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What Does It Take To Be A Mensch?

According to the wiki, “In Yiddish, mentsh roughly means “a good person”. The word has migrated as a loanword into American English, where a “mensch” is a particularly good person, a person with the qualities one would hope for in a friend or trusted colleague”

And as always, Merriam-Webster defines “Mensch” in a characteristically abbreviated form as “a person of integrity and honor”. So, there you have it. But I didn’t plan on writing this post to dwell on the definitions. Instead, I would like to tell you a real story…

As so many of us do, I receive a lot of holiday wishes. Often, it comes from companies I know well, but in many cases — it takes a while to conclude that I have not the faintest idea where it is coming from…

One such email reached me last week and it came from TorQuest Partners in Toronto. And at first, I truly struggled to remember the names of the partners within the fund. But then, I had an epiphany… and vividly remembered the founder of TorQuest Partners — Brent Belzberg.

In my reply, I wrote the following: “Brent, I am not sure how I ended up on your mailing list but upon receiving TorQuest’s holiday wishes — it brought back extremely fond memories which I would like to share with you…

Next month, I am celebrating 40 years since my arrival to Canada from Israel. And back in January 1982, I mailed many letters to the prominent Jewish business leaders and introduced myself. You were THE ONLY ONE who responded and wished me a lot of success in my personal and professional life. So, yes, you have been a true “Mensch” already 40 years ago and have touched many lives. My very best holiday wishes to you and your family, too…

Minutes later, I received Brent’s email: “You are way too kind. Best to you. Brent”.

Now, please keep in mind, that 40 years ago, communication took place… by mailing letters. An envelope, a stamp, a neatly-typed sheet of paper — the whole shebang… But Brent took the time to answer the letter from a fresh immigrant to this beautiful country — with typical Canadian humility and humbleness… And I kept his “feel-good” letter for years — to remind me of his kindness.

Oh, The Gatekeepers…

I published over 150 articles over the last 5 years and posted all of them on LinkedIn, Medium, and CGE Website. I also tweeted 11,000 times and quite often mentioned the problem of… Gatekeepers.

In “The Wisdom Of Intelligent Advice — And How To Turn Gatekeepers Into CEO’s Greatest Asset” I wrote about the common problem of Gatekeepers at many large-scale corporations, Venture Capital, and Private Equity firms. And I said: “Nobody is surprised when gatekeepers take their job very seriously and ensure that the CEO remains productive. However, overly aggressive, and overzealous gatekeepers can hurt the company’s business — without CEOs even knowing it. Left unchecked, gatekeepers could be turning away existing and future clients, blocking new business opportunities — and/or preventing crucial referral from reaching the CEOs”

The pushbacks to my comments are many. The most frequent ones boil down to the prosaic…we are too busy to keep the lines of communication open. So, if the only way to reach the CEO, or a senior Partner at the PE firm is via hello@xyz.com — make no mistake: you are not as welcome to the table as you may think…

So, I often remind such corporations that with the advent of Artificial Intelligence, convolutional neural networks can be quickly built for the fast processing of emails and voicemail messages. And with Natural Language Processing and Keyword Spotting — AI can quickly extract relevant information and point the individual in charge to the right spot — for a closer review and consideration. See: My 1001 Entrepreneurial Tales: Keyword Spotting & The Magic Of Closing The Deal

Hence, I am always delighted to see the sites such as TorQuest Partners — where all the Partners, Principals, and Associates proudly offer their phone numbers AND email addresses — to be reached without enlisting the help of a gumshoe detective…

And if TorQuest Partners can do it, why do all the IT giants can’t do the same — using their billion dollars Siri, Cortana, or Alexa platforms?

So, when such a sizable and accomplished PE Group, with their latest $1.3B active Fund V tells you: “EVERY SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP STARTS WITH A CONVERSATION” — they mean it… literally, and figuratively. Well done, TorQuest Partners. Keep up the good work!

Mensch Is… Gender-Neutral

There are plenty of people with high integrity and honor around us. And I often ask myself: what would I tell them if I had a chance to do so, face-to-face?

