Dean Clough

December 6, 2023

Portico Darwin: What I Saw


 <2 Minute Read

Let's continue this veritable orgy of Darwin, and why not, I ask?  Wrapping up 6 decades, which I do Friday, certainly justifies droning on and on about my favorite subject.  Right?  RIGHT?

What follows is my wildly egotistical version of Ray Dalio's Principles, a book I finished recently.  As you may know, Dalio started and ran for years a very successful hedge fund company, Bridgewater Associates.  He thus became one of the wealthiest people in the world, and felt compelled to share his brilliance.  Not just on business, but principles for life, too.

Frankly, I was not blown away.  It felt like a very long vanity project, and who wants to see that, FFS?  Seriously, much of his stuff isn't far removed from Dale Carnegie, so I can't say Dalio's content is revolutionary.  Worse, and since retiring and publishing the book (and sequels!), he's been the subject of more than one unflattering bio, none worse than this recently published exposé of his nonsense.

So to fill the vacuum left behind by the largely discredited Principles, I give you a summary of "What I Saw," which was/is the epilogue to my entrepreneurship monograph

10 Seconds of Seriousness:  As trite or whatever the following may be, I did see each with my own eyes. 

I even went into attics to increase my understanding.

And although included in an essay about entrepreneurship, I believe what follows applies broadly.

To make it less boring, I am intentionally not providing additional information or context.  This way, you can attach your own meaning to each.   And maybe it will motivate you to read the original essay in its entirety later.

OK, here's "What I Saw".  

  • Hubris can destroy wealth

  • The minimum viable product (MVP) is a vital concept

  • Raising too much money is almost as bad as the opposite

  • Hiring matters

  • Being a first mover can be risky

  • Don't expect a salary as a founder

  • Ethics matter

  • Cold calling is very difficult

  • You can educate yourself on a complex topic

  • Relationships matter

  • You can only work so much

  • Technology has its limits

  • Getting too close to someone at work is risky

  • Don't miss the obvious

  • Good karma and positive energy matter

  • Partners matter

  • International business travel is fun and rewarding

  • You can get what you want

  • Program Management works

  • Nothing happens until someone sells something

  • Being naïve can be good

  • Guerilla marketing works 

  • The 10,000 hour thing is true

  • Jeez, there's nothing wrong with making $250,000 a year

  • Leaving money on the table is smart

  • To hire or not to hire, that is the question

  • Know when to say when

  • Raise enough money

  • Don't quit your existing job too soon when starting something new

Here's one more that's not in the original article, and it's via Ol' Purple Label.  Her advice, given to me right around my 55th birthday, at the glorious Polo Bar in NYC:

  • At work social events and at work in general, you can go to 4 occasionally with your personality.  But you can never go to 5.

Truer words were never spoken, and I think it's why I am so happy to be retired.


Having just spent the weekend with Steven and Stacey Moen Simon, it was super cool to learn I was the talk of the family.  This is from the Bostonian Marin Simon, Steven's sister-in-law and the wife of his brother, Joey "Bishop" Simon.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PORTICO!!!  I heard it was a great party - so happy for you!

And a massive shout-out to the former Bay Area playboy Kevin Monza. 

After shrugging off the hangover from my party (that's him with fellow Funston reveler Laura Gonzalez), this kid hightailed it to Dallas on Monday.  We will miss him here, but perhaps I'll visit and write that Metroplex Travel Guide so many no one is clamoring for.

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


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About Dean Clough