Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And now for something completely different ...

And now for something completely different ...

... well, different to the extent that, for the last six months, I haven't put up a single post. And, though I freely admit this is inexcusable, please at least allow me to attempt to explain ...

My first posting interruption was caused by a new e-commerce business that captured my attention early this summer. It was an elegant business idea that combined some current theories in mass customization with both social media and discovery engine concepts. My hope was that we had a potential ETSY killer/competitor. I built up a very solid founding team and we went through a few rounds of VC pitches. Unfortunately, after several month's work, we were unable to come up with a model that successfully bridged some unique projected cash flow issues that the company had. For various reasons it is (was) a broken model. I'm still tinkering with the concept and have it on deep back burner -- my hope is that a new approach will come to me when I am not actively pondering it. But it definitely took up any spare blogging minutes I had during summer and fall of last year.

Winter of last year had three different distractions.

First, my son Jasper Arjen was born in September. A healthy flying Dutchman, he is keeping us busy.

Second, I have been very involved in my retail business, These Four Walls. As I am sure you can imagine, the retail furniture business has been DISMAL for about 15 months. We focus on international antiques and custom or one of a kind items, but -- unfortunately -- these sectors are fairing as well as the overall furniture industry. We have an 11,000 square foot show room in downtown Richmond and another 5,000 square foot warehouse. Our overhead costs are substantial and the day to day management and survival of our business has taken a lot of time. We are currently hopeful that we will be able to make it through this continued downturn, but it has certainly not been easy.

Third, the legal business. It has picked up. I realize that I only can provide anecdotal data, but the last half of 2009 was very busy for me and my team. I closed almost two dozen transactions in 2009 and the vast majority of these closed in the final 4 months of the year. The terms may be more "investor favorable" than 2007, but at least my VC fund and VC money eligible clients have been doing deals again at a pretty good clip. After the first half of 2009, it felt really good to be busy again.

However, while these various distractions may suffice as reasons not to post, they are really only excuses. Recently, a few of you folks have reached out to me and asked if I was done blogging. A few others have asked questions about older posts -- reminding me about the long tail of blogging and social graphs. I realize now that I have a few more things to say and I hope that you will be patient enough to stick around for me to say them.

Anyway -- I am back to posting again. Hopefully, you will enjoy what I have to say about my run ins with venture capital, technology, the law and general ridiculousness. If not, my apologies.

-- Hank

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Dividends and Preferences by Hank Heyming is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.