The first handshake…

There’s currently a discussion on Twitter about the Northern Ireland Software Strategy. David Kirk writes: #NISW ‘s your input. What’s stopping NI creating the next Google or Twitter. Leadership? Imagination? Funding? David writes elsewhere: NI is in an interesting catch-22. The technology investment funds are small and conservative, so companies seeking funding scale back ambitions … Continue reading “The first handshake…”

There’s currently a discussion on Twitter about the Northern Ireland Software Strategy.

David Kirk writes:

#NISW ‘s your input. What’s stopping NI creating the next Google or Twitter. Leadership? Imagination? Funding?

David writes elsewhere:

NI is in an interesting catch-22. The technology investment funds are small and conservative, so companies seeking funding scale back ambitions and ask for less, so there no pressure for big, aggressive funds.

My reply…

What is needed is a entrepreneur machine.

We need to take people with good ideas and put them in rooms with people who can help them distil great ideas. Those people then need to be joined with funders – public or private as applicable – and match up the money to do this. We need special facilitators for this – they need to have the balls and the experience to tell whether an idea is killer or filler.

We can wax lyrical about how ingenious NI is, how educated we are, how smart our people are but the facts do not hold out. We have allowed this nation to evolve into a nation of administrators and hairdressers. The very idea of entrepreneurship is considered to be laughable – not a career move, something to be ridiculed. The very idea of having dreams and wanting something more is considered by many to be above our station. Even in my own household, the idea of wanting more than a 9-5 is balked at (which, if you know me at all, leads to a lot of silences because I am impatient, I want more, I’m not happy with my lot and I want to be part of the force that brings the rising tide which buoys up all the other boats.

I cannot stress this more vehemently, where we are told to be patient, not to want more?

“Balls to that!”

I’m coming down with ideas but have two limitations.

1) the first handshake. I need to talk to no-nonsense people who want a stake in the idea and have belief in the vision. No-nonsense people not afraid to tell me if they think an idea has no legs and should just be shot.

2) the day job. On two levels – the first being that I need to pay a mortgage and be a responsible dad. The second being that in that position I need to help others reach their dreams and in that I have been berated before about stepping beyond my remit. So, to a degree, my hands are tied.

The fact that most people in NI are ‘poor‘ doesn’t help matters. A friend of mine explained to me that his savings are such that if he stopped doing his day job, he has enough funds to see him through to October. That’s very much the exception. I have enough funds to see me through to Tuesday next week. Therefore I can’t give up the day job and chase the dream (and besides, I did it once before, got fuck all help from anyone and still succeeded.) I think a lot of people in Northern Ireland are very realistic about the costs of chasing the dream. I’m not alone in working for a startup which failed as much as I’m not alone in having learned from that and built up my own, still functioning, startup. My second startup – well – it’s working slowly, has cost me money, has earned me nothing but it’s a long play I guess. I bootstrapped both times and it was hard work both times.

In May, David did a briefing after a week long ‘entrepreneur-hardening’ course where he and others roasted some would-be entrepreneurs over an open fire, filed off the charcoaled fatty bits and then roasted them a little more. The result was a lean and hopefully fierce investor-ready entrepreneur.

During the briefing, a representative from one of the local VC firms asked:
“Are you saying you and others (foreign investors) will be investing in companies in Northern Ireland?”

David’s answer was a simple, “Yes”.

The VC in question was visibly shocked and discussed exactly this revelation with two colleagues outside the briefing room.

Why was the VC so shocked? We’ve had a market of entirely sessile voyeur capitalists and they’re concerned that they’re going to lose out to a group of nomadic vulture capitalists. They don’t return calls, they don’t seek out new opportunities and they also don’t have the balls to tell you if they don’t like the idea. Instead you end up courting them, treating them like a first date and then wonder why you didn’t get the call back. You might think your idea was bad or maybe you had brocolli in your teeth but the truth is that they’re much too conservative to start off something like this alone.

So where am I right now?

Coming down with ideas, zero capital and unsure where to go to get something built. I’ve shared my ideas with others, told them what is essentially the crown jewels. I’ve even taken ten of my ideas, of varying quality I admit, and given them to a group of developers to see what they can do with them.

I admit, I don’t need to drop the day job – I need funding to pay folk to build my ideas. I need some experienced adults to tell me whether this idea, these ideas – which I love – are actually shit or not.

I need the first handshake.