Undoubtedly, the message would have to be concise. After all, a LinkedIn invitation can only be 300 characters long, and tweets are even shorter. So, let’s start the conversation…

My Message To Elon Musk

In one of his latest tweets on Dec 9, 2021 — @elonmusk said: “thinking of quitting my jobs & becoming an influencer full-time wdyt”. My answer was equally unambiguous. I said: “It’s time and it will be good for you & your companies. But I call it: InfluencerIQ… So, quit the CEO job & become the BOD Chairman — in all your companies. But nominate 2 Co-CEOs instead of one, a male and a female — putting Gender Equality on steroids…

Personally, I am convinced that as an influencer, Elon Musk can raise awareness of the tremendous contribution he has made to Climate Change Mitigation. Not only by producing the most branded EVs on the planet, but also utility-scale batteries. Such will become indispensable in rebuilding the power grids and expanding the infrastructure in support of the EV revolution.

My Message To Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos already stepped down as Amazon’s CEO last July. Such a move allows him to focus on other projects, like philanthropic pursuits addressing climate change. But let’s not forget, Jeff Bezos already transformed the entire industries and through his charities, he sees the socio-economic needs of the society first-hand.

So, perhaps, it’s time for Jeff Bezos to get into actual politics and utilize his vast Knowledge, Experience, and Expertise? And Jeff Bezos could bring the legislative changes & promote progressive policies with the same speed and agility he is so accustomed to…

No, his name is not Moses, and he can’t part water, but the Free World could use Jeff Bezos’ competence to address the political, economic, and social challenges we face…

My Message To Bill Gates

The same recommendations I offered to Jeff Bezos apply to Bill Gates — with one subtle difference. I strongly recommend for Bill Gates follow TorQuest’s example and ensure that Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) is more open to both: inbound and outbound communication channels …

In my post: How Bill Gates Inadvertently Assists Fraudsters — And How To Fix It… I alerted Bill Gates to the fact that “For one reason, or another — BEV can’t be contacted. There is no Contact Form to fill and there is no phone number to call. However, BEV’s Team Members are proudly displayed on its website. There are 32 names and photographs — for all to see.

Of course, there are no emails to contact the Team Members either — which creates a huge problem of a possible: IDENTITY THEFT, FRAUD & IMPERSONATION”.

Then, I described one such scam in detail and received many comments confirming that others experienced it too. So, I collected all the logs and all the copies of the emails that I received from the fraudsters — and forwarded such to the FBI for an investigation…

In conclusion, I said the following: “please rectify the situation, ASAP! You have done so much good for the planet and will be remembered for doing so — for generations! Inadvertently aiding and abetting identity thieves is an unfortunate oversight that should be resolved without delay. Hire more screeners, more competent advisers to MDs, or even ask the AI engineers at Microsoft to install more of Cortana’s bots at BEV”.

Regretfully, I never heard back — not from Bill Gates, and not from BEV… At the time Microsoft spends billions on Cortana every year, wouldn’t it make sense to develop the world’s best email screeners?

While years ago, solving the email deluge was a huge issue — the advent of social media made such problems 1000 times bigger. And as we all recently saw, companies may lose billions, overnight — if their social media platforms can’t properly detect posted threats and harassments. So, deliver the right NLP tools, Microsoft — or someone else will do it for you…

My Message to MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott is a true female Mensch of enormous proportions. She already donated US$8.6 billion to various philanthropies and individuals and also signed Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge — promising to give away the bulk of her fortune over her lifetime.

And yet, you will not find her name on shiny buildings at infamous Business Schools, or new wings of local hospitals. It is all given humbly and anonymously…

So, my only message to MacKenzie Scott would be: keep up the good work and keep doing what you’re doing. It’s an inspiration to us all and you already earned your honorary place in the Mensch’s Hall of Fame…

And Finally, My Message To Brent Belzberg

I am convinced that the best way to reciprocate kindness — is with kindness. And since Brent is running one of the largest PE funds, I thought about what is still missing in the PE Universe. IMHO, the PE World could use the “Platform Play” — similar to what CVCs are doing.

