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Are You A Startup and Want My Help? Here are 10 Things You Must Know.

Pirate Flag #CRE #TECH

The City Beautiful.

I spend a fair amount of time in the city of Chicago. I love it. There is something about the scale of the city, the architecture, the people and, of course, my #WhiteSox.

For the most part, my time is spent in and around meetings, lunches, dinners and …..adult beverages all in the name of tech and commercial real estate. On my last trip, I met up with the boys at CartoFront and for those of you that don’t know what they do click on the site and take a look. Hint: predictive mapping and not cheap predictive mapping. I think they may have reached out to me before they even had their concept down. So, me and the boys have had many a conversation ( not to mention countless emails and phone calls) about tech cars planes commercial real estate booze cars booze tech and a few other things. Yes, yes right now it’s a bit of a bro thing but they are nerdy mapping urban planners, so it’s what it is for now. You may have seen them out and about recently. They have some seed money are gaining traction and yes, have paying customers. I like the last part. They are my dudes what can I say.

But this got me thinking as I sat and sat and sat in Lakeshore drive traffic on the way home.

Am I helping them? Could I be wasting some of their time?

What could I do to make our time spent together more productive and valuable?

And how about everyone else I “advise or help.”

-Transparency and Trust.

I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but I have been asked countless times to sign NDA’s. What in the hell do you have that I need to hide and if you think I won’t or don’t you want the ability to sue my ass. Fuck your lawyers. Trust me or don’t even start and that then goes to transparency. If you are hiding something, that means you are doing something wrong and are one step closer to failure. I’m not the only one that can see that from a thousand miles away.

-Live in the Real World.

There is a deluge of information sitting right in front of all of or faces. Are you buying into it? You can find anything you want to justify any decision you make with just one click. Building a company is HARD. It takes time effort money, and you have to GRIND. That is the real world. Are you sure you live in it?

-I’m Advising You Are Executing.

Dropping names discussing strategies contemplating pricing deciding if it’s right to “game” a piece of software. We can talk about it all day. You and I mean You are the one that MUST execute. Execute and measure. Execute and drive growth. Execute and generate revenue.

-This is Today Not Yesterday.

Will I can I not fall back on “this is the way it was done?” That is not how we will succeed. Why do you even exist if it’s not to take down and bury what was Yesterday? It’s today and the thoughts that drive you forward. What are the ideas that make this happen?

– 80% is Easy the Other 20% is Hard as Hell.

80% percent of what I can do is Intros. I am here to open doors and help create LESS friction. But the other 20% of what I can do is the hard part. That 20% could be the difference between failure and success. If I can’t help you with the hard part, we both fail.

-I’m Not Your Biz Dev/Product Dev Team.

If I’m just an email or phone call away from your biz dev and or product dev team why in the hell may I ask are you paying them for? There are going to be funnels. Funnels they create fill and then need to push through. They may also do that between themselves. Watch it see it and fix it Yourself! It’s your job.

-Can We Fight and Still Play Nice?

Ok, I don’t really mean fighting maybe more like sparring in a good way. You can call it feedback if you want. I prefer to look at it as a filter. Take verbal sparring and then filter that out. Nothing but quality decisions will happen after that.

-Can I Be A Critic?

What is criticism? Can you take it? Do you prefer “feedback” to justify a decision you have already made? I need the ability to be critical to help. You want me to be honest and sometimes that honesty comes with criticism. Do you want actionable advice or strategic help? There is a big difference.

-I Know More About Your Competition Than You Do.

What does that mean to you? I see almost everything. I am told things that I will never pass on. I have created and nurtured relationships that can and will pay dividends far into the future for both you and me. Remember the 80%. You need to focus on the now. If you want intel go get it yourself.

– My Site is Public Behavior and an Open Forum For All. NOT a Legal Point of Contention.

My site is probably the reason we met in the first place. How else could we have connected? If we have some form of “business relationship” what do you think that means? I know what it’s not. Personal Censorship. I’m sure you don’t think of it that way but maybe more of your way of expressing your personal point of view. Opinions attitude awareness and transparency have a value far beyond your personal agenda.

Are You A Startup and Want My Help? Here are 10 Things You Must Know.

 

+1 Heads up to my CartoFront boys. How is it possible that you were surprised I did not even go to bed in New York? Some of us are professionals.

+1+1 The brown liquor sitting on the desk in your office was a nice touch.

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  • Again, I missed you in Chicago, Duke, but I am so very glad to hear Matt is kicking butt with CartoFront and moving it forward. That is absolutely awesome news! Cannot wait to see you Friday in LV Matt!! Love to have company out here in the west.

    • Matt Chapdelaine

      Thanks Linda! I am looking forward to catching up with you on Friday – much to talk about.

  • Matt Chapdelaine

    Great article Duke! Every time you stop into our office you really challenge us on what we are building – and we are a better company for it. Thank you for your help! (+1 to the driverless car so we can enjoy some more of that brown liquor next time)

  • Duke, i always love your candor and work ethic. Thanks for the shout out of the Carto crew. They are rocking and rolling. “Maps, get your maps here!”

  • All truth. Your willingness to spend time with us going through the startup process and be that mentor/critique/resource means a lot! Appreciate you always being willing to give back and spend the time with us!