Let’s Grab Coffee


Perhaps you found this just browsing, but the most likely reason you are here is that I sent you a link to this page. I do that every time someone contacts me and, without proper context, say “let’s grab coffee” or “let’s have a chat”.

Meeting someone takes work and time. I prepare to meet people and follow-up on meetings. So you are asking for at least a couple of hours of my time.

I believe in random encounters. I believe in free exchanges. It is just that, because of professional context, a lot of people ask me to “grab a coffee”. I just cannot do it with everyone who asks.

Your request is not random, you want my time for something of your interest. So I think it is fair that, before I give you a couple of hours of my time, you spend yours researching and convincing me it is going to be worth it.

If you are trying to sell me something (a product, a service, an idea)… Make sure I am a good candidate to need it. Write a compelling summary of what that is. If I delete it after reading the first paragraph and don’t respond. Please do not insist.

If you are seeking my opinion or advice… I like to and often share my thoughts and experiences with others. Make sure you know the questions you want me to answer and that you are prepared to listen to it. Make sure to read what I have already written on the subject (use Google). When you contact me, provide enough context for me to judge whether or not I can help.

If you want a favor… Just tell me what the favor is before I agree in spending more time talking about it. Why should I help? Am I contributing to a better world?  If I help you, how are you going to help me? Am I somehow unique in the ability to help? Why me?

If you are trying to buy something from me… There are not a lot of things I can sell, but whatever it is, it will be very expensive. Tell me what it is that you want.

If you just want access to my network of relationships because someone told you I am well-connected… I am not. And relationships are inherited through relationships, you cannot access mine without being part of the network. Build your own relationships, one person at a time.

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Thanksgiving and meaning it


This week is the time of the year when we in the US take a break from our busy lives to express Gratitude. I have plenty to be thankful for this year.

Gratitude is a positive emotion we feel in acknowledgment of a benefit we have received. Saying “Thank You” is the way to express that emotion which is the basis of life in community. It recognizes that we depend on one another to live, to be ourselves.

We get used to say “Thank You” as a matter of social protocol. This is the time to bring its meaning back to consciousness.

In my native Portuguese, we say “Obrigado“, which is not my favorite expression because it equals gratitude with indebtedness. Literally, it says “I owe you something”.

In my travels around the world I have always taken interest not only on the local word to express gratitude, but also on its literal meaning and the social attitude behind it.

My favorite form of “Thank You” is the one used in Malaysia. “Terima Kasih” sounds very friendly and it literally translates to “Receive Love”.

I am no historian or linguist, but I theorize that words equating gratitude and indebtedness have roots in a period in history where gratitude was used as social currency between levels of hierarchy, where favors were exchanged for political loyalty. Words that equals gratitude with love reflect a more equal exchange between peers.

As we evolve towards a world where stronger relationships are people-to-people rather than people-to-organization, gratitude has to be more like love and less like indebtedness.

With that in mind, I would like to say Thank You for reading, agreeing or disagreeing, providing feedback and teaching me through interaction this year.

Here is a list to say Thank You in other languages.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Launch of Graava


I have joined a startup project designing a consumer camera. We had a pre-sales marketing launch on August 5th 2015. We were hoping for significant coverage, but what we got surpassed all expectations. Graava was featured in every major mainstream and technology media outlet in the US (with international coverage following in the next days).

Our launch video (produced by Sandwich video):

Video Media Coverage:

ABC7 News interviewed us for the evening news. See video.

TechCrunch interviewed us for the launch. See video.

TechCrunch Crunch Report also featured us. See video (6 min mark).

We were on prime time broadcast TV also in Brazil: See video.

