A Startup Founder’s Holiday Gift Wish List

December 1, 2011

11:30 am

You have a special someone for whom you must buy a gift this holiday season.  This person is a unique breed.  He or she is a startup founder and always on the go. You asked them what they want for the holidays, and they gave you the following list:

  1. $3.5 million in funding for their pre-revenue company from New Enterprise Associates at a pre-money valuation of $20 million for common stock with no participation
  2. Simultaneous Tech Crunch, Mashable and Tech Cocktail reviews confirming that this startup’s product or service is a must-have requirement if you want to be invited to eat lunch at the cool kids’ table
  3. An 80 Klout rating
  4. A jet – and not just any jet like a silly old Gulfstream; no, they want a tricked out Boeing 737
  5. Toys to rival Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison’s, like a MIG fighter jet, yacht and house complete with a trolley to the pool

And that is what entrepreneurs do. Dream big, ignore obstacles, and skip the little details – like reality.

You, on the other hand, have a realistic view.  Your last name isn’t Rockefeller, and the rent is due in a couple of weeks, so you need a normal list of presents for your own personal Meg Whitman or Bill Gates.

You’re in luck!  Here is that list – just a few days late for Cyber Monday.

1) Must Have Books:

  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us– Daniel Pink’s ground-breaking missive on harnessing the power of Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery to get the maximum performance from your team.
  • Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne – For every entrepreneur who wants to found the next Google or Facebook.  This book focuses on why being the next anything translates to being shark bait in an ocean of blood – it offers strategies to define a new space in clear blue oceans.
  • Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose – History that reads like fiction and gives you the clearest illustration of what separates great leaders from mere mortals.
  • The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara– Fictionalized history based on true characters, this book is required reading for leaders in training at West Point.  It compares ordinary people who achieve greatness with people in power who fail.

2.) Must Have Device and App – Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner and the premium version of Evernote. Easily rid yourself of paper by scanning and indexing all of your papers.  Store your records in searchable form in the cloud so they are accessible from your computer, phone and tablet.  Basically, you can walk around with a file cabinet of your life.

3) A Starbucks Refillable Gold Card – Get every 15th drink free – plus a freebie on your birthday – from your ad-hoc, shared office that offers free Wi-Fi and that’s probably just a block away from where you actually live.

4) Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 – Just $149 dollars with no contract required.  Turn it on or off as you need it. 3G plans available by the hour, day or month. OK so it’s only 3G, but isn’t that fast enough for the rare times you’re not near a Starbucks?

5) FoundersCard – Called the American Express Black Card for Entrepreneurs, the card offers access to exclusive events and benefits from airlines, hotels, and fitness centers.

Photo Credits: MIG Jet Fighter – Grass Roots Motor Sport; Yacht – Slacker.CO.ZA; House – Living Design Home.

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Glen Hellman (@glehel), is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, and works for venture capitalists as a turn-around specialist. He is the Chief Entrepreneureator at Driven Forward LLC, frequently muses on his blog, Forward Thinking, and works with entrepreneurs to help them figure out what to do and get them to do it.

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