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Paul Jozefak
Hamburg, Germany
I am building companies from our base in Hamburg, Germany.
Recent Activity
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 yesterday 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 ambitious......to 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 Nest.....to 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
When it comes to payment, I have to admit that I am the first person to want to rid myself of cash first and foremost, followed by credit cards. Give me an app that I open and pay with at the click of a button and I'm golden. Now, I bet a bunch of you could point me to ten different solutions that already allow me to do this today. I can probably also name ten off the top of my head. Unfortunately, that's the problem. Even though we could technically leave cash and credit cards behind at this point... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2014 at Babbling VC
I'm sad to inform you that my fifth Jawbone Up has just failed this morning. This has been an ongoing saga for about a year and a half now. After the first one crapped out, I simply went "meh" and happily accepted a replacement from Jawbone. It was a bit of a "process" but they happily and politely exchanged my first broken device for a brand new one. Unfortunately, this process has repeated itself four more times (usually every 4 to 6 months). Each and every time Jawbone was extremely polite, helpful and willing to replace broken devices with no... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2014 at Babbling VC
I thought I'd kick off my return to work this year with a blog post. I spent the past two weeks mostly out of the office and in a kind of semi-vacation state. Fortunately, I wasn't travelling during the holidays which used to be the case every year. Time was spent with my wife's family and putting the finishing touches on the house. Time well spent but now I'm ready to get back to my usual routine. Nevertheless, something I am not inclined to do right now is look forward and try to predict what the year will bring. Nor... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2014 at Babbling VC
At this point, we've all probably heard of Bronnie Ware's Top Five Regrets of the Dying: I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. I wish I hadn't worked so hard. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. I wish that I had let myself be happier. That's just a summary. If you haven't read about this, go read the whole post or get the book. It really is worth it and if nothing else,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2013 at Babbling VC
Sig, been here a while. I haven't hit a "bitter phase" regarding VC. I haven't even left out the option at some point to return....it was good to me for the almost 15 years I was involved in it. Would I go out though and start a business and look for venture backing right away? Probably not! :-)
Toggle Commented Nov 4, 2013 on Signs That You're No Longer a VC at Babbling VC
1 reply
Quite enjoying it Roberto! As to the Gold status, there is that Aegean trick! ;-)
Toggle Commented Nov 3, 2013 on Signs That You're No Longer a VC at Babbling VC
1 reply
It's kind of funny that I've already been out of the VC game as a partner for almost two years and regularly still get referred to as one. At the same time, I always revert to my favorite comment that a VC career ended has a shelf-life of about six months. You are still kind of relevant in that world for that amount of time after leaving but then the telltale signs start to appear. These are listed in no particular order: The most obvious sign is that you stop receiving as many business plans. It used to be hundreds,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2013 at Babbling VC
Jason, I couldn't agree more about the mindset. That's a whole different post though when it comes to boosting the German VC scene.
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2013 on Tax Optimization As Sport at Babbling VC
1 reply
Not only is tax optimization practically a national sport ("Volkssport"), I'd even gander to say that it's more popular than football (soccer for my American friends) in this country. After almost twenty years in Germany, I have to admit that I have spoken of nothing more than all the possible ways to save on taxes. It may be the crowd I hang with but to be honest, it really isn't. It's everyone, from lowly wage slave through to management. Most importantly though, I say this without any ill will. I am not alluding to illegal tax evasion when I speak... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2013 at Babbling VC