Brandon Gadoci

Believer, Husband, Dad, Founder & Investor. Bouncing around Venture Capital, Design, UX, Marketing, Sales & Writing. Vice President @disruptioncorp.

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7 Things Your Parents Taught You About How to be Successful That Probably Aren't’ True Anymore.

As a Generation X-er (although I feel like I’m a Gen Y trapped in a Gen X body) I am in an interesting position as I look to my parents for guidance on professional success. Their model comes from a different time and we should be collectively careful of it’s application today. Here are nine things we learned from our parents about success that probably aren’t true anymore.


First in the office, last to leave.

Our parents came from a generation where spending a lot of time at work meant that you were working hard. The more you worked, the better job you were doing. Today people like Jason Fried and Tim Ferris are challenging this idea. Our parents operated in a time where most people worked for corporations and success depended on readiness to be promoted. Organizations were more vertical than they are today and success was a factor of not only actually working hard but being seen as...

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My Biggest Piece of Advice For New Founders

I have a unique seat in the world of startups. I’ve been both a founder, investor and a portfolio manager. I’ve had failures and success. Here is a bit about my journey, followed by the biggest piece of advice I have for new founders.

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In 2010 I built a web app called StringStack. The idea was that I would create a centralized, simple place where people could blog. Users could write more than possible on twitter (a medium amount if you will). By centralizing the writing and giving authors a nice design I thought I might be able to tackle some of the discovery problem that was emerging as more and more people came online. Six months later I shut it down. It was big idea that was going to take lots of people to accomplish and I didn’t have the time or money. Additionally, no investor was going to give some unknown guy millions of dollars to do such a thing. Some three years later Ev...

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13 Thing You Might Not Have Known About Investing in Startups

The combination of public market alpha opportunities decreasing and legislation making investing in startups more interesting to more people, means startup investing is on the rise. While there is a plethora of information regarding investment management, there is a lack of it specifically pertaining to startups. With that in mind, I put together a quick list of things to consider in order to help bring new investors up to speed quickly.

  1. You can’t just invest in any company you want. Unlike the public markets, startups companies aren’t always taking money. You have to find a company that is actively raising funds and then find a way to get into that deal.

  2. There is opportunity in the trade as well as in the investment. In the public market, the trade is established and the only variables are time and price. In the private market, there is value in the trade: negotiating...

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Where will Startups be in 100 Years?

In 1914 Beverly Hills, CA was incorporated, Babe Ruth debuted as pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and the first transcontinental phone link was made between NYC & SF. Entrepreneurs by the names of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Edison, Hershey, Kellogg, Ford, Merrill and Sears were pursuing their respective missions which shaped the world we live in today. As more recent entrepreneurs, we’ve studied their journeys and perpetuated their proverbs in 140-character bursts. To answer the question of what startups will look like in 100 years, it makes sense to look at where they were 100 years ago. In that exercise we shouldn’t be surprised to find that the term startup was likely never uttered by any one of those founders.

The term startup evolved from the description of a company, product or service to the description of a person, culture and attitude. Startup describes a lean, scrappy,...

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Valuing Blackswans

I originally posted this on the Disruption Blog.


Black Swans are mysterious, rare, and elusive. As are some of the biggest valuation jumps in early stage growth companies. Take Quora, for instance.

In April of this year Quora raised a Series C round at $80MM on a $900MM valuation. That is more than double its valuation for its B round in May of 2012. And yet, Quora doesn’t make any money and doesn’t release any specific usage or user growth numbers. How could a third party ever predict that type of valuation increase?

At Disruption Corporation we attempt to do just that. Our research team rates companies across 13 metrics. These metrics include team strength, market momentum and unique advantage, to name some. We also look at market comparables, historical funding events, industry funding events, and actuals we find on a company. That research, combined with some...

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Q&A: Unique Investment Needs of Family Offices.

Below is a Q&A I did for our recent Disruption Corporation article Wealth of Opportunity: The Unique Investment Needs of Family Offices.

What makes Family Offices unique as investors?

Family Offices are unique because they are part of a small group of Advisors who are directing private client assets toward private market investments. Most of the major financial services firms prohibit their advisors from commenting on, recommending, or selling investments that their firms do have in their systems. This includes almost all early stage growth companies. For wealthy individuals this leaves a gap in their investment opportunities and more importantly their allocation. A gap that is emerging as a true way to shift the efficient frontier. Institutions have long allocated portions of their assets allocation to this asset class but individual investors, those like the ones that Family...

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Wrong

We’ve reached an interesting and exciting stage at Disruption. It’s the stage where everything is wrong, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Here is what I mean.

Our product offering is likely wrong, but we have a product offering. Our sales process is probably not right, but we have a process. The newsletter frequency and content could be improved, but we have a daily and weekly newsletter. Our blog content should be more frequent, but we have blog content. Inbound marketing could be optimized, but we have inbound leads. We probably need to track different metrics than we are now, but we are tracking metrics. You get my point.

Before you can be wrong you have to have something to be wrong about, whether an opinion, a stance, a product or service. Something that says this is how we think our value is best brought to market, here is how we think we can let...

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Unqualified

As an early hire to a startup you will likely find yourself in a position where you are under-qualified for a certain job. Strike that. You will probably find yourself under qualified for several different jobs at the same time. Breathe. This is a good place to be; you will learn and grow. It’s usually just a matter of demystification and context awareness. That said, it can be intimidating when you have such a responsibility to keep the company afloat and manage expectations. For those who are up for the challenge but feel under-qualified, here are three things I’ve learned from being in a similar position.

Make sure you have a chance to win.

A lot of time failure occurs because it was the only option. The scope of the project was too big or the success was not properly defined. As you get handed a project, problem or department, know whether or not what you are trying to...

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Playing Company

When I was 10 years old I got my two younger brothers in a room and told them that we were going to start a company. We were to call it BWG, Inc. (my initials of course). All I needed was some business cards, memo pads, and to choose which of our bedrooms would be our HQ. We didn’t have a product or service to sell, but that wasn’t important to us yet. First and foremost, we needed to have meetings. So we grabbed our chalkboard-easel and huddled up in my room (since I was the CEO and all) and we were officially in business!

Surprisingly, BWG, Inc. didn’t last very long. We never created, offered, delivered or sold a thing. In fact we never even tried… but why would we? We weren’t interested in being a company. We just wanted to play one.

Playing company is easy.

Playing company is fun because you can do things like make t-shirts, throw parties, and...

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Tap The Data Brakes

A batter steps up to the plate and a coach signals to the pitcher to throw an inside curve ball. Why? Because the coach knows that the hitter swings and misses 75% of the time when the first pitch is an inside curve ball. The pitcher nods, tucks his chin, and throws the pitch. The batter hits a home run. Two innings later, the same coach has a decision to make. Does he stick to the statistics or consider the other variables at play tonight?

Data has different degrees of utility; it can be predictive or misleading. The degree to which data can be predictive or misleading is correlated with the control that one has over the experiment that is producing the data, i.e. control over the variables in the experiment. As control of the experiment decreases, the value of the expert increases.

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When a UX Designer is trying to figure out how to entice more people to click a signup button, data...

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