Over the weekend, I set up a new website for Point 5 non-alcoholic beer using Shopify. Previously, I had been using wordpress/woocommerce in a way that was taking a lot of time and money. Using Shopify made me realise and appreciate how web tools are now at a level where someone like me – without … More How hard is it to create an eCommerce store?
1. Sandymount Draft You might remember seeing a video last year of Sandymount’s draft dispense technology, allowing beer or non-alcoholic beer to be dispensed at a bar from a tiny keg of concentrate, by adding CO2 and filtered water. Over the last months the Sandymount team has been working hard to develop a user interface … More Things I’m thinking about in July 2020
Thanks to Trond Undheim for inviting me on his podcast earlier this week to talk about the future of beverages. Link here: https://www.futurized.co/e/future_beverages/ .
Hi folks, to better serve businesses, we are now selling half gallon jugs on ShopRespond.com – they come in four packs with one pump, so you basically have one pump unit and three refills. Best, Ronan
Over the last few months, the Point 5 team has been selling on a third party online store. As of today, Point 5 is now also selling directly on our website at http://www.PointFiveBrewing.com . By selling on our own website this gives flexibility in a few ways: We felt it was too expensive for new … More Making it easier for you to try non-alcoholic beer
THREAD ON INVESTING IN LARGE TECH COMPANIES: — Ronan McGovern (@RonanKMcGovern) May 17, 2020
When the COVID-19 Response team (Anton, Ad, Dana, Gina, John, Barry) got together, one of the issues in getting hand sanitizer production started was finding the money to pay for all of the ingredients and bottles upfront. Thanks to a distribution partner we were able to get funds to kick production off. Selling online was … More A brief story about selling hand sanitizer online.
By now, many of us are wearing masks when outdoors. I’ve found it tricky to get a comfortable fabric mask, and I’ve been lucky that my housemate’s girlfriend made me one. It was much appreciated. Some thoughts: Not everyone’s head/face is the same size. I imagine it’s tricky finding smaller masks to fit kids. Wearing … More Your ideas for making a lot of simple fabric masks
Replay video here.
Warren Buffett is likely the world’s most famous living investor. Each year, his company (Berkshire) holds a meeting with over 40,000 people where he takes questions for about six hours. This year, that meeting takes place at 4 pm Boston time (9 pm Irish time) on Saturday May 2nd and will all be compressed into … More Ronan’s Live Pre-Stream to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (Warren Buffett’s Company)
It’s a thought that dawned on me when chatting with my mother today. I feel that people are so focused on figuring out when the economy will reopen that we haven’t started to plan yet for what will happen when things do reopen. Are we planning for what will be needed to go about daily … More Has your business got PPE for when the economy reopens?
Hi folks, Covid-19 Response LLC is taking orders for order sizes of 200,000 to 1,200,000 bottles of 8oz hand sanitizer. The next available batch will ship on Friday May 8th. Please e-mail StopCorona@Sandymount.com for inquiries.
…worth googling the lyrics. It’s about 1798 in Ireland.
Point 5 has started to do some online ads for our non-alcoholic beer. Ping me if you have bought some online and would be willing to shoot a very short video on your phone while you open and taste a bottle. Free re-order for the first five in line! Cheers, Ronan
Introduction. Price matters to me when I am investing. The lower the price the more I invest. To get the best return, I don’t want to be too diversified. I want to have my eggs in a small number of baskets. Lastly, I buy and hold because this reduces the tax penalty of selling/buying stocks. … More Some ideas I use for investing. Part 3.
Introduction: I pick stocks using rules that select for companies that have a low levels of debt, that have a trusted CEO and are priced at a level that is cheap relative to how much cash they generate. The lower I feel the price is, the more money I invest. Lastly, I stick with my … More Some ideas that I use for investing. Part 2.
Introduction A simple way to invest is to split my money 50-50 between stocks and bonds – that is what I do with my 401k (retirement plan). For my other savings, I loosely stick to this 50-50 split, but I do pick specific stocks and I do that following certain rules. Overall, there are two … More Some ideas that I use for investing. Part 1.
Howdy folks, about time for me to knock the cobwebs off of this blog. Here are a few things I’ve been working on lately that you may be interested in. Or, you may just want to find out why the featured image is an aardvark. 1: Non-alcoholic Beer – Growing Point 5’s online sales. Some … More Some things I’m working on – Monday April 13th 2020
The cover of Harari’s book reads “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”. In fact, the book is more a philosophical meditation on the past, present and future of humans than a historical account. The author takes questions including: what is a human?, and, what makes humans happy?, and explores them through the lens of hunter-gatherer, … More Sapiens: My review of a book about humans
(Metaphorical) Death by bcc is the ultimate of all e-mail deaths. It ranks at the very top, above the basic e-mail blunder, and above the dreaded “reply-all”. For those that are too sensible to have fallen foul of these errors, let’s kick off with a baseline example of death by “reply-all”: You get an e-mail, from … More Death by bcc
1. Debt: The First 5,000 Years, By David Graeber. Great book because it gets us out of our very modern and restricted understanding of how money and debt work. Perhaps, most interestingly, it debunks the idea that financial crises are a modern phenomenon – rather, they have existed for millennia. The book also suggests that … More Pure Decent Books About How the World Works – May 2016
Based on what I know today today, I estimate that entrepreneurship is one third talent, one third luck and one third wisdom. Talent is not teachable and, at present, is very hard to identify in first time entrepreneurs. Luck cannot be taught nor bought but plays an important role in success, and, unfortunately, is often misinterpreted … More Part 9: Entrepreneurship = Luck + Talent + Wisdom
Sell when your company has achieved its mission. Sell when you have run out of ideas. Sell when the buyer offers a price that you feel reflects the company’s full potential. Theories on when to sell vary from the philosophical to the economic. These three mental models, gleaned from the work or writings of Elon Musk, … More Can you teach entrepreneurship? Part 8: When to sell?
