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Category: Lessons Learned

It’s a Trap! Nine Legal Quagmires for Entrepreneurs to Avoid

June 12, 2014 by Akira Hirai

Legal Traps and Mistakes

When JJ Abrams’ production company Bad Robot recently confirmed that filming for Star Wars Episode VII is officially underway, it got me thinking about the similarities between the wars fought in a galaxy far, far away, and the battles fought every day by the entrepreneurs in this solar system. Entrepreneurship, with all its risks and unknowns, can often feel like Luke Skywalker’s treacherous mission to destroy the Death Star in Star Wars IV. Experts continue to debate whether entrepreneurship can be taught, or whether it’s something more like the Force: [Read More]

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What Not to Say to Investors

December 4, 2013 by Akira Hirai

What Not To Say To Investors

The world is full of advice for what to say and how to pitch to investors, but what about what not to say? Rookie entrepreneurs are often far too eager to try to impress investors, and end up saying things that set off alarm bells. Over the course of my consulting career, I’ve written a lot of successful business plans and spoken with countless entrepreneurs. After listening to so many pitches, I have identified some phrases you should never use with investors, either in conversation or in writing: “All we [Read More]

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Chalk Fitness

August 29, 2012 by Akira Hirai

lessons learned from chalk fitness

Cayenne Consulting interviewed David Pollitt and Brian Nick, co-founders of Chalk Fitness. Chalk Fitness is a new cross training concept focusing on personal attention, community, efficiency, results, and value. Their first location opened on January 1, 2012. In many ways, this flagship location is a laboratory for perfecting an operating model so that the concept can be replicated for national expansion. Cayenne’s Akira Hirai became a member several months ago. Impressed with Chalk’s operations and its plans for the future, he sat down with the founders for an in-depth interview [Read More]

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David Brooks is Right

August 27, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin

David Brooks is right

On Saturday, August 4, 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune published an opinion piece written by The New York Times’ David Brooks titled How Much of Your Success is Due to You? It is, of course, a response to a comment that President Barak Obama made in a political speech several weeks ago in which he commented that successful people owe their success, in part, to many external factors as well as their own talent and skills. In reading the article, we thought about our clients and visitors to this blog [Read More]

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Russ Wilcox

June 18, 2012 by Akira Hirai

Russ Wilcox

Cayenne Consulting interviewed Russ Wilcox, Co-Founder & CEO of Transatomic Power, a next-generation nuclear reactor design company. The firm has developed the Waste-Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor, a 200MW reactor that converts high-level nuclear waste into electric power. Russ Wilcox was previously Co-founder and CEO of E Ink Corporation. Founded in 1997, E Ink commercialized electronic paper materials invented at the MIT Media Lab. E Ink conducted ground-breaking research, scaled up manufacturing in the United States, and shipped tens of millions of displays for the Amazon Kindle, SONY Reader, B&N Nook, [Read More]

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Don’t Develop Mobile Apps in the Dark

May 9, 2012 by Fred Cutler

Don’t Develop Mobile Apps in the Dark

After working with numerous mobile app startups, a common pattern has surfaced. The founder is hard at work with developers, designing the app back-to-front and front-to-back, deciding on pricing, deciding on marketing, and so forth. But all these important decisions are being made in a vacuum. No one knows for sure who will really be interested in the app, what’s the optimal user interface, and what, if anything, people will pay for the app. So, my task is to slow the team down and go to work on some rough [Read More]

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Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

February 20, 2012 by Akira Hirai

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Do you want your product or service to resonate with customers? Then start by expressing the “why” behind your business rather than the “what.” Using Apple and the Wright Brothers as examples, Simon Sinek of RAND Corporation describes how people have a stronger biological response to “why” than to “what,” and how this translates to behavioral response. Sinek explains why “I Have a Dream” is more inspiring than “I Have a Plan.” This video is 18 minutes well-spent.

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Valley Talk

January 25, 2012 by Akira Hirai

shit silicon valley says

Have you ever wanted to start a company in Silicon Valley, but felt held back because you couldn’t talk the talk? Fear not! Here’s a handy guide that will ease you into Silicon-Valley-Speak in a few short minutes. Watch and learn!

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Survey of Startups Discounts Advice from Investors

January 17, 2012 by Marty Zwilling

Thumbs Up

We can all dream about what it takes to make our startup a success. From recent survey feedback, it seems evident that the urban legends leading to success are wrong. The average entrepreneur is not the one who dumped a promising career, sketched his idea on the back of a napkin, and accepted millions from an investor to make billions of his own. I was just perusing a more realistic report from the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship, titled “Making of a Successful Entrepreneur.” They surveyed 549 successful company founders across [Read More]

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5 Lessons For Success That Are Not All About You

January 12, 2012 by Marty Zwilling


Many entrepreneurs forget that their success is more about helping other people than about personally becoming famous, or overcoming the odds and getting rich. A successful business has to satisfy customers with a strong team, by helping them solve problems, save money, or experience more pleasure. That means more focus on helping others achieve their goals. How and why this is true was brought home to me in a new book, “It’s Not About You: A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business,” by Bob Burg and John David [Read More]

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