Author: Sean Percival

  • The Soviet War Memorial at Treptower Park (Berlin, Germany)

    The Soviet War Memorial at Treptower Park (Berlin, Germany)

    I do have a bit of a thing for very symmetrical parks. So I had to check out Treptower Park. I also love reveling in how capitalism has, and always will win. 😉

  • Podcast: The Investor Presentation Shuffle

    Podcast: The Investor Presentation Shuffle

    Listen to the Podcast: They say PowerPoint is a tool for people with no power who are struggling to make a point. There is perhaps no more poignant way to describe what founders do as they flap both their wings and their slides in the form of the startup investor presentation.  Subscribe for new episodes: […]

  • The Astronomical Clock (Prague, Czech Republic)

    The Astronomical Clock (Prague, Czech Republic)

    I was recently in Prague and there was one touristy thing I have wanted to see there for some time now. That being the astronomical clock or the Prague Orloj. It’s an absurd feat of time-keeping engineering. It is even more impressive when you think about the fact that the clock is over 600 years […]

  • New Podcast: Percival’s Startup Rants

    New Podcast: Percival’s Startup Rants

    I have a new podcast because who doesn’t have a podcast?!?

  • Podcast: The Market Downturn

    Podcast: The Market Downturn

    Yup, we’re in a market downturn. What to do? What to do?

  • Podcast: Co-founder Drama

    Podcast: Co-founder Drama

    What should you do when you hate your co-founder?

  • Podcast: Cold Emailing Investors

    Podcast: Cold Emailing Investors

    Why most first-time founders send bad cold emails and what you should do instead to get an investor’s attention.

  • Podcast: Failure to Launch

    Podcast: Failure to Launch

    It is perhaps fitting to launch this podcast with a rant about…launching. Or more specifically failing to launch.

  • Podcast: Show Introduction

    Podcast: Show Introduction

    An introduction on what to expect from Percival’s Startup Rants. A solo podcast for first-time founders ranting on startups, entrepreneurship, and the founder journey.

  • Be Cool, Do Crime (Berlin, Germany)

    Be Cool, Do Crime (Berlin, Germany)

    Berlin is a wonderful city with a rich history and an absolute shit-ton of graffiti. It doesn’t really matter what part of town you’re in, it’s everywhere. I find that charming and tried to document some of it on a recent visit.

  • Edvard Munch’s Gravesite (Oslo, Norway)

    Edvard Munch’s Gravesite (Oslo, Norway)

    For some reason in Norway UPS doesn’t always bring your package to your doorstep. Instead, they drop it off at some random store (usually across town) to be picked up. Sorta defeats the purpose of shopping online in my opinion. If I wanted to leave my hermit hole or deal with people I would just […]

  • Remnants of War and Old Towns (Tallinn, Estonia)

    Remnants of War and Old Towns (Tallinn, Estonia)

    I’ve been to Estonia a dozen or so times. However, this trip felt a bit more poignant with everything going on in Ukraine. Estonia if you don’t know has been invaded by Russia (and other nations) several times.  Despite all of that, Estonia is a small but strong nation and the Estonians themselves are such […]

  • Windmark Sculpture – Quail Lake Park – (Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA)

    Windmark Sculpture – Quail Lake Park – (Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA)

    On top of a hill around Quail Lake, you’ll see a large and what I thought was a brutalist sculpture. I found that it had several very interesting and dynamic angles to look at. Dynamic because even with a small push the entire sculpture gracefully moves and swings. Even a small breeze can give it […]

  • ‘Doc’ Holiday Gravesite (Glenwood Springs, Colorado, USA)

    ‘Doc’ Holiday Gravesite (Glenwood Springs, Colorado, USA)

    If you have seen the movie Tombstone then you likely know who Doc Holiday was. For those who have not, basically, he’s a badass American cowboy, gambler, and gunslinger. I visited his gravesite and dragged my kids along to pay our respects. His grave sits on top of a mountain so there’s a small hike […]

  • Introducing YaaS (YIKES! as a Service)

    Introducing YaaS (YIKES! as a Service)

    I can read you this post: At Iterate there’s a long-standing tradition and recently returned event called Pitch Night. Here you can pitch your best startup ideas, but we prefer if you get up and pitch a realllllllly bad idea. Because good ideas often look pretty bad at first! For example, staying in someone else’s […]

  • Did you try unplugging it and plugging it back in?