Success in a startup requires skill in big sales. It is not widely known or accepted but big sales (e.g. which include hiring employees, getting investors and selling expensive products), require a set of skills that are very distinct from selling low price products (say, for less than $100). Sales is often something that we think of … More Can you teach entrepreneurship? Part 7: Be a master of big sales
A startup’s market size must be big enough to justify any upfront investment. Applying this logic suggests $5 million is a very minimum empirical market size for software startups. The same logic suggests very minimum market sizes for hardware should be larger, and, for pharma, much larger. Rigorously validating market size requires time and money and this … More Can you teach entrepreneurship – Part 6: Mastering Market Size
Raw entrepreneurial talent and a diverse founding team correlate strongly with improved startup success rates. In this blog, I’ll provide evidence for this claim and propose a way to measure the quality of a startup founding team by looking at prior startup successes and also the number of roles within the founding team. Data show that raw entrepreneurial talent has … More Part 5: The Dream Team
Over the last while, I’ve frequently heard that serial entrepreneurs have a higher probability of success. Mistakenly, though, I’ve taken this statement to mean that entrepreneurs improve by learning from past experiences. Serial entrepreneurs do have a higher rate of success, but their success may have more to do with them having the raw talent than learning while on the … More Part 4: Prior startup experience may not help much
Have you ever tried to make a decision by writing down, weighting and then rating a few different factors you felt were important? Maybe it was while picking a job, maybe it was picking a university course or maybe it was deciding on an employee to hire. If so, I think there’s a better way … More Can you teach entrepreneurship? Part 3: How to make better decisions
In this part, I’m going to combine some rules of thumb to predict the success of a startup. The model will be based on three of the four characteristics that Peter Thiel feels are important for a startup to achieve a monopoly (take a look at chapter 5). The model may give some insights into why it might be that venture … More Part 2: Check-boxes for startup success (inspired by Peter Thiel)
Based on taste tests, it turns out that experts are very bad at predicting the future price of fine Bordeaux wines – so realised Orley Ashenfelter, a Priceton economist. As told by Daniel Kahneman in Thinking Fast and Slow, when Ashenfelter built simple rules of thumb to predict prices he was able to achieve accuracy far beyond … More Part 1: Entrepreneurship is like evaluating a fancy bottle of wine
Giving advice on startups is really hard and I think this difficulty is frequently overlooked. It’s hard to advise on startups because, in the startup environment, you rarely see the same thing much more than once. To give good advice you need accurately recognise patterns, and, to accurately recognise patterns I think you need to have seen things dozens … More Can you teach entrepreneurship, part 0: The importance of seeing things much more than once
because in a few years it’ll be making fun of us.
The beauty of a referendum is that there are often only two answers, “yes” and “no”. What we have at the Paris Climate Change convention is the exact opposite of a referendum: there are far too many questions, far too many proposals and far too many possible answers. Rather than debate who should be allowed to … More Hashtag One Euro Carbon
Dear Spirit Airlines, I recently booked my first flight with you Spirit and was pleasantly surprised. You are the first airline I have seen to charge separately for carrying on a small sized suitcase. As a passenger who wears only shorts, a light white vest and sandals – even to the winter olympics – I … More Please stop giving me things for free
It’s not technology! it’s not finance! Advertising, or perhaps more correctly, marketing is the solution to our water problems and here is why. There is a great solution out there to improving our water supplies. That solution is to reuse the waste-water we produce. As Paddy Padmanathan of ACWA Power pointed out today at the world congress in San … More Marketing is the solution to our world’s water problems
The dirty secret of entrepreneurship is that, to be successful as an (for-profit) entrepreneur, you need to excel at something that is useless in itself. In short, to be successful you need to excel at capturing the value you create. While, value creation can be productive for society, the efforts needed to capture value are, in themselves, unproductive. They … More The Dirty Secret of Entrepreneurship
According to a very nice Uber driver I met on Sunday the two reasons are simple: 1) The Red Sox are losing because that was the plan 2) The Red Sox are losing more than they should be because they aren’t sticking to the original plan. Now, let me – in my absolute naivety – … More Top Two Reasons the Red Sox are Losing
I often like to ask myself whether I was arguing because there really wasn’t enough at stake. Many times I find this to be true and I’d like to try to explain why. The first time I started thinking this way was when I heard the following quote – “In academia, we fought so much because there … More The most important consideration in an argument
The strategy of investing in hundreds of early stage startups per year appears, at least in one case, to allow a return of more than 80% year on year. This is the first of a series of blogs addressing this type of strategy, pioneered by Y-Combinator, Techstars, amongst others, and known as the “Accelerator” or … More The best way to make a fortune investing in startups
The large amounts of water required in the hydraulic fracturing of shales for oil or gas is a pressing concern. In hydraulic fracturing, water is sent down underground at high pressures to fracture the rocks below, allowing gas or oil to be released and captured. When water returns to the surface it often contains large amounts … More Taking out the Salt
In a recently published paper in the Journal of Membrane Science, Prof. Syed Zubair, Prof. Lienhard and I reported on how the cost of achieving high purity water with electrodialysis, an electrically driven technology, can be reduced through hybridisation with reverse osmosis, a pressure driven technology. In reverse osmosis, water is pressurised and forced through a membrane that … More The benefits of hybridising electrodialysis with reverse osmosis