Category

Current Affairs

Trump’s Legacy of Racism

As I listened to Kamala Harris and Joe Biden give their speeches from Wilmington on Saturday, I was struck by the contrast they offered to the rhetoric we’ve heard coming out of the White House for the past 4 years. Perhaps I had forgotten what ‘normal’ actually was. Both Biden and Harris spoke to the entirety of America – those that voted for them and those that didn’t. They spoke of character, honesty, science, and a belief that our strength comes from collective action, not from divisiveness. I woke up Sunday morning, as I imagine many of you did, with the feeling that a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. That, while America remains surprisingly divided, we’re back on…

The Real Story Of America Is About Small

Below is an article I co-authored with Elizabeth MacBride of Times of Entrepreneurship (it was cross posted there on the ToE site yesterday). It’s a good companion piece to the OpEd we wrote for CNBC earlier this week. As many readers know, I’ve been working on a project highlighting entrepreneurs around the county. It’s been amazing to meet so many interesting grassroots entrepreneurs and hear so many compelling stories. I’m happy to be able to start sharing some of those. More details (and on our upcoming book on that subject) soon. Why is America so divided? The loss of small businesses may be one answer. In research for our upcoming book, we found that small business owners often inhabit the…

Functional Versus Strategic Meetings on Zoom

Like a lot of people, I’m stuck on Zoom for most of the day, although I’ve tried to mix in some regular phone call meetings – even when Zoom would be available – just to give me a break from time to time. I’ve found that Zoom works reasonably well for functional meetings and for information sharing / webinar-style meetings. When I say “functional meetings”, I mean executive team meetings, check-ins, and board meetings – ones that are fairly informational and have a relatively set agenda, but likely the kind of meetings that you have on a regular basis (weekly or monthly). However, when I’ve held meetings that were more strategic in nature – such as open-ended planning meetings and…

Make Juneteenth Meaningful

I’ve always been aware of Juneteenth but I’ve never done anything in particular to mark it. I’m sorry about that and it’s not something I’m proud of. For me and clearly for a lot of other people this is changing. I hope it can be a part of what perhaps – finally – will be a movement to change the way people of color, and specifically black people, are treated in our country. I found this reflection on Juneteenth from Daria Hall particularly poignant. It’s short but worth reading if you have a moment. There are many other authentic voices online today talking about what the holiday means to them who are worth listening to as well.  “There are deep…

Enough

I’m not entirely sure where to begin, so let me start with stating what should be obvious: Black Lives Matter That we can’t seem to agree on this in America is 2020 makes me some kind of mixture of sad, angry, screaming, crying, depressed. But how I feel and what I think isn’t important. In fact as a white person, especially a white man, my “feelings” are and should be beside the point. It’s the experience of black people that matters and they are experiencing racism daily. I don’t know what it’s like to have to think twice before going out for a jog. Or getting into my car. Or taking a stroll in a park. I get to take…

Circular Advice from the SBA

Quick preface to this note. I’m not your lawyer and I’m not giving legal advice.  As I wrote about at the beginning of the week, the SBA has made a mess of the Payroll Protection Program. Yes, there are some challenges to parts of the structure of the program, but I was referring in that post to the SBAs implementation of the program and the varied guidance they’ve given since the program’s launch. They have been inconsistent, unclear and sometimes contradictory to statements made by Treasury and administration officials. It’s led to confusion on the part of companies who applied (or were thinking of applying) and ultimately to greater loss of jobs as companies struggled to understand whether they qualified or not….

The SBA Needs To Get It’s Act Together On The PPP

The SBA’s implementation of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has been a mess. The intention was to provide needed relief to businesses that were impacted economically by the COVID-19 crisis. But, while very well-intentioned, it’s implementation has been flawed. In particular, the SBA has given inconsistent guidance that continues to change and evolve, leaving companies left to wonder if they qualify or not. The result has been not just confusion but also job losses that were likely not what Congress intended the program to result in. The Paycheck Protection Program was established by the CARES Act to help small businesses keep paying their workers. The program allows businesses with fewer than 500 employees to apply for low-interest loans to pay…

PPP and Women and Minority-Owned Businesses – We Need To Do More

I’ve published a number of posts over the past few weeks about some of the challenges of the existing PPP loans and in particular, about my concerns that the loans aren’t getting to as many of the smaller businesses that need them. In this CNBC op-ed article, Elizabeth McBride and I pointed out how the face of entrepreneurship in the United States is changing. Specifically, the number of women-owned businesses has increased 31 times between 1972 and 2018 (in 1972, women-owned businesses accounted for just 4.6% of all firms; in 2018 that figure was 40%), according to the Kauffman Foundation. But the aid programs are largely failing to address the needs of these key entrepreneurial communities and the PPP loans…

Extending and Expanding Aid – Some Policy Ideas

I was recently asked to put together some ideas for consideration for the next economic package that congress is currently working through and which I hope will both extend existing programs put in place to dampen the blow of the economic crisis brought on by Covid-19 but also extend that aid to critical areas of the economy that aren’t yet being supported by current programs. I touched on some of the issues in two OpEd pieces I co-authored with Elizabeth Macbride in the last two weeks (here and here in case you missed them). There wasn’t space in those to really flesh out a number of ideas that I think are worth thinking about, and I was only in the…

What Policymakers Don’t Understand About Small Business

Entrepreneurship in the United States has been changing in ways that many people have not yet recognized. I’m working on a much more extensive piece on these changes (and have been for some time – more on that project in a future post) but as the Covid-19 crisis took root, it became clear to me and my writing partner, Elizabeth Macbride, that policy-makers fail to understand the nature of entrepreneurship and small business in America (from the composition of entrepreneurs to the types of businesses they are starting to the rise of the “gig” economy) and that this failure was causing them to miss the mark on programs they were implementing to help. Last week, Elizabeth and I wrote an…