    Did you try unplugging it and plugging it back in?

    I can read you this post: My very first job in tech was perhaps at the lowest ring of the latter in our industry. That being tech support. Even worse, level 1 telephone tech support. I’m so old that we used to do that job solely in America and not some far-flung country. The year […]

  • De Kas Restaurant (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

    De Kas Restaurant (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

    I love a fixed menu because I don’t have to think about what to order. They just bring you lots of unique dishes and combinations you might never otherwise think of. A great example of this is the De Kas greenhouse restaurant where the majority of what you eat is grown on the same property […]

  • Putting the fun in fundraising!

    Putting the fun in fundraising!

    Iterate (my work) has received an investment of 100 MNOK ($11.3M USD) and formed a strategic partnership with Aars AS. Aars is the Møller family office and investment company that owns organizations such as the Møller Mobility Group, OneCo, Møller Eiendom, InfoCare, and Alfa Sko. The group had a total turnover of 40 billion NOK […]

  • Are you worried you’re not web3 enough?

    Are you worried you’re not web3 enough?

    Don’t be ashamed! Cryptotile dysfunction affects millions but now you can do something about it. Here’s how to be more web3 in 3 easy steps: Change your profile photo to an NFT. There are no faces in web3, just very very bored apes. Completely pivot your career to web3 and hope no one notices. Let […]

  • Failing to Fly Around the World

    Failing to Fly Around the World

    This year I failed to fly around the world. You see, I’ve been tracking every flight, every flight mile, cost, and the C02 generated from my air travel. 2021 is the first year I didn’t fly enough miles to circle the globe in some time. Here’s the last few years breakdown: 2019: 56,550 miles flown […]

  • The Metaverse is Here! (Again)

    The Metaverse is Here! (Again)

    Like any self-respecting geek, I read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash in my early 20s. It was a transformative experience and likely drove much of my interest in the tech industry as a whole. For the uninitiated, this is where the term metaverse was coined, it encompassed a virtual world where players (represented by avatars) lived […]

  • Social Media is Us, and Using Us

    Social Media is Us, and Using Us

    Oh yes, you’re reading a personal blog post/rant about social media just like it’s 2006 all over again. So queue up ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ by Shakira on your iPod, shout out “verryyy nice” like Borat, and add some glitter graphics to your Myspace page because here we go.  It was of course in 2006 when […]

  • Event industry, please go easy on us.

    Event industry, please go easy on us.

    You can already sense it and, in some cases, feel it. Jet engines are revving up. Hotel conference rooms are getting dusted off and ready. Somewhere, probably in a sweltering factory, workers are assembling thousands upon thousands of lanyards ablaze with the hashtags….#dreamforce and #con this and #con that. Oh yes, with the great reopening […]

  • New Book: Living with Norwegians

    New Book: Living with Norwegians

    I have written and will publish a new book called Living with Norwegians, a companion and follow-up book to Working with Norwegians. This guide is a collection of personal experiences, Norwegian stereotypes, and friendly advice on how to survive life in Norway. It’s the ideal starting point for someone who is curious about life in Norway and […]

  • Marketing activities that are generally a waste of time

    Marketing activities that are generally a waste of time

    I’ve been thinking back to marketing activities I’ve done that have proven to be a waste of time. Much like venture capital, marketing follows the 80/20 rule aka only 20% of what you do actually makes an impact. Here are a few things you might want to avoid. As usual, this is mostly geared towards […]

  • Introducing Percival Publishing

    Introducing Percival Publishing

    I’ve started up a small boutique publishing company, as one does during a lockdown. It is not so modestly called Percival Publishing. I primarily use Percival Publishing to handle distribution of the various books I’ve written. I’m also helping other authors sell their books into the Norwegian market. This small but lucrative market has its […]

