James Altucher is an investor, programmer, author, and entrepreneur. He is Managing Director of Formula Capital and has written 6 books on investing. His latest book is I Was Blind But Now I See. You can follow him @jaltucher.
I’m in even worse trouble now. A few weeks ago I had to speak at Barry Ritholz’s conference but that turned out to be “only” a panel. It was a great panel but I knew I would only have ten minutes of time so wouldn’t need to prepare much although even then I was worried.
Now I’m speaking for one hour at Defrag in Boulder, Colorado next week on November 9 and I’m terrified. For one thing, all of the other speakers are smarter than me. Right before me is Roger Ehrenberg speaking about “big data”. I’m not even sure what “big data” is so right off he’s smarter than me. Then Paul Kedrosky is speaking later in the afternoon about god knows what. Paul has an excellent blog obsessed with everything from economics to weather data. So despite my expertise in speaking I’m finding I’m a bit nervous.
I could open up with the same line I used on Barry’s panel, “When I was walking over here I had an erection. Not so easy for a 43 year old without any stimulation whatsoever.” But this might not be the exact crowd for it.
Technically, the title of my talk is “Success is a Sexually Contagious Disease” but I only gave them that title because it sounded neat and it was the title of a blog post I then published. But I have no idea if that’s what I’m going to talk about or if that’s something people will be interested in.
The conference itself is about entrepreneurship. But I always am plagued by the fact that I’ve gotten somewhat lucky on this issue. My first company happened during the internet boom and I happened to be one of the few people around (at the time) who knew how to make a website. The second company I had, where Yasser Arafat was an investor, went down in flames in the Bust. The third company I sold was a venture firm. We were only sold because our top investor was so disgusted with us he wanted to buy out our ten year contract. And the third company I sold was Stockpickr.com, which I sold to thestreet.com that I already had a great relationship with. Another company that I made a decent living off was trading for hedge funds and then starting a fund of hedge funds. Everything else I did (about 16 other attempts at businesses) failed.
So I guess right now I can see if it was luck or if I learned some lessons.....