Online and Print Media Coverage:

The New York Times – A New Action Camera, Born From a Cycling Crash

Wired Magazine –  This self-editing action camera is the future of video

NBC News – Graava Action Camera Edits Your Footage For You

Forbes – Watch Out GoPro, This Camera Promises To Edit Your Video For You

TechCrunch – A $249 Action Camera That Edits Highlight Videos For You

Fast Company – GRAAVA’S NEW CAMERA EDITS YOUR VIDEOS FOR YOU

Fast Company Design –  A smart action cam for who don’t want to edit

Mashable – Editing video is hard. Let the Graava action camera do it for you

The Verge – Graava is a new action camera that does the editing for you

VentureBeat – Graava video camera uses A.I. to automatically edit your video footage

Apple Insider – Graava camera edits its own footage using onboard sensors, Apple Watch and cloud processing

Yahoo News! – Graava camera captures and edits videos automatically

CNET – Graava camera promises to capture, edit and share your best moments

Popular Science – GRAAVA ACTION CAMERA EDITS YOUR VIDEO

GQ – CAMERA GRAAVA : VOUS FILMEZ, ELLE GÈRE LE MONTAGE

PC Magazine – Meet Graava, an Action Cam That Edits Videos for You

PC World – Graava action cam automatically finds best clips

Uncrate – GRAAVA ACTION CAMERA

Re/code – Editing Makes Good Videos Great. Can Computers Do It Better Than Humans?

Gizmag – Graava actioncam promises videos that are all killer, no filler

The Next Web – Graava camera will automatically capture and edit your tedious holiday videos

Digital Trends – If only your GoPro could edit its own footage like this smart camera

Crowdfund Insider – GoPro Killer? Graava Video Camera Uses Artificial Intelligence to Keep the Best, Tosses the Rest

9to5 Toys – The new Graava action camera uses your heartbeat to capture the best moments and make a highlight reel

SlashGear – Graava action cam auto-creates highlight reels

Ubergizmo – Graava Action Cam Takes The Pain Out Of Editing Videos

Photo District News – Graava Camera Uses Artificial Intelligence and Sensors to Edit Video for You

Shutterbug – Unique New Graava Camera Uses Artificial Intelligence to Self Edit Videos

Indirect / Syndications / International:

MSN – Graava Action Camera Edits Your Video, So You Don’t Have To

MSN – Graava Captures And Edits Video Footage

Techmeme – Graava is an action camera that automatically edits your video and prepares highlights, on preorder for $249, to eventually retail for $399  

Aol Tech – Graava Captures And Edits Video Footage

Computerworld – Graava action cam automatically finds best clips

CIO – Graava action cam automatically finds best clips

BGR – Graava is the newest action camera in the block that can edit your videos for you

Pocket-lint – Graava action cam is more like a sensor-loaded smart cam that can edit your vids

Peta Pixel – Graava is a Smart Action Camera That Can Edit Your Footage For You

Mac Stories – Graava Action Camera and watchOS 2

The Tech Bulletin – $249 Graava camera edits Highlight videos

Geeky Gadgets – Graava Smart Life Logging Camera Now Available To Pre-Order For $249 (video)

Gizmoids – THIS NEW GRAAVA ACTION CAMERA WILL ALSO DO THE EDITING FOR YOU

Poker News – GRAAVA’S NEW ACTION CAMERA EDITS VIDEO FOR YOU. YES. IT DOES.

Motoroids – Graava’s new action camera can also edit videos for you

Engine vs. Motor – Graava action camera edits videos for you

Demanjo News – Graava Is A $249 Action Camera That Edits Highlight Videos For You

Food World News – Go Pro Competitor ‘Graava’: This New Toy Edits Videos For you

Argyll Life Press GRAAVA ACTION CAM DOES ALL THE EDITING FOR YOU

Yibada – Graava Camera‘s AI Automatically Picks, Synthesizes Top Video Clips

Tulane Hullabaloo – Graava camera captures and edits videos automatically; preorder price $249

Uber Topic – Graava Is A $249 Action Camera That Edits Highlight Videos For You

IDG Blog – Rival da GoPro: nova câmera usa IA para editar vídeos dos usuários

Technoblog – Feita por brasileiros: conheça a Graava, a câmera que edita os vídeos por você

wwwhats news – Graava, cámara de acción inteligente que captura momentos concretos

Apparata –Betaalbare action cam monteert automatisch je video’s

Xataka – Las cámaras de acción de Graava editan los vídeos por ti

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How to think about my startup valuation?


valuation

I often get this question from early stage entrepreneurs: “How do I calculate the valuation of my startup?”

