Archive for May 6th, 2011

May 6, 2011

Raising capital not for amateurs says Dick Brown

[Dick Brown, Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Contributor]

Contributing Editor, Edward Lestrade, introduces Dick Brown: If you are an entrepreneur looking to raise money for your project, listening to what Dick Brown has to say about raising capital is a must if you want to get anywhere.

With a solid track record of success in sales and marketing management for entrepreneurial ventures in high-tech industries, Dick has a wealth of experience that is hard to beat, particularly as he has been successful in raising millions of dollars for project owners in his career.

Dick is currently the President of American World, Inc., a foremost US entrepreneurial ‘think tank’ and consultancy which he founded back in 1990. His past appointments has seen him as: Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, ScanCenters of America – 1994 to 1996; Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, Trident Systems – 1988/89; Director, North American Sales & Marketing, Genoa Systems – 1987/88; President, Minuteman Information Systems – 1985/87; President, DB Ventures; President, the Computer Store;  Marketing Manager, Digital Equipment; Executive VP, Control Logic;  Director of Dealer Sales, Data General – 1983/85.

Few entrepreneurs understand or appreciate that raising money is very hard. Basically it’s a tough, frustrating, complicated marketing and sales task. The neophytes ignore that their venture is fighting with those of dozens (if not hundreds) of other entrepreneurs – all seeking the same available capital and usually from the same sources. Rarely do they understand that they must stand apart from all their competitors.  Not one in ten bothers to learn anything about “adventure capital”; the multiple sources thereof; nor how this array of international funding sources actually functions. They blindly accept the word of a few compatriots that Venture Capital companies are the correct choice and that these firms are chomping at the bit just to find “new blood” and turn them into the latest Bill Gates or Steve Jobs … just as they’ve often read in Time, the WSJ or the San Jose Mercury. It seems for them, fortune and fame are “just a moment away”.

The most common (and fatal) blunder the money seekers make is believing it’s going to be easy and they can get instant funding of million for their business … and, without spending any of their own money.

Reality however, shows that the search for funding consumes six to twelve months and is a full-time job. Whether you are a new entrepreneur or the seasoned CEO of an existing company, a total commitment is required along with enough money for you to last out for all that time. Expenses also must be paid. Whilst expenses relating to the actual money-capturing will vary, what is certain and continuous will be travel, legal and accounting expenses. If they’re wise, entrepreneurs will seek out knowledgeable consultants that are “connected” to the money moguls and understand the language and rules of the game. None of these are cheap and contrary to the “common knowledge” of the entrepreneur’s friends and relatives, none will work for stock and other ‘cuts’ of the action that is still yet to be realized. Cash is king in practically all cases. I’ve always been astounded by entrepreneurs that are trying to raise funds who don’t even consider reality and profess to have no funds of their own to spend – just good resumes and ideas.

Perhaps my classic case is an entrepreneur that contacted me wanting to raise $50,000,000 to build a particular type of hotel and resort. I had no interest in his venture but it was very clear that he needed a great deal of help. I suggested he read a book I’d written about raising money to broaden his knowledge. It sold for $9.95. He said he couldn’t afford it!! Most entrepreneurs also don’t realize that VC’s effectively belong to a “club” whose members are other VC’s and have a supporting array of people that provide them services. If you’re an entrepreneur seeking funding and an “outsider”, achieving a membership of this club (and subsequently funding) is nearly impossible. However to conquer this daunting task, the careful and proper recruitment of an existing club member, a few expensive lunches followed by selective introductions can far more easily achieve this goal.

More marketing considerations – entrepreneurs usually neglect any consideration that once they release their ES or BP they’ll live or die according to how well these represent their business or venture and, most important, differentiate it from all the garbage that professionals receive every day. My experience is that the average ES or BP is full of mistakes. I still marvel that the most common one is that the entrepreneur soliciting funding neglects to tell the prospective investor is how much money the investor might make. The average BP is replete with obscure techno-talk and arcane references, but never addresses the sole motive of any investor … making money.

Consistently I urge entrepreneurs to have their finished ES and Business Plan reviewed by an experienced, successful entrepreneur – or better still, a VC or Merchant Banker – folks that are daily involved in the “money business” and funding real deals. You’d be amazed how different one of these “players” will gauge the emphasis of what you’ve written.

Further, your ES and BP must be clear, readable, documents that succinctly describe your venture. They should have color, pictures, graphs, illustrations and coherent financial projections. With the most casual glance, these convey that you’re a top-drawer professional and that the recipient is missing a major opportunity if they remain unread – most important, they tell your potential investor how much money they can make and shows how you’ll achieve that ROI for them.

Given the above, as an entrepreneur raising funds now, all you have to do first of all, is to warn your immediate family that they will be seeing less of you for a while. Then get wide distribution of your story to as many qualified investors as possible.  Furthermore, you will need to recruit members of your management team to help you and hone up every sales skill you’ve ever learned. Do practice your presentation so that you can say it (convincingly) even in your sleep and develop the skin of an alligator against rejection. Remember to say: “If you’re not interested do you know someone that would be?”. Look to see who benefits for every pitch you get and keep a sense of humor and balance. And finally, ‘win’ –  there are not many things that are  better than victory.

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Dick’s consulting company is American World (AW) and he can be contacted by email, or by phone: dick@amerwld.com;  843-237-9802.  American World provides consulting for experienced entrepreneurs and has introduced a package called ‘ “The Entrepreneurs’ Edge” which is a comprehensive guide for project owners trying to raise money for their projects. Another book by Dick we recommend is: ” How to Raise Money, Insider Edition” which is on sale at American World for less than $10. It is available as a downloadable file.