  • How not to bore your investors during a video pitch

    How not to bore your investors during a video pitch

    As a founder you have 99 problems and a good video pitch is one. Since the pandemic hit, I’ve been part of about 100 video-based investor pitches. Unfortunately, I must say that most are pretty bad. Here are a few things you can do to make them less bad. Your future investors will thank you.  […]

  • The Pandemic Themed Home Office Gear Guide

    The Pandemic Themed Home Office Gear Guide

    The office is dead, long live the home office. This is actually great news for me as I’ve always had a home office. Mostly because I used to be a terrible workaholic while at the same time being a bit of a hermit. So as the world shut down and the idea of working in […]

  • Note to My Future Self: A 2020 Retrospective

    Note to My Future Self: A 2020 Retrospective

    Dear Future Self, Regardless if you read this in the year 2020 or many years in the future, I don’t think I’ll have to remind you just how strange the year 2020 was. It was a time of much uncertainty and great restrictions. However, instead of focusing on the many things you couldn’t do this […]

  • Sleeping Through a Pandemic

    Sleeping Through a Pandemic

    How are you sleeping these days? I imagine for many of you not so well. Our schedules and routines have been upended as we no longer need to go into the office or go pretty much anywhere. The morning rush hour for many replaced with quickly fixing our hair before jumping into a video meeting […]

  • A List of Very Good Things to Happen During These Very Bad Times

    A List of Very Good Things to Happen During These Very Bad Times

    My last blog post was probably a wee bit negative. Hey, these are tough times. We’re all a bit anxious and worried so can ya really blame me? So to counter that, I’ve started to compile a list of some of the good things happening during these bad times. Have some good news to recommend? […]

  • This all sucks (and it’s OK to say it)

    This all sucks (and it’s OK to say it)

    Yup, everything really sucks right now, and it’s more than OK to say that, hell scream it aloud or at the very least acknowledge it. This, however, doesn’t seem to be the case as in addition to our N95 masks we seem to be wearing another mask, one of misplaced or perhaps even faked bravery.  […]

  • Coronavirus Tales Under Socialism, Democracy, and Social Democracy

    Coronavirus Tales Under Socialism, Democracy, and Social Democracy

    In a period of 30 days, I’ll have lived the Coronavirus (COVID-19) under three very different governments. Who infected it best? I’ll break it down and grade them for you. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Unitary Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist republic At the start of this month, I got on a jet and flew to Vietnam […]

  • Marketing Consultant Rules of Engagement

    Marketing Consultant Rules of Engagement

    Clickbait alert! You thought you were coming for a witty guide to the world of marketing and working with clients. First, a word from our sponsor (me) to let you know I recently became a free agent and am available for consulting projects. Growth marketing, accelerator management, fundraising support, song & dance ensembles, surprise me. […]

  • New Book: The Accelerator Survival Guide

    New Book: The Accelerator Survival Guide

    My next book is now up for pre-order and shipping in a month. The Accelerator Survival Guide: How to lead, design and execute great programs. This guide is a collection of experiences, a few rants, some frameworks, and awesome startup accelerator best practices. It’s the ideal starting point for program directors but any member of […]

  • My First Children’s Book: Goodnight Fortnite

    My First Children’s Book: Goodnight Fortnite

    My next book is something different as it’s a children’s book. This one is also for the parents and specifically those with kids that play way too much Fortnite. Introducing Goodnight Fortnite: A parody to make them stop playing and go to bed. It’s a parody of the classic children’s book Goodnight Moon written in […]

  • My Next Book: Marketing WTF

    My Next Book: Marketing WTF

    I’m challenging myself to do a lot more writing and as part of that publishing more through Amazon. To get updates on future releases please follow my Amazon Author Profile and my Goodreads page. I hope to publish around 10 books before the end of 2020 on startup stuff, a children’s book and even some fiction writing.  To that end, my […]

  • Serial entrepreneur Sean Percival joins appear.in as CMO

    Serial entrepreneur Sean Percival joins appear.in as CMO

    “When I first relocated to Oslo from Silicon Valley appear.in was the very first company I wanted to work for. So I’m incredibly excited to be able to join today and at a point when the business has already begun a nice growth trajectory. With such a large user base already that includes millions of […]

  • PercivalCoin

    PercivalCoin

    I have my own blockchain. What you don’t?! Get with the times man. Funny backstory, I started this blockchain privately back in 2013 called PercivalCoin. Basically ICO’ing myself before it was cool. I then promptly got distracted with other things and didn’t keep working on it. However thanks to Mark Rizzn Hopkins keeping a single copy of […]

  • The Loud American: Working with Norwegians

    The Loud American: Working with Norwegians

    My next book, The Loud American: Working with Norwegians is coming.