The valuation of a startup is the value of the company at the moment when the first round of venture capital is raised. Valuation should not be the focus of the early stage entrepreneur. For more on that, please read on.

Am I ready to talk to a VC?

If VC’s are willing to talk to you, go ahead and talk to them. But the conversation will have tangible consequences only if your startup is at the stage of development for a VC capital investment.

You are ready to raise VC funding when at least one of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • Users – Your B2C service has millions of users and that number is growing exponentially through social propagation. The target audience is everyone in the world. There is no business model, but who cares? You are the next Instagram.
  • Traction – Your project has a significant number of users (hundreds of thousand for B2C, several customers for B2B) and at least one business model for monetization has been validated (advertisement, commission, subscription, sales, etc.). Your startup is not a website, it is a business.
  • Innovation – Your project includes  Innovation with uppercase “I”, that is applicable to the solution of a high-value concrete problem. The innovation is either protected by patent or is very difficult to replicate. You’ve invented teleporting.
  • Resume – You have a well-formed project and a team that has previously created other companies that were successful and generated return to investors. Those investors are willing to offer capital even before the previous criteria are satisfied.

The details of the criteria above might vary slightly from a VC to another, but there is no magic. Note that VCs are professional investors investing capital from a fund that received money from other investors. The VC investor does not own the money and can only invest if they can model it based on the goals of the fund.

Seed Money

If none of the criteria above is satisfied, the valuation of your startup has no valuation.

But that should not be cause for alarm. It is the case of the vast majority of the startups. It doesn’t mean the project is wrong or has no future. It only means you need to execute further before its value creates a valuation.

If you need capital to execute before there is a valuation, you will need seed money, normally a smaller amount enough to run the company for a few months, provided by an Angel Investor.

While it is fun to guess numbers, there is usually no need to define a valuation to raise seed money. The angel investor usually receives convertible notes in exchange for the investment. Simply put, a convertible note is a loan denominated in dollars (often including interest and discount clauses) that is converted in equity participation if and when there is a first round of venture capital investment (when a more concrete valuation is defined by a professional investor).

Ok, got it. But what if I still want to guess what valuation I can get for my company?

The definition of a valuation at the raising of venture capital will take in account the structure of ownership (how many founders, how many key people) and the amount to be raised (which is a function of the money needed to execute as well as the preferences of the fund).

The investor must believe in the project and the team, so it has vested interest in keeping the team committed and motivated. There is no incentive to squeeze the entrepreneurs by defining valuation that is too low. So the actual valuation is based on real market perceptions, but ends up being a number that makes the round viable and a win for all parties involved.

Now, if after all this discussion, you really want to estimate a possible valuation, you can try at least three different approaches:

  • Financial – If you have a solid business plan, valuation can be calculated based on the execution risk and the projections of revenue and profit and a possible sale or IPO. Because execution risks in early stage are very high, it is virtually impossible to achieve much confidence in a number. Normally, the investors try to model this, not the entrepreneur.
  • Market – VC investments usually become public information. You can estimate your valuation based on the valuation of similar companies in similar stages of execution that are receiving professional investment.
  • Opportunity Cost – Calculate the amount of the time and effort applied to the project and estimate what would be its value if that effort was applied in a well established business. This is the cost of opportunity of your project. This number is irrelevant to the investor, but can be useful for the entrepreneur to continuously monitor the viability of the project (the cost of opportunity must be always below the valuation one hopes to achieve in the future).

Traveling to Cambodia – Phnom Penh, Kampot, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap


SAMSUNG CSC
Sunrise at Angkor Wat

This trip on the first half of Aug/2014 was my first time in Cambodia. If you are reading this and considering whether or not it should be in your bucket list, I say: go for it!

The impressions you find below are from the perspective of a relatively seasoned traveler who is used to explore unknown places wearing a backpack and who had been to SE Asia multiple times before.

We were four travelers (my friend Isa from California, and Cameron and Lester from New Zealand – I did not know them prior to this trip – Isa did) with coordinated itineraries for transportation, but not committed to doing the exact same things. 