0 thoughts on “The first handshake…”

  1. InvestNi and intertrade Ireland run some great programmer, and having been on a fusion programme myself, I can assure you that the funding in grant form is available. If you needed €500k you could get it with minimal outlay yourself, it’s just an accounting problem.

    However, finding a new google or Twitter(do Twitter make money?) is the hard part.

  2. Lots of places to jump in here.

    One of the things we discussed (as I recall there was very little roasting) was one of the key differences between fund raising in the US verses NI. In the US you will get a “no” in 30mins and a “yes” in 30days. In NI there is a perpetual “come back when …”.

    The “entreprenure machine” is actually the partnership of the founder and a “value” VC – one who adds operational experience to the team. I’ve been with a business in SF for the past eight years, from 5 people, that is now $100m and been through five rounds of findind. The company has evolved and morphed thru 3 or 4 different business models, in fact returning to the same one that it started with.

    AOL started as a video game download company !

    I’d have two comments and one interesting experiment.

    Returns to LPs on NI are really quiet low, probably less than I get on AAA federally insured muni binds here. Who would be satisfied with ho-hum returns for way above average risk? Follow the money. Where dies most of the money come from? Public money?

    In all of the funds in NI I can count one VC who have real business/ operational experience. Go count. Chartered accounts 99, Business guys 1

    So. My bold experiement.

    Take ALL the public funds that go to grants and funds and place one big bet with a SV/NI hybrid funds.

    Make local VCs go out and actually raise their own funds. THEN past performance will weed out the movers from the losers. Stop grants, or redirect them to drive businesses to suceed, instead of today’s situation where business work to get grants rather than market share!

    For starters!

  3. “The very idea of entrepreneurship is considered to be laughable – not a career move”

    This the NI mentality in a nutshell. Stop anyone from trying to do better than anyone else. How I love the US where things are 180′ different.

  4. “Stop anyone from trying to do better than anyone else.”

    This I struggle with. Who are “they” … I really don’t think (I hope this is a true statement) that anyone sits down and writes “stop some smart guy getting ahead today” on the top of their todo list.

    My observation is that ppl in NI ask for “permission” far to often (better to ask forgiveness than permission?) and that ceeds authority to where there never was?

    At a recent “conference” in NI I was asked how to take risks when all about very ultra conservative. With barely a heartbeat missed … “Tell lies. And move so fast that they become the truth before they notice!”

    Investing is matching reward to risk. In startups, the risk is “can we build this product”. In an emerging company the risk is “will the market buy this product” and then … can we grab market share or can we make a profit. There is a strong (converstative)tendancy to avoid the product/marjet risk, then jump in looking for profits … which will ultimately stiffle growth.

  5. i’m completely in the same boat – i’d love to start a business, and having no job, and no dependants right now i suspect provides me with an ideal starting ground.

    the thing that gets me is:

    InvestNI – why not have an interest free loan that equates to 6 months on minimum wage for each person involved in the project – to a max. of 5 , provided somebody has a good idea – and don’t let InvestNI judge it, let someone who believes you can do it judge you – no rose tinted glasses, just someone thats willing to listen.

    That way the govt. is helping start new business. 6 months seems to me to be a long time in getting things together in terms of most tech – you can get a demo up and running pretty quickly if you know what you’re doing.

    The loan can be repaid as soon as the business is profitable, and realistically amounts to £27934.40 (£5.73 min wage * 37.5hr week * 6 months * 5 people).

    If they can loan the banks billions why can’t they give me £28k interest free for 5 years to develop a good idea?

  6. GazHay wrote:
    InvestNi and intertrade Ireland run some great programmer, and having been on a fusion programme myself, I can assure you that the funding in grant form is available. If you needed €500k you could get it with minimal outlay yourself, it’s just an accounting problem.

    You’re having a laugh.

    Fusion is about hiring a recent graduate and awards uo to 50K for that purpose – 50% funded. The actual value of a graduate is questionable and depends on the market.

    I have no idea where you’re getting those figures from for £500K for a small outlay and accounting problems. For instance – the most progressive of the current grants (the Grant for R&D&I) offers at best 80% support so you’d still have to find £100K. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have £100K lying around never mind the costs associated with filling in the forms and making sure your ‘accounts’ tie up with the stories you’d have to tell to get that funding.

    Frankly I’m less than enthralled with public funding – having had less than stellar experiences with InvestNI three times.

    A good private investor will allow you to have someone on staff to fill in the forms and claw back/boost investment from public funds. But I wouldn’t want to rely on it.