  • The Katapult Accelerator Coming to Oslo

    The Katapult Accelerator Coming to Oslo

    I’m happy to announce that I’m helping to launch the Katapult Accelerator starting July 31st, here in Oslo, Norway. We’re looking for startups focused on environmental and societal change. Basically companies who are looking to do good in the world. You can read more about the type of startups we’re looking for in the Request for […]

  • Ask an investor: What should I do if I hate my co-founder?

    Ask an investor: What should I do if I hate my co-founder?

    It was an early Monday morning when a flustered founder was sitting in my office waiting for me. You see in this industry Monday is often a bad-news day. That’s usually when a founder or startup breakdown moment finally hits the wall. An eruption takes place the week before and, after thinking about it over […]

  • Ask an Investor: Why is no one investing in my startup?

    Ask an Investor: Why is no one investing in my startup?

    This piece originally appeared on the Norwegian tech blog Shifter Sean Percival is an American investor and entrepreneur with investments in over 120 early-stage startups. Formerly a partner at 500 Startups, today he works with X2 Labs, in Stavanger, and several startups in Oslo. Here, on Shifter he gives candid answers to common founder questions. […]

  • Ask an Investor: How much should I pay myself as founder?

    Ask an Investor: How much should I pay myself as founder?

    This piece originally appeared on the Norwegian tech blog Shifter In the many great sagas of Silicon Valley founder stories, you hear a lot about teams starting with nothing and struggling to get through those tough first years. For example, at 500 Startups we had a founder living in an old van in our office […]

  • Founder Real Talk From the Edge

    Founder Real Talk From the Edge

    On September 1st, Franklin Wise was not having a great day. He had just finished moving out of his San Francisco apartment, which he was forced to leave behind when a startup job didn’t work out. He was devastated over that; he didn’t want to move and was struggling with the changes he was undergoing. […]

  • Things to Do While Everyone is at Burning Man

    Things to Do While Everyone is at Burning Man

    Drive Drive up and down the 101 (both in LA and SF) and enjoy the light traffic. Even if you don’t need to go somewhere, just drive. There’s also going to be a lot more parking so go nuts and double park; you’ve earned it. Get Laid Normally people go to Burning Man to get […]

  • Investor-to-Founder Translator

    Investor-to-Founder Translator

    In the world of startup fundraising, sometimes it’s hard to know what everyone is saying. Buzzwords comes and go faster than you can call for an Uber. The “art of the pitch,” as they say, is constantly evolving to keep up with the times. However, as the trends change, one part of investor-to-founder communication has remained rather constant. During […]

  • The 5 People You Meet in Silicon Valley Heaven

    The 5 People You Meet in Silicon Valley Heaven

    Now that I’ve lived in Silicon Valley for two years, it feels like I’m overdue to write about some of my experiences. To that end, I want to talk not about the booming tech ecosystem, or the rising cost of living and the challenges that’s creating. No, instead let’s talk about a few of the archetypes you […]

  • The Law of Jante, Founder Edition

    The Law of Jante, Founder Edition

    I have spent great deal of time in the Nordic countries over the last year. Throughout all my travels there, one of the most interesting cultural lessons has been about The Law of Jante. Check the Wikipedia listing for the details, but at a high level, it’s an idea that discourages individual success. Instead, it […]

  • Field Guide to Unicorn Startups Around the World

    Field Guide to Unicorn Startups Around the World

    Startup unicorns (a company with $1B+ in valuation) seem to be everywhere these days.  Yes, it’s not just Silicon Valley adding these mystical beasts to their stables. In fact startup unicorns are popping up all over the world. Of course just like unicorns these valuations might not be real. Either way, it’s a frothy market and we’re […]