May 6, 2011

Obama in trouble with ‘deathers’ as controversy abounds over the death of Bin Laden

[Joan Tollings, Politics Contributor]

According to BBC News, it seems that since the announcement of the death of the Al’Quaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, Pakistani police has not had a lot to do as there have been few protests and demonstrations. However, all is not that well, as negative opinions about the assassination have widely been voiced within the country as well as outward threats have come from the most radical Muslim ranks.

Many Pakistanis believe the whole operation was just a cunning move in order to rubbish Pakistan’s image worldwide. “We don’t know whether Osama was there – we never saw their bodies or the bodies of the others killed in the attack,” said during the interview Shaista Bukhari, a Pakistani housewife, and by far she is not the only one thinking along these lines.  While ordinary Pakistanis are voicing disbelief in the authenticity of the story, some radical Muslims have expressed outward anger with the US.  Mohammad Younis, a young Taliban member who has fought in Ghazni, Helmand and Kandahar, says Bin Laden was ‘like my father. We will make all those responsible for his death pay – in Afghanistan and across the world’. In the meantime, the prime minister of Britain James Cameron has warned the country of the necessity to ‘stay more vigilant than ever‘.

The journalist, Paul Craig Roberts in ‘Osama Bin Laden’s Useful Death’  published in Rense.com yesterday, comments that the Obama administration’s publication of the death of Osama Bin Laden is a: “..propaganda piece reeking of US Triumphalism”. That is because, he says, the two alleged journalists, Adam Goldman and Chris Brummitt of the Associated Press had originally published a White House or CIA press release saying that: “Osama bin Laden, the terror mastermind killed by Navy SEALs in an intense firefight, was hunted down based on information first gleaned years ago (emphasis added) from detainees at secret CIA prison sites in Eastern Europe, officials disclosed on Monday.”  However, the ‘firefight’ part has now been debunked also the ‘detainees information’ part. He considers this to be suspect.

Mr. Roberts claims that this report was meant to justify CIA prisons and torture as the implications are that without secret prisons and torture “the terror mastermind” would still be running free, despite via widely accepted reports that he had died from renal failure in 2001.

He comments: “…. how many Americans will have the wits to wonder why the “terror mastermind” ­ who defeated not merely the CIA and the FBI, but all 16 US intelligence agencies along with Israel’s Mossad and the intelligence services of NATO, who defeated NORAD, the National Security Council, the Pentagon and Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US Air Force, and Air Traffic Control, who caused security procedures to fail four times in US airports in one hour on the same day, who caused the state-of-the-art Pentagon air defenses to fail, and who managed to fly three airliners into three buildings with pilots who did not know how to fly ­ has not pulled off any other attack in almost ten years? Do Americans really believe that a government’s security system that can so totally fail when confronted with a few Saudi Arabians with box cutters can renew itself to perfection overnight?”

Mr. Roberts’ view is that as the Guardian and European newspapers have now confirmed that the photo of the dead Bin Laden is a fake and as the alleged body has been buried at sea according to the word of the US government, which had lied to the American people about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, about Iranian nuclear bombs, the US administration simply cannot be believed on the matter.

He says that the logical interpretation of the faked bin Laden death was that Mr. Obama needed  good excuse to bring the Afghan war to an official end in order to address the problems with the huge US budget deficit and also his lagging popularity. It also justifies the utilisation of the US’s rendition and secret prisons/ Gitmo program as well as giving all Americans (which it certainly has) a feeling of ‘payback’ for the 911 attack.

My own view is that on the balance of evidence available, the ‘deathers’ have it. But even if they are right, Americans had deserved some rest from the bogeyman-like story of Bin Laden and in that regard, Mr. Obama, I think, was courageous to attempt to bring closure to this issue which had started before him and which had committed the USA to battles on foreign soil which has so far cost each American taxpayers thousands of dollars to fund and the loss of lives of American service personnel.

May 6, 2011

Russian schoolgirl beats her girl friend mercilessly and forces her to eat dog faeces while classmates take video

[Irina Kmoskova, Russia News Contributor]

RT.COM:  In the far-eastern Russian city of Yakutsk, over twenty schoolchildren met in the school yard to witness a fight between two girl classmates and whilst one mercilessly beat the other over a joke gone wrong, the schoolchildren videod the event without even trying to stop the beating. The beating was so horrific that the crime-incident hardened law enforcement officers viewing a video of the event had struggled to control tears.

The mother of the beaten girl says that she used to be friends with her the other girl who had beaten her, but the girls had had an disagreement a few months ago when teasingly, the beaten girl had poured water over the other’s head which appears to have motivated the attack.

The assaulted girl’s family are considering legal action against her assailant and the police have begun criminal procedures to bring justice to the matter.
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May 6, 2011

“Top O the mawning toya!” – oral surgery gives USA woman Irish accent

[Joss Kliener, Health and Medicine Contributor]

Huffpost Health: Karen Butler is Newport, Oregon‘s biggest Irish celebrity although she is 100% American.  The reason for that is after having oral surgery around a year ago, she went home with an Irish accent which has since been the talk of town and a cause of amusement and delight for herself, family and friends.

Doctors say that the cause of her Irish accent may be due to a very rare affliction called Foreign Accent Syndrome, which is set off by brain trauma, or a stroke. According to Dr. Ted Lowenkopf, of the Providence Stroke Center in Oregon: “It’s so rare — less than 100 cases ever reported — that the average neurologist, even a stroke neurologist, would not see a case in their lifetime.”

To listen to her new and old voices, click on the photo above.