Eli Rubel

Perpetual tinkerer. Founding CEO at Glider.com (acquired Feb. 2014).

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Support Portland, Raise Outside of Portland

There seems to be a constant stream chatter about how the Portland startup ecosystem compares to the Bay/Seattle.

Inherently, a major piece of this conversation is about the ability or inability to raise money locally. This assumes that if there is money to be had locally, it’s the better choice – raise locally, hire locally, and in doing so support the Portland startup scene.

Below, I’ve outlined three reasons why I feel this state of mind is ass backwards.

Broaden the Pool. Every time a company raises outside of Portland, it puts our city on the radar for an entirely new group of investors, advisors, and mentors. Every time a Portland entrepreneur leaves the city to find resources that either don’t exist, or are less readily available (talent pool / investment), they bring it back with them. The more this happens, the more Portland will be on the minds of those outside of our...

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What Startup Founders can learn from Vintage Motorcycles.

At some point, shit is going to hit the fan. It always does. Sometimes in a life jarring way, while other times merely a road bump.

Let me start with a story.

It was raining pretty heavily as I slowed “Charlie” my 1972 BMW Airhead to a stop behind some heavy traffic. I had a billion things on my mind. Charlie - 1972 BMW R75/5A mental check list if you will, starting wi– out of the blue my horn just started going crazy. Erratic honking mind you, while stuck behind a line of stopped cars. Immediately embarrassed, I shut Charlie off to make the noise stop. After giving him a few seconds to settle, I gave the key a twist. More noise. I was completely thrown off. Distracted. What the hell could be going wrong? In an instant, my to-do list, my day of focused productivity, all out the window. The only thing I could think about was my motorcycle horn, and how annoyed the drivers around me...

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Genuine Engagement

We all suck.

Seriously, how many times have you fingered your phone today. No really, try to come up with a number. How many times did you glance down, feel a ghost vibration, respond to a text, check your email, check your Facebook, check your…

Are we ever fully present? Are we ever truly in one place?

Watch your friends. Next time you’re together, watch them and see how often they look to their phone for “something.”

Where are our minds if we’re constantly looking for something, never fully content with the present, always half waiting for something.

Two weeks ago, I left Portland for a much needed seven day vacation. The familiar glowing cabin lights and computer powered headrest made sure to remind me that my flight was wifi enabled– a godsend any other week. I’m one of those passengers that keeps my phone on, despise the warnings. No airplane mode, service at 30,000ft. I watched...

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Don’t Build a Hammer

I learned this one the hard way, as I think most everyone does.

We’re entrepreneurs, and as such we see problems as opportunity. We evaluate the competitors, total addressable market, risk etc., and then propose what in our minds is the perfect solution.

It’s beautiful. It’s a hammer. Its handle – so ergonomic, its weight – balanced to perfection, its color – inspires accuracy and power. No one in their right mind would ever use one of the hammers that exist today over ours. This hammer- it’s a no brainer.

We get ourselves pumped up, and after collecting “enough” data we go heads down to build “a thing.” In no time, our obsession has shifted from being focused on a problem, to being focused on our solution.

You see this all the time. How many entrepreneurs walk you through their sexy Product X demo, but then get squirly once you ask them what problem they’re actually solving? In their...

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Semantics: Selling Your Company / Raising Money

Earlier this week I was catching up with a friend outside of the tech world and he asked what it was like to raise early stage capital. We started to explore the subject, and at some point he said, “It’s unfortunate that today’s business model supports entrepreneurs selling so much of their companies.”

His phrasing caught me off guard. “…selling so much of their companies.” For some reason we encrypt “selling chunks of our companies” with industry words like valuations, fully diluted basis, post conversion etc., likely because at the end of the day, it still sounds harsh too call it “selling a piece of your company.”

My immediate response was (not specific to us, but just a personal thesis,) “Well, I’d rather own 15% of a business doing $100MM in ARR on its way to significant market share, than 100% of a business doing $15MM.”

Maybe this is foolish- obviously there are some...

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Grin Fucking: The Anti-Critique

This post was originally written November 29th, 2012.

“What happened next was something along the lines of 3 founders all trying to solve what could have been this idea’s biggest pitfalls.”

Hopefully people aren’t offended by the title of my post, I couldn’t think of a better way to phr… oh wait, nope – don’t care. People need to stop giving each other bullshit feedback and instead focus on giving each other useful feedback. This post will start with a personal example of me sucking at this, followed by a challenge and general proposal for all of you.

The Story:

The other night Justin and I were chatting with Alex Benzer in Boston about some fun side projects he was thinking through.

First, a bit of background. Though his youth may fool many, Alex has run a profitable company since 2007 down in LA, and sold his first technology company while in college.

He started by explaining once...

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