is no need to download any software as all of your investment information is stored securely online.  MyOffice utilises banking industry encryption standards to ensure 100% security at all times.

Dealmarket is a recent start-up company that offers a more efficient and accessible private equity marketplace and cutting-edge deal flow management tools.


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Easy as Pie: Time Management for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurial endeavors generally require a lot of time, attention, and detailed organization. The difference between success and burn-out many times boils down to the ability to manage time. Most entrepreneurs are willing to work hard building their business and ideas. However, avoiding the trap of one’s personal life and entrepreneurial venture merging into one can be the difference between succeeding in an entrepreneurial venture and disappointment, physical exhaustion, and business bankruptcy. Taking the time to learn these essential time management concepts will help increase the likelihood of success in both personal and business life.

Here, is the crucial time management concept that every entrepreneur needs to understand and use, every day!

It’s as easy as PIE: Planning, Intervention, and Evaluation. Making lists, developing a budget, and a business plan is a “must have,” but useless if not regularly evaluated and modified.

Planning can be defined as developing a business plan or list. The planning division of “PIE” is where most entrepreneurs excel. The planning stage tends be exciting with the sky being the limit.

Intervention is the point where most entrepreneurs say rhetorically, “where to next?” The intervention stage is where the plan has been hatched, a venture begun, and possibly money has been used to set-up a business front or web-site. Many hard-working entrepreneurs, if completely honest with themselves, might have thought of everything to get their concept started and the business up and running, but never developed a concrete long-term plan.

Evaluation is the most crucial stage, yet the most ill-defined. This is where an entrepreneur takes a hard look at where their ideas have succeeded or failed. This can be difficult because it can have an emotional tie-in. Emotion needs to be removed because business is just looking at what is functioning well and what needs to be changed or discontinued. Keep doing what works and stop doing what does not work!

The two most common aspects of a business venture that need to be “fed PIE” on a regular basis are the business plan and financial budget. Examples of, how to manage time effectively by utilizing PIE with the business plan and financial budget:

– Nearly every successful entrepreneurial venture starts (and continues) with the plan. A well written business plan can be a painless one page document or one-hundred pages of minute detail. Either way, once executed this plan needs to become a living and usable document.

A theoretical example of how to use PIE on a business plan is as follows:

Planning – The target sales audience for selling cookie bouquets is to business professionals, executives, and schools. Intervention – Advertising e-mails and pamphlets have been sent to area schools and businesses. Evaluation – 95% of cookie bouquet sales have come from school secretaries and 5% from corporate executives.

The business plan can be adjusted to tailor advertising resources (i.e. now 95% of advertising is directed to school secretaries to grow that business) or change the marketing message to corporate executives. Knowing how much has been spent and where to change the business plan for future efforts will save immense time and effort.

Utilizing “PIE” is an effective strategy to manage one’s time and efforts for the beginning and experienced entrepreneur.

Terry Ford is passionate about helping entrepreneurs succeed. She strives to make her writing clear and professional by using a Grammar Checker


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