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The Knack for Getting Money

Some good discussion in this thread at Hacker News about how to evaluate people with a business skillset if you've got technical skills already.

I reckon "a knack for getting money" is probably the most key thing to look for in a businessperson. Some people have a knack for getting money.

All the business skills in the world without the knack for getting money doesn't fly. Well, maybe for employee #7,632 once a company's made it. But not for starting something up. You need to hustle and get money of some form real fast early on. A business guy who can't get money is probably worse than useless - if he wasn't on board, you'd be worried about solving the money problem yourself. But since he's supposedly the business guy and seems to be doing business guy stuff, you think things are cool. But things aren't cool. Go long enough without money, you die.

That's bad.

So, where do you get a knack for getting money? We're not born with it. It's acquired through action somehow. What's it take?

I Hope I Keep Failing

On Isaac Lewis

[caption id="attachment_123" align="alignleft" width="322" caption="Think you're tough, glowing orange amoeba? Well, you're not. Not yet."][/caption]

It's been an exciting week. In the last 7 days or so I've entered 3 entreprenurial-pitching-competition-type things, and failed at 2.

Failure #1 was entering the Shell LiveWire pitching contest at the NSEC conference. I didn't make it through the first round. Failure #2 was Warwick's Be Your Own Boss contest. I got to the final round, and gave what I thought was a pretty polished pitch. But the competition was really strong (seriously, the standard of student startups has gone way up recently), and lost again. The success was making it onto Entrepreneur First (which is not a business competition, but the application process was similar).

The fact I failed is good. If I was getting a 100% success rate, it would mean I wasn't trying stuff outside my comfort zone. I really mean that - I'm not saying "oh well, taking part is what counts" just to make myself feel better. I want to win, and long-term I want to improve both my business idea and my pitching skills, so I'm going to enter more of these business idea contests*. But, I can accept losing with equanimity. And if and when I start winning, I won't sit around and bask in my success, but aim to begin failing at bigger and harder things.

*(Yes, these contests do have limited value, in that winning them doesn't make you an overnight success. But there is value in the money and publicity on offer.)

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