December 5th marked my second year of blogging personally (I had previously been a corporate blogger for 7 years at Bazaarvoice as our CEO). I began blogging primarily as a service to entrepreneurs - a form of giving back to the community that I believe is the greatest force for change. If you are wondering why my blog is named Lucky7, it is as a tribute to my amazing mother, who passed away two years ago. Myfirst Lucky7 post on December 5, 2012 was a revisit of my manifesto written to the Bootstrap Austin community on March 15, 2005, months prior to starting Bazaarvoice. Much has changed in the nine years since and it wasn't unusual at all for Austin startups to raise seed capital vs. bootstrapping in 2014.
My wife, Debra, and I were very active with Hurt Family Investments in 2014, growingour startup portfolio to a total of 33 companies, of which 23 are headquartered in Austin. We feel very fortunate to work with so many dynamic leaders across a wide range of industries, although our primary focus is Software as a Service (SaaS), with 19 of our 33 portfolio companies in that category.
Looking back on my most popular Lucky7 posts of 2014 - as measured by how many comments they received (the blog is, after all, named Lucky7.io - the .io stands forinput and output) - it appears that authenticity reigned just as it did in my most discussed 2013 post (titled "Listening to your soul").
My most discussed post of 2014 was the longest one I've written since I began blogging - at over 8,000 words - and it was on a topic that on one level is very complex and on another is very simple. That post was my in-depth review on what I've learned about eating animals and how I believe our food supply will evolve. In some ways, what I wrote is the ultimate "inconvenient truth" and that is one of the reasons I believe it was so discussed. Also, changing your diet is one of the hardest things that one can choose to do (New Year's resolutions, anyone?) because it requires one making a choice at every meal. I want to sincerely thank the people that commented on this post as I learned a lot from their perspectives. The discussion was very civil but no less provocative; read for yourself!
The runner-up was my three-part series on entrepreneurship and Part One and Part Two were tied with the most comments. Part One started the series exploring a typical question (one I see often on Quora, for example), "Is it too late for me to start my own business?") as well as other questions that hold people back from diving into entrepreneurship. Part Two explored who the new generation of entrepreneurs are and why I believe we are in the new Golden Age of the technology industry. And Part Three wrapped up with a poem of sorts to explore the soul of entrepreneurship. The comments made writing this series a lot more fun for me (I encourage you to read the comments to learn from others) and if you look at retweets, Facebook comments, or the fact that Wharton Magazine republished the series, the reach was far greater than my two-part series on eating animals.
In third place was my call to action for CEOs: to learn and actively engage in the art of selling. I learned from the startup CEOs that commented on the post, and I think you will too. This is a very important topic for startup success and I was in a contemplative state when I wrote it, synthesizing some of the feedback I share with the startup CEOs we invest in.
Thank you for reading Lucky7, and I wish you a very prosperous and meaningful 2015. The Austin startup scene is in a very exciting place and it also appears our overall economy is picking up steam, so 2015 should be quite interesting. I look forward to the journey!