Any fool can lose money

So much great advice can be found by reading what other leaders say and often times that advice comes from their family.  Lloyd Carney, CEO of Brocade, in a NY Times Interview for the Corner Office section on 4 September 2016 said one of the best pieces of advice he ever got was from his father who said, “any fool can lose money.”

When you work in technology for a successful company, or even if people just know you’re a techie, you get pitched lots of innovative ideas and concepts and it’s a real challenge to determine which ones are viable.  It’s easy to get excited about a new app, a new widget (what’s a widget? ), or some other cool tech that we sometimes lose sight of the business aspect and whether you can really make money doing it.

The days of the 50-page business plan and executive summary are virtually gone, so how do you evaluate demonstration on one side and evaluation on the other side that your idea is viable, has customers, and will make money to potential investors or senior leadership or even your family as you decide to venture out and make your dream come true?  I got introduced to the Business Canvas at a Philly Tech Week event and it’s life changing.  Do you know the business you want to get into well enough that you can demonstrate your value proposition and competitive concept this succinctly  (  With this relatively simple tool you can iterate your model, prototype pivots, check financial viability, get feedback and de-risk your assumptions.

Step back and evaluate what you’re working on and ask yourself that most fundamental of questions – can I actually make money doing this?  Then prove the concept, test the market and make it happen.