While writing about Equity Crowdfunding pressures on the VC industry, I mentioned the CVC platforms in my post: “Redefining Venture Capital With Equity Crowdfunding”. This is what I said:

“Not only companies like Amazon. Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook sit on more cash than the VC industry — they are also further incentivized and motivated to see the founders as the great adopters of… their own platforms”.

And I asked: “Be it Azure by Microsoft, or AWS by Amazon — do you REALLY think that Amazon acquired Whole Foods only because Jeff Bezos loves organic green onions? No, it is no wonder to me that CVCs are capturing the ever-growing slice of the VC market share…

And here is my “back-of-the-envelope” explanation of why CVC Platforms are all the rage… As we all know, CVCs invest in many companies (such as startups), take equity in exchange, and then license their platforms back to their investees — all at the same time.

So, for example, a CVC Platform company makes a $10MM investment in a startup and then collects the license fees for its Cloud, AI, or any other SaaS services. The startup uses the CVC software, effectively — and sells more of its own products and services to its customers.

And chances are, that in 3–4 years, the license fees make the initial equity investment break-even… This is not a bad IRR of 30% to 40%, bearing in mind that even a 20% IRR is often considered to be a good ROI — as far as PEs are concerned…

So, what are the PEs to do? Well, how about being more creative and building their own PE Platforms — that PEs can deploy and monetize quite handsomely… It’s easier than many PEs may think and it doesn’t involve leveraging the companies to the tilt — with tons of debt. It didn’t work so well for Toys “R” Us after all…

For More Information

Please see my additional posts on Linkedin, Twitter, Medium, and CGE’s website.

AI Boogeyman

You can also find additional info in my book on amazon: “AI Boogeyman — Dispelling Fake News About Job Losses”, and on our YouTube Studio channel… Thank you.

“BODs Serve Investors, Advisory Boards Are CEOs’ Best Friends”

  • Imitation works best in karaoke bars, not in business. To escape the competition, businesses need to constantly reinvent. So, I join Advisory Boards and “unlock” Radical Innovation.
  • Helping the CEOs to escape the competitive floods — is what I do. If product descriptions qualified as IP, Business Development (BD) would have been easy. The problem is that all the competitors can use the same narratives.
  • No amount of branding, marketing, and wordsmithery is going to suffice w/o utilizing BusinessAI™ — the strategies I specifically designed to achieve BD excellence.
  • As a 30-yr BusinessAI™ veteran, I offer unmatched BD investment advice to VCs, PEs, and their portfolio companies. In many cases, I also Propose, Design, Structure, Finance, and Deploy state-of-the-art Joint Ventures to bring RAPID REVENUES — just as I did w/ Verizon already 20-yrs ago…
  • As a founder of Canada Green ESCO Inc. (CGE), I used BusinessAI™ strategies in CleanTech and focused on fighting Climate Change and Environmental Risks — dealing with stranded assets at the largest utilities. In total, CGE raised $1B+ in project finance linked to solar (utility-scale and distributed), wind, geothermal, Waste-To-Energy (WTE), energy efficiency, and more.
  • My pattern recognition abilities allow me to see what is still missing & how to maximize business offerings & profitability. And as a coach & mentor, I bring unparalleled business savvy to separate the wheat from the chaff…
  • What I learned over the years is that it is not just technology innovation that makes all the difference. Business Model Innovation is as disruptive as Technology Innovation and yet I see too many companies focused on pushing their product out the door — while losing ~70% of untapped revenue streams.
  • So, you can call me: “The Midas of Business Development (BD) Innovation™” — as my advice is “worth its weight in gold”…

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I used #AI in #Technology, #Finance, & #Renewable #Energy for 30-yrs. Now, I help #VC/#CVC during due diligence of AI investments & advise their portfolio Cos.

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Oleg Feldgajer

Oleg Feldgajer

I used #AI in #Technology, #Finance, & #Renewable #Energy for 30-yrs. Now, I help #VC/#CVC during due diligence of AI investments & advise their portfolio Cos.

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