SAMSUNG CSC
Royal Palace Complex

We stayed in nice hotels (so it was not a backpacking trip), but most of my activities were local and close to the ground.

Our itinerary: 2 days in Phnom Penh (the capital, a typical SE Asia bustling city), travel by taxi and 2 days in Kampot (a coastal city famous for, among other things, “Kampot Pepper”), travel by taxi and 2 days in Sihanoukville (a party beach resort town), fly and 2 days in Seam Reap (where the famous temples are). In retrospect, this was a perfect first overview 8-day trip itinerary (thanks to Cameron, who had been there before and designed it), with a good balance of tourist crowds, off-the-beaten-path time, exploration and relaxation.

I will take the risk of generalizing my superficial perception of a short-time visitor and say that the stronger impression on me from this trip was the fact that Cambodians are nice. But not in a casual way, like when we use “nice” as a placeholder to nothing remarkable to say. I mean really nice. A combination of grace, politeness, sweetness, sincerity, lack of judgment, openness. Perhaps gentle is a better way to express the attitude I experienced there. There, I said it, Cambodians are gentle people.

Cambodians have been subject to oppression and tragedies in recent history and a significant portion of the population lives under poverty lines. It is amazing that they can live on with grace and be optimistic in situations that others would consider unbearable.

SAM_0331
Sunset in Kampot

When researching for a visit to Cambodia, you will read about corruption in government and police, mosquitoes, unsafe tap water, landmines, lack of infrastructure. Don’t let that deter you. Yes, going there requires some planning and precaution, but once you arrive, those things cease to be negative to your experience.

You will also read that the weather is hot. That doesn’t cease to be relevant once you get there. In August, it is 33-34C for most of the time. It is the rainy season, but we were very fortunate and rain did not interfere with our trip.

Perhaps surprisingly, crime or personal safety were not factors in my experience anywhere, at any time. Big city, small village, it didn’t matter. An illustrative example: we took a bicycle tour in Siem Reap. The local guide didn’t seem to understand why I was asking if it was safe to leave the nice mountain bikes parked without locks and unattended while we visited the temples.

SAMSUNG CSC
Balloons on the beach – Sihanoukville

Not a reason to visit, but a nice plus if you do: your US dollar is accepted anywhere and goes very far getting what you need. A nice meal in a posh place is $6, seafood dinner served on the beach front is $3. A beer costs 50c to $1. You can hire a driver to take you around for the whole day for $15-$20 (a tuk-tuk carries up to 4 people). A nice (I mean nice) hotel room goes for $45-$50. A beach bungalow is $20. A backpacker bunk bed to spend the night will cost you $3. 

Language is not a big issue. In the cities, people tourists interact with all speak English. Where English is not spoken, there is always goodwill and gestures.

Thanksgiving 2013


It is again that time of the year when we in the US take a break from our busy lives to express Gratitude (and eat, shop, etc).

Gratitude is a positive emotion we feel in acknowledgment of a benefit we have received. Saying “Thank You” is the way to express that emotion which is the basis of life in community. It recognizes that we depend on one another to live, to be ourselves.

We get used to say “Thank You” as a matter of social protocol. This is the time to bring its meaning back to consciousness.

I grew up in Brazil and my native language is Portuguese. We say “Obrigado“, which is not my favorite expression because it equals gratitude with indebtedness. Literally, it says “I owe you something in exchange for this”.

In my travels around the world I have always taken interest not only on the local word to express gratitude, but also on its literal meaning and the social attitude behind it.

My favorite form of “Thank You” is the one used in Malaysia. “Terima Kasih” sounds very friendly and it literally translates to “Receive Love”.

I am no historian or linguist, but I theorize that words equating gratitude and indebtedness have roots in a period in history where gratitude was used as social currency between levels of hierarchy, where favors were exchanged for political loyalty. Words that equals gratitude with love reflect a more equal exchange between peers.

As we shift towards a world where stronger relationships are more equal and transparent, gratitude has to be more like love and less like indebtedness.

With that in mind, I would like to say Thank You for reading, agreeing or disagreeing, providing feedback and teaching me through interaction in 2013.

Here is a list to say Thank You in other languages.

Happy Thanksgiving.