A regular question of my students at UC Berkeley is "How do I select my first/next job? How do I know the culture is right for me?" Paraphrasing Jordan B. Peterson When a society is corrupt, then the powerful rule. When a society isn't corrupt, then the great have authority. What is greatness? When the … Continue reading Startup Culture Observations
Benchmarks are great to tell you where you are compared to others. In venture capital, there are three common problems with benchmarks: History, math, and ego. 1. Benchmarks are History Benchmarks are backward looking. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Maybe market mechanics changed. Maybe the supply and demand of