  7. I’d only have a couple of twists on that.

    Without knocking InvestNI, they do NOT have the experience to judge (a) technology or (b) startup businesses. To be fair, they are probably good at what they are supposed to be doing, and that serving civils. But, to be fair to NI tax payers and entrepreneurs, it would be MUCH more effective to have someone who actually knows technology and how to grow startups to $100M business.

    See previous posts.

    Also, look for convertible preferred notes as a better “skin in the game investment”

    Send me a 2-3 page summary of your investment opportunity, I’ll give you feedback in 2-3 days if its “investment ready” Ask @internetsense for format.

  8. John wrote:
    Because if you just drink it away, the civil servant who said “ok” will get into trouble, and might not get their pension.

    The assessment of risk, by people who are ‘public servants’ in pretty secure jobs, with good pensions and civil service holidays, is frankly insulting


  9. i know all about risk – i wrote a risk manager for my final year project. risk is extremely subjective – even when you don’t mean it to be. you can look as objectively as you want, but you’ll find one detail that upsets you personally and then that view of the risk is flawed.

    not that anybody can help it – let alone anyone with a civil servant’s pension…

  10. If you have an idea (or ten) then you’re 50 steps ahead of most. Validate the market by engaging with your potential customers. Most techies think the market will beat a path to their door. If the voice of the market is telling you that the value proposition is there and they want it – do it! Tap the shoulder of as may potential investors as you can, remortgage the house, pawn the wife’s jewellery – go for it to use Investni’s cheesy slogan. That’s the difference in the US and this ‘nation’ – Americans will believe in it, have a lash and find the money from somewhere. In fairness if the product is good enough the money will find it. Don’t let the grants issue become a show stopper – time spent chasing grants and servicing the associated paperwork is time which would have been better spent developing the product/market.

  11. VC risk management is like a punter betting on every race on the card.

    If you bet on all the odds-on favorites (no risk) you only need a couple of loser to wipe out everything.

    If you get on all the long-shots (big risks) you only need a couple of winners to go home with a smile.

    In facts that the VC business model in a nutshell.

  12. @Anonymous
    The most valuable thing a VC can do is open his address book. The real “Entrepreneur Machine” as a company would provide more than just access to common sense – it’s going to hook you into a good accountant, a great marketing expert, a fabulous lawyer.

    Pipe dream eh?

  13. David wrote:
    My observation is that ppl in NI ask for “permission” far to often (better to ask forgiveness than permission?) and that ceeds authority to where there never was?

    Sometimes it is permission. Permission from the husband/wife to remortgage the house. Agreement from the SO so you can give up the well-paying day job to chase that dream. Permission from the Mother In Law to work full time on the dream in the hope that she will look after the kids. Permission to get a loan from the bank to pay for food while you set up. Hope that the bank won’t foreclose on the credit card because you’ve used it to bootstrap the business.

    These are a fraction of the permissions I had to go through setting up Mac-Sys. And when I wasn’t rich in a year, then the shit hit the fan (essentially firing four friends, alienating the wife, alienating my parents, missing my kids).

    Entrepreneurship is a game of permissions.

  14. I think the real problem with entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland is a lack of public role models. The successful ones are busy promoting their business and not themselves. So the void is filled by civil servants and wannabes.

    The civil servants have no commercial experience and judge success in Telegraph column inches. The wannabes spend their time telling us how the latest Apple, Open Source, Web 2.0 development will make us all rich, if only we had the support. In either case both are involved in their own type of onanism.

    The truth about building a business is that the entrepreneur who truly believes in an idea will make it work. The reason they can make it work is that they are willing to do whatever it takes, mortgaging their house, work night shifts in Tescos, change their idea to fit their means etc.

    Whining about a lack of VC support, poor policies from InvestNI, family problems etc is nothing more than excuse making.

    The only advice most people need is either piss or get off the pot.

  15. @mj those are shared decisions. If I was to move back to NI, I wouldn’t be asking Leigh for permission, I’d want her to want to come with me. But you know thats not what I was talking about.

  16. Firstly, FUSION while ideally for grads can be for anyone, trust me – first hand experience. FUSION comes with cash as well as wage funding, and there are other cross border grants too.

    The funding argument might be slightly different as it is some months since I last spoke to the prominent accountant who gave me the advice. Point to take away here, he was the accountant of a prominent figure in the republic and many banks over the last 30 years, not likely to be full of shit.

    As for the guy who is unemployed and looking a 6 month grant. The way it works is this, you start work on your idea, beg borrow steal, if you make 6 months people will start to take you seriously and cut you a break, by then you might have something to show the bank. You just aren’t going to get a free ride.

    Finally, I’m a tad uncomfortable with all the talk of NI this and NI that. Why such an introspective, protectionist attitude in a global marketplace?

    Surely looking global rather than doorstep is a key point here. Aside from that, you are playing to stereotypes which is never a good thing.

  17. @Gaz – FUSION hasn’t changed and I know a thing or two about it. It is designed for recent graduates and the university link is relevant. It’s not cash – it’s part support for the grad salary and full support for recruitment expenses. An accountant might be able to hide additional coats in there but that’s not what it’s designed for.

    The NI focus is not a Market focus but a resource focus. This is our home – for whatever reasons we have chosen to live here. The laws, supports and people are the resources we have to pull on. Our universities and colleges are our recruiting grounds. To seriously use the resources of another location means moving.

    The Market focus is global. I’m not remotely interested in businesses which serve NI or even the UK and Ireland. It’s much too small a Market. I want our local investment community to sit up and take notice which means trying to change a lot of culture here. We need to show some successes and perhaps even attract outsiders.

    @Anonymous – I think you’re a little confused there – checking with family, as David asserts is a shared decision and not something to be taken lightly – most potential investors will look for family to have supported your idea financially so their compliance is important. Then again looking for a role model is just another excuse so why is that more important than making sure family are okay with it. I call bullshit. I’ve set up three businesses – the only one which caused undue stress was the one with 6 employees – where I was responsible for the wellfare of 6 families. To help pay for myself and reduce my drain on the business during it’s formative years I did take on a second job (teaching in a local college). But that’s seriously not a route I recommend.

    There is a need for the local VC Market to wake up. This isn’t an excuse – if you think global competitors are seriously built by being funded by a night job in Tesco then good luck to you. The VC model works in other parts of the world – NI software needs to up the game and be taken seriously by our home investment Market.

  18. Perhaps the fact that you have lifestyle you like and a family to support means that you’re not committed to the ideas you want to promote and this comes across when you’re looking for investment. Perhaps the fact that you’ve started 3 businesses and can’t raise £100k means that you’re not cut out to run a business. Perhaps bravado like “I’m not remotely interested in businesses which serve NI or even the UK and Ireland.” show that you are simply naive. But the lack of a VC community isn’t really the problem.

    Global competitors don’t magically emerge from VC money. They come from committed individuals working hard on providing solutions to problems and over coming the barriers in front of them.

    The fact is that software industry is almost uniquely placed in that the capital barrier to entry to virtually zero. A few committed individuals who are willing to make sacrifices can develop world-class solutions. The night shift in Tesco will keep body and soul together until the pay-off either from success or VC money kicks in.

    The guy I want to invest in is the one who’s risked his own money and time before asking someone else to bear the risk. The guy I want to invest in is the one who’s failed to get investment and still says said ‘f*** them, I believe in this’ and put his heart and soul into developing an idea anyway. The point is that I’m not investing solely in an idea, I’m investing in the people behind it.

    The absence of a local VC market isn’t a barrier, look at the Northern Ireland rich list, how many of these people started their business with VC money? Even better, look around the world at successful entrepreneurs and see how many start out with VC money. VC money is there to promote growth and take a product to the next stage not to protect a life style for the founders.

    Perhaps the truth about the local VC market is that we don’t have the people to invest in. Is the real problem that we have a community of wannabes who are happier to tell war stories about how they coulda been a contender, instead of actually doing something?

    Before you ask, Yes I have risked my own money on my ideas and others. I have worked double jobs to fund myself initially. Yes I risked my family’s lifestyle but they understand that whether we win or lose financial we’re still a family.

  19. @Anonymous: I don’t think anyone said that Global Competitors arise magically from VC money. In order to grow a company to a global competitor, then you’ll need private investment. Some people may be lucky enough to have that in friends or family or sufficient equity to remortgage the house but that’s not everyone.

    You said earlier we don’t have public role models? Now we just don’t have the right people, we just have wannabes? Which is it?

    We know that Northern Ireland is an economically depressed region. We know that the richest folk in Ireland came from property, pharmaceuticals and betting shops. So what? I’m not in this game to create people who are super-rich, I’m interested in helping people make something of themselves.

    I don’t think you really know what Northern Ireland needs. Your version is simply that good people can sweat, mortgage the house, exhaust themselves with multiple jobs, put their family on the line and eventually they will rise to the top. And you call me naive.

    Most good people get tired of the local economy and piss off to Silicon Valley and make their name there. A few, like David Kirk, like Johnny Gilmore, come back and try to see what they can do to improve the situation. Johnny, at his address at the 25K Awards in 2008, said he was most interested in home grown companies that remained home-owned and had a global impact. I agree 100% with his sentiment.

    I’m not going to start the Google or the next Twitter. I’m probably not smart enough for that. But that doesn’t stop me wanting to change things here. Or wanting to help others create the next Google or Twitter.

    I’m postulating ideas for discussion and seeing some agreement. I’m interested in exploring what will change the environment, not maintain the status quo.

  20. I’ve been a partner of a company that ran to the end of its £50k bank overdraft, against which were stacked the deeds of my house, so I empathise with @mj on all that stuff.

    The bit about ‘if you pursue your dream you will succeed’ does nothing for me – it’s propaganda, and generally the ‘failures’ end up as the unpublished majority. And many great ideas have been eclipsed by business dealings that have nothing to do with the greatness of the idea – greatness and dreams are not enough in business.

    My main comment is this – business is ultimately an issue of pragmatism, and one charactistic that the US has (since it keeps popping up for comparison) is that it is a pragmatic nation.

    So, while we might air our frustrations about what is or isn’t working with NI plc, let’s also keep going back to basics, which to my mind is:

    1) This is where we are now – what can we do?
    2) Given that – what should we do next?

    I agree entirely with @mj – discussion and exploring change.

    Keep going.

  21. Matt – you are wrong, plain and simple.

    Having been a non graduate on a FUSION program let me tell you there is 50% funding of salary to a ceiling and there is a training budget allowing the candidate to go on courses, plus there is a minimal expenditure allowance to buy things like computers. In addition the involved academic institution receives funding.

    I know, for I was that FUSION candidate, and I had to do all the claims forms.

    I also think you undermine your argument somewhat by claiming a “Global” eye, but then looking only to VC funding in NI. (Also, not all of us choose to live here)

  22. Your central thesis is that we need an active VC community to make us globally competitive. Bollocks, we need people with ideas and the balls to risk everything in order to succeed.
    The people on the rich list didn’t make their money with VC funding or through safe bets. They made their money by in your words “sweat, mortgage the house, exhaust themselves with multiple jobs, put their family on the line”. This is life of the people who want to build something.

    “You said earlier we don’t have public role models? Now we just don’t have the right people, we just have wannabes? Which is it?” Sorry but where’s the contradiction? Wannabes who spend their time making excuses and looking for the easy solution of government hand-outs and VC funding aren’t role models. Patently the wrong people and therefore no role models.

    I didn’t say that hard work and risk taking guarantees success but I can assure you without it there will be nothing. You seem to be expecting others to bear the brunt of the risk. VC’s expect to see a high failure rate but hope to make it up with the occasional big win. This is the reality of business, some win most lose.

    For 40 years we’ve hidden behind an economy ruled by the victim mentality and dominated by hand-outs. The linen and engineering industries failed, don’t worry the government (through IDB / Invest, EU, IFI etc) will bail us out. Manufacturing declined, no problem, the government got us call centres. World economy in recession, why worry, the civil servants pay packets will carry the economy through. When we had a chance to shine with a global upturn and the advent of peace what did we do, knuckle down and work hard. No, instead of using the equity in our houses to grow new businesses, we went for the quick easy money in the property market and spent the rest on improving our ‘lifestyle’.

    So as for not knowing what Northern Ireland needs, that’s simple, it needs a good kick in the arse. It’s time to move on, we’re part of the real world now. No one is coming to the rescue this time, no hand-outs, no grants, no risk free money. Our future depends on people who are willing to work hard and risk everything. When we can hold up role models who have tried and failed and tried again then maybe we can get rid of the culture that expects someone else to solve our problems.

  23. @Gaz Hay – read the terms of FUSION:
    A high calibre graduate is recruited and based in the company to champion the project. S/he is the link and agent for technology transfer between the university or college and your company.

    Also the graduate is not in-region so an NI company would place the graduate south of the border.

    How do I know? Spoke to IntertradeIreland this morning to check my facts. I don’t care how your company managed to ‘arrange’ things but these are the terms of FUSION and, frankly, are irrelevant to the main discussion.

    As for your other argument – the whole point of this is to attract external VC funding due to a conservative local VC Market. There has been plenty of discussion about this here, on Twitter, on FaceBook. Pay attention.

    You’re arguing on your own here with your own point to prove – whatever it is – and anonymously as well.

    . We have hard workers in NI who need to move to the next stage with private funding. Folk who have been through this in SV are happy to help work on a model that will take hard working, talented people through a process that can make them globally competitive. No-one else is offering more – so I say we take them up on this offer. They’re both experienced and competent – role models and not just wannabes. So what’s your point?

  24. Another option might be in the way you structure your start-up.

    The first company I worked for took a staggered twin track …started with consultancy and once that was up and running used the profits to fund a R&D arm. Combined with R&D grants from INI it worked out well for them and they sold up the product side of the business for a handsome exit and started the process all over again.

    On a smaller scale (i.e. just one or two people) lets say for the sake of argument in the iphone app development business one could perform outsourcing work while the other develops the product alongside.

    It’s not the be all and end all, but it might work for a few people…

  25. Hi James,
    Bootstrapping is a time-honored way to start a company 🙂 Most of the cool software companies I know started out that way.

    Glad to have you aboard 🙂

  26. Wow, that’s the last time I go to bed for eight hours!!!!!

    If NI wants Lagan Valley to be the next Silicon Valley, look to SV for a potential blueprint for the DNA.

    Good university ……………… check

    Smart folks …………………. check

    Venture Funds ……………….. #Fail

    Attitude ……………………. B-

    Experience ………………….. C-

    Success breeds success. Serial entrepreneurs create the next *generation* of startups. It’s exponential.

    NI has some “dumb money”, not much … you get a check and a chartered accountant. IRR to LP’s is pathetic, venture=risk, and the immutable laws that show the relationship between risk and reward clearly point to very little risk taking. BUT, “value investors” add value; been there, done that, started company, raised money, created wealth (for all) are what’s MISSING from NI.

    What % of the funds in NI are sourced by public money? What returns do they get? Perhaps you could look into those questions?

    Sorry @anon, you are only partially right, there needs to be a lot more skin in the game, shows committment, but you cannot grow a software industry without smart venture funds. And you can’t grow it with the civil service leading.

    I’d immediately stop all government grants, stop supplying cash to VCs that do not add value or generate returns above “bank rates”.

    Glad to see we’re not lacking opinions here 🙂

  27. In fact – if we could remove this comment thread I think it would be a good idea – seeing as your comments about my former company “arranging” is a thinly veiled accusation of fraud – i think it would be best to remove them.

  28. Are Helix a NI or RoI company? That makes a difference. If they RoI based then they can place you in the North. If NI based, then you have to be south of the border.

    Either way – Fusion is on record.
    “Up to £47,750/€59,690 will be made available to each project, to fund 50% of the recruit’s employment costs and 100% of other eligible costs. ”

    I’m not denying FUSION is a great programme – of course it is – Intertrade have some of the most progressive programmes available. But it’s not a full grant that can be used for *anything* and by their own admission it’s for graduates. If you don’t have a degree or diploma and they hired you anyway, then it’s entirely possible they ‘arranged’ something due to your experience? FUSION is a Knowledge Transfer Programme.

    [[EDIT: Turns out you are a graduate. Despite what you said above. That just boggles the mind.]]

  29. In that you are supposed to be newly graduated, and I wasn’t, whatever – it’s a great source of funding and knowledge but just pointing out “facts” and cimota need pinches of salt sometimes

  30. Lively discussion, read all of it.

    I don’t know if this helps any, but a televangelist here in the States accomplished a lot by breaking everything down into little bits. That helped him to fund and build the Crystal Cathedral. He needed X dollars and one day asked, Well, I can’t get X dollars, but how many people could I get money from that would then add up to X?

    That approach makes a lot of sense. You begin to ask, Well, instead of X, if I had this fraction, what could I accomplish with that? And if that would give me something to show others, could I then get another fraction of X to continue … and so on.

    It does no good looking to history for how other people did it. First of all, no one really tells the truth. Second, you only find out — and rarely — after death that the first fortune was made illegally. Andrew Carnegie, for example, made his first money via insider trading — or that time-worn principle, “He who has, gets.” Not exactly an example anyone can go out an emulate from scratch!

    Good luck to you.

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