Silicon Valley’s best-known venture investors have emerged largely unscathed from the rapid descent of Theranos Inc., but the decline offers a cautionary tale for a community that bets big on visionary founders touting revolutionary technology. If you’re not familiar with Theranos Inc., then feel free to do a web search on this company. It was founded by Elizabeth Holmes, who at the time was praised as a visionary for what her company was going to do in the health service industry. Now she’s been banned from the blood testing business for two years. This company was valued at $9 billion during a 2014 funding round. “For me, the Theranos saga is a wonderful reminder: While you want to invest in people who are visionary and are committed to their businesses, you want to partner with people who are truth-seeking,” said health-care investor Bryan Roberts, a partner at Venrock. “A lot of people [involved with Theranos] fell down on that in this.” Often what a person or business does in private will in time come to the light of day. This Scripture is a reminder of this quote, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10 NIV. Before Theranos’s problems came to light last October, at least some Silicon Valley investors cheered her apparent success. Marc Andreessen, whose firm isn’t a backer of Theranos, tweeted that Ms. Holmes would be the first female tech founder on his list of “revolutionary entrepreneurs.” One of the big red flags about Theranos was its unusual roster of investors and board members. The actual board members at that time weren’t medical experts, and the company didn’t publish its results in peer reviewed medical journals. Theranos replaced many of its directors last October and created a new medical-advisory board.
The Theranos spokeswoman said, “Theranos has boards composed of individuals of extraordinary experience and talent in many fields. Their contributions have been significant.” The article then goes on to give a few more examples of Silicon Valley startups that have run into issues. The importance of building a big business is not in how quickly it can reach a billion-dollar valuation but for how long it can last, how much good it will actually do, and how strong its fundamentals are. If the foundation isn’t strong then the cracks will appear and the truth will come to light. Theranos is a case study which will more than likely end up in a business college textbook. Financial literacy, and common sense are two keys to investing for positive cash flow.
This commentary is from Mainak Dhar, managing director at General Mills. After twenty years, ten bosses, five moves, four kilos, and a journey that has spanned experiences across many different businesses and countries, I am back where it all began — Mumbai. Did I ever imagine I’d be working in the corporate sector for twenty years? To be honest, perhaps not, but back then a time horizon of a couple of years was long term thinking. As I think back to that twenty-two-year-old me sitting in the reception, waiting to collect my visitor ID badge, if I had the chance, what would I say to myself? Here’s an attempt. In this article, Mr. Dhar gives 20 tips to the version of him of 20 years ago. I’ve picked a few to share and I encourage you to read this article. Perhaps much later than I should have, I realized that our identity does not come from the designation we have at our jobs but what inspires us, what makes us feel alive. It’ll all be a waste of time. If money is what you chase, the goalpost will keep shifting. I figured that one out pretty early- you may as well get started on day one of your career. You learn as much, if not more, from the “bad” bosses as the “good” ones. It’ll all be ok. You’ll screw up, you’ll be hurt, you’ll have bad days but you know what, nobody owes you a happy life. You need to find things and people that make you happy. His letter is an honest assessment of working in any career. Work not just for your paycheck, but also work to learn. What do you learn? You learn or rather reveal more of your own God given gifts, and uncover new abilities you didn’t know you had through collaboration. Your workplace’s responsibility is to pay you for your job. It’s your responsibility to use your paycheck to take of your own business. Your business is your life and the legacy you leave behind.
Announce plans for Bangkok’s tallest building in the depths of a financial crisis. Persist through violent street protests and a military coup. Target wealthy foreigners who would pay millions for an apartment. People thought Sorapoj Techakraisri was crazy. That he was only in his 30s added to the skepticism. The 77 story MahaNakhon tower will have its first residents this September. By far the largest skyscraper on the skyline, MahaNakhon will contain 209 Ritz-Carlton Residences, ranging in price from $1.4 million to $10 million; a five-star Edition Hotel by Marriott International; and flashy boutiques and restaurants. Techakraisri
believes that Bangkok is close to having a metamorphosis and becoming an alternative to Singapore. Techakraisri’s company Pace Development’s market capitalization is just $315 million, and its profits are scarce. “It’s not yet a solid company in terms of earnings, though it should do fine,” says Avin Sony of Asia Plus Securities, the Thai firm that managed Pace’s initial public offering in 2013. He predicts that as buyers take possession of their units in MahaNakhon this year, Pace will post a small profit, followed by much bigger earnings in 2017. Even though Thailand has been struck with political turmoil, the super luxury segment of Bangkok’s property market seems to be experiencing a boom. Ultimately Techakraisri is investing for the long term and believes that the government will stabilize, and that expats will be looking to buy his condos as a second or third home. Once the doors open at MahaNakhon and prospective buyers can see the finished product, says Techakraisri, they can expect a higher price tag. “It becomes an emotional sale. When they see the view?-and the residence, the sky bar, the hotel–they will just want it.” This article highlights the vision of a man who didn’t stop believing that a luxury high rise was possible. In contrast, to the Theranos article earlier, it’ll be interesting to see how MahaNakhon tower will do. Our dollar for now is strong, and so I’d recommend looking for opportunities in other markets if you have the ability. If you have a budget, you will be able to focus on two important things: eliminate unnecessary debt and expenses, and build a savings and have money to invest in businesses. If you’re interested in my process go to the contact me section.
Also, below is a preview for the movie the Founder based on the life of Ray Kroc.
If you have a prayer need, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.
“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, ” GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”
Psalm 35:27-28 MSG