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Paul Jozefak
Hamburg, Germany
I am building companies from our base in Hamburg, Germany.
Recent Activity
I changed gyms about a year ago due to logistics. Nevertheless, one very odd thing occurred to me at the new place which dumbfounded me for quite some time. A lot of people came into this gym and didn't shower after working out. This seemed very odd to me....on top of being kind of disgusting. Were all the people coming by bike and showering at home? Were they ashamed of showing their imperfect bodies in the shower? Is there a new trend I missed...the Paleo of showering or something along those lines? Well, no, it's far simpler. I actually asked... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2016 at Babbling VC
A couple of years back I was enamoured with the idea of reputation and the reputation economy. I even came close to joining a startup focused on reputation but am glad I didn't. I even had an idea to start my own business around the management of online reputation. Unfortunately, I don't believe that the evolution of our online behaviour is healthy when it comes to reputation. I'd actually think twice about starting a business based on reputation now because I'm quite concerned where everything online is headed. We've all started influencing our online behaviour based upon the fact that... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2015 at Babbling VC
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone but it bears reminding. Never blindly trust market data regardless of whom it comes from. I remember all the years of reading business plans and seeing market data referenced. So and so market is so large and so forth. Such and such is booming right now. Useful at times but usually bullshit. At best, it was skewed only slightly but most likely totally off. Relevant to you is the fact that the provider of the data doesn't give a shit about your performance. It is there for the publisher's benefit. The only... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2015 at Babbling VC
There have been multiple angles when it comes to reporting on wearables. They were all "dying" after a report came out last year. Now again, people are arguing that the days are numbered for wearables. Unfortunately, two years in a row people are getting it wrong and will continue to do so. Let's start off with a definition. For me and the purpose of this post, I am referring to "wearables" as encompassing anything you wear to either track fitness, get notifications or measure health, etc.. I am splitting out a category of wearables I'll broadly refer to as "smartwatches",... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2015 at Babbling VC
As a former hockey player, I love using this Wayne Gretzky quote from my title.....too often at times. Yet, It reminds me over and over of how to think in business. There's been this exit in the German market announced officially yesterday that has received quite a bit of press, including my own. One of the aspects that hasn't yet been written about is what the founders did to get to this exit. I guarantee you that this happens to be one of the steps that every successful founder I have had the pleasure of witnessing in Germany has done... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2015 at Babbling VC
Someone made a comment this morning about offering large amounts of equity at the early stages of a start-up's life to find employees. It went along the lines of labelling the folks that are incentivised by equity as either fools or mercenaries. It basically implies that you are either dumb or tactical to take a large equity stake early as your main motivator. I don't necessarily disagree about the part referring to motivation. If profiting from equity is your main reason for joining a start-up, you will most likely be disappointed. There are one-off opportunities to strike it rich but... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2015 at Babbling VC
I wrote a tongue-in-cheek tweet this morning after seeing someone post slides Mike Butcher was presenting at an event. pjozefak Want to get on @TechCrunch? @mikebutcher explains how. OR pro tip: be smart & say "I'll sponsor your next event!" ;-) 22/02/15 10:58 He was discussing how best to get bloggers to write about you and I agree with everything he said. If you want to get written about, heed his advice...he's been at it a while. Yet there's one thing a blogger really can't say without coming across like a dick. Get to know them! PR and working... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2015 at Babbling VC
I've seen this happening over the years but it seems to have come to a fever pitch in the past year or so. Ever more people I run across or who apply for positions have held the title of "Entrepreneur-in-Residence".....better known as EIR's. This has become one of the most loaded terms in the startup world. The majority of the folks don't realise that this is one of the most bullshit titles out there now. Back in the 90's, EIR's showed up in the Valley. Here's the thing though.....these were really entrepreneurs. Usually EIR's were guys who had already exited... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at Babbling VC
This is one hell of a biased post so let me get that out of the way right off the bat. Being that I am from Slovakia and was just there for the Slovak Startup Awards, there is no way that this post could be considered impartial. But so be it. Having spent the past 2,5 days in Bratislava to attend the awards show as a jury member, I had the opportunity to get around a bit in town...mostly for meetings. Nevertheless, I had some coffee and food at Foxford and Urban. I ate steak at Carnevalle. I had a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2014 at Babbling VC
This is more of a fun post but there's a point to it. I was listening to a podcast this morning where Tony Robbins was being interviewed...he's out promoting his new book. I have to admit I bought it based upon the press it's been getting more so than actually being interested in the topic. Nevertheless, he makes an interesting point in the interview....which I'm presuming I'll also see in the book: "Set your goals based on realistic numbers." How long is one million seconds? 11.57 days How long is one billion seconds? 31.67 YEARS!!! Think about that for a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2014 at Babbling VC
Don't believe in email. No, don't use it at all! It's the easiest Form of communication but also the easiest way to go unnoticed. If at all, you'll be responded to at the receiver's pace and that hardly ever matches yours. Everyone I work with hears me stress the importance of phone calls. There's nothing better than getting someone on the line. Further, if you don't get them on the phone, find something other than email. Yes, there are better options. You know what everyone reads? WhatsApp or iMessage/SMS! Why? Because it could be the wife/husband, the kid, a close... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2014 at Babbling VC
It's been an interesting year so far. I think we all concur that there is a lot of hype at the moment in our startup world. I presume there is more to come as I don't see any kind of downturn in the next 12 months or so. Nevertheless, one thing has been really annoying me recently. The amount of badmouthing and bashing I hear is excessive. It all came to a head for me with the Samwer "Reportage" a couple days ago. (Sorry, only in German). Long story short, this is a piece of horrible reporting trying to bash... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at Babbling VC
