Three Surprising Things I Learned - Part 1

I started the Angel Invest Boston podcast as a learning enterprise. I figured that in a town a brainy as Boston, I would have no shortage of entrepreneurial intellects to pick. After recording eight episodes (nine tomorrow!) I can conclude that my hunch was correct.

Here are three of the things I learned:

  1. One In Two Hundred - That's the number of startups super angel Michael Mark has invested in that actually performed according to their initial business plan. The other 199 plus actually had to pivot. This surprising fact emerged during the recording of Episode 1 titled "Best Pivots Ever?" and you can hear it here.
  2. Bain & Co. Pays for MBAs at the Sloan School - While recording Episode 6 with biotech entrepreneur and investor Patrick Rivelli I was surprised to learn that Bain & Company pays for its employees to get an MBA. Patrick explained that the consulting firm makes loans to cover tuition, then forgives the loans over time so that the employees have incentives to stay with the company. By coincidence I am advising a young Brazilian entrepreneur whose wife is also getting an MBA at Sloan financed by Bain & Co as well. Bain however, is not the only company that does such things. Entrepreneur and angel Ralph Wagner in Episode 2 tells of IBM paying for his MBA at Columbia back in the 1950s. Even more surprisingly, the computer giant paid part of Ralph's salary while he was in the Air Force, making him one of the best-paid lieutenants on the base.
  3. Flunk Calculus, Ace Life - The above-mentioned Ralph Wagner really surprised me by saying: "Sal (pregnant pause) calculus killed me!" This led to an interesting narrative of how you could fail calculus and fail computer programming and yet have an incandescent career in computer technology. 

I have learned many other surprising things which I hope to relate in future posts.