I'm surprised when people tell me they don't know how to go about getting a new job or feel stuck. It's not necessarily easy to find a new job but it's definitely a simple process. The best way to go about it is to TELL EVERYONE that you are looking. I could practically stop right there and you'd have all the advice you need. Let me explain a bit though where I am coming from. The majority of people I have ever hired told me they were looking. They pinged me after reading a blog post. They mentioned it in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at Babbling VC
There's a reality in life when you try to succeed....regardless of what you are striving for. I'll call it "The Suffer" and I won't label it as good or bad. It just is. Note, it's not Gladwell's 10,000 hours when I talk about The Suffer, although the two are related. I'm referring more to the little things that you never talk about in hindsight. For example, most interviews never actually delve into the underbelly of success when it comes to The Suffer and most people, when asked how they did it, tend to focus on soundbites and the sparkle. I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at Babbling VC
I read this article this morning and found it somewhat compelling in terms of why Gen Y is unhappy. I guess a lot of it simply makes sense and not just for Gen Y. Yet it completely falls apart at the end. The advice given is not unique and I've read it often. I take issue with all of it. 1. Stay Wildly Ambitious This is "delusional", to use a term from the author. In life, you should have goals and a sense of direction. That's good. You should also be an extent. Yet, remaining wildly ambitious all the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at Babbling VC
I was happy to recently see that apprupt had sold. This was one of my early investments at Neuhaus Partners and in hindsight probably one of the more fruitful ones. Did it deliver crazy returns? Not really. Was it internationally known and a market leader in a super hot space? Also not really. Then why is it relevant? Well, it's an investment I made because of......the founders, a company I stayed engaged with.....because of the founders and a company where I remain friends....with the founders. I met Kjell and Jascha shortly after launching OpenCoffee in Hamburg. Few people were coming... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at Babbling VC
I'm glad I'm not the only one to think this internal memo is insane. Luckily, FastCompany already wrote their thoughts on Jason Goldberg's internal memo to employees trying to rally the troops. I wasn't originally even going to comment but after some thought, I wanted to add my comments. First, some background on my thoughts. I, for one, am not known as indirect nor one to hold back. I've had my share of loud-mouth comments as a manager and I've always been one to lead the charge when necessary. Nevertheless, I believe most people would concur that I surely have... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2014 at Babbling VC
We live in a "getting shit done" day and age. I won't go so far as to say it's all a scam but after years of experience, I have to say I found out the hard way how important patience is. It's usually just better to wait instead of forcing things. So often in life, things tend to work themselves out and we can't always better the outcome by trying to influence it. Now don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being focused and taking care of business. That is not what I am gettting at and you... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2014 at Babbling VC
So it's been a couple hours now that the news is out: Facebook purchased WhatsApp for €16B (plus €3B on top for employee retention). There's plenty of press out there about this so have fun sifting. Nevertheless, it seems like there are two things missing from the analysis of this purchase. 1. Facebook just made every damn other messaging app that much more expensive. They have WhatsApp now. Good luck if you are a FB competitor and are considering buying one of WhatsApp's competitors. You just found out you have to pony up a shitload more to purchase them. If... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2014 at Babbling VC
I've done my share of reference calls in my career and to be honest, the majority were basically crap. This isn't to say that I am the best individual when it comes to making reference calls but in hindsight I always wondered whether I benefited at all. Further, I always ended up questioning more why the person whom I spoke to was actually given as a reference. My personal opinion as to whom you want to call when referencing me is people who probably hate my guts. Even better, call those who think I'm a complete idiot. They'll probably go... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2014 at Babbling VC
Mark's post on what you should look for when picking a VC saw a lot of play the past couple of days. As usual, Mark writes extensively about what he feels he would do when deciding which investor to work with. As usual, his posts give great and thorough advice. Unfortuntely, in this case, I think he's taking the wrong approach to the problem. Further, I agree that I, along with a ton of other VC bloggers, often make this mistake. Telling someone how to pick their VC is basically like telling a fat kid* how to pick his girlfriend.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2014 at Babbling VC
Very few Adrian.
1 reply
This is just a theory but I would ponder that the likelihood of a VC's* success is directly related to whether they need to earn their salary or not. If a VC came into the game without needing a job, their decisions are more likely, in my opinion, to lead to homeruns than otherwise. In my eyes, it's pretty simple. If fear of financial failure doesn't factor into your decisions, you will most likely make better ones, all other factors remaining equal. I am of course presuming that the VC is skilled in another way, which is the reason they... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2014 at Babbling VC
Everyone seems so surprised that Nest sold to Google. Specifically, most are surprised by the $3.2B price tag. I am not. It's a smart move for Google and a wonderful step for Nest . Seriously, does anyone think the $3.2b is going to put any dent in Google's account? Having recently purchased my house, I'd love to install Nest here in Europe. Not possible yet but as soon as it is, I will. Further, the idea behind completely wire the house and get everything connected is very much in line with what I want to do in my house.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at Babbling VC
Seriously, speak up if you are trying to sell a product or yourself. Have an opinion and share it and if necessary, defend it. It may be a European thing but very few young people I run across lately are truly memorable or bold. There is the odd exception here and there and usually, at the far end of the spectrum. With this, I mean new candidates for positions or folks pitching their ideas or interns and students whose paths I cross. Unfortunately, almost all the rest are meek and meager in their attempts. One thing I learned along the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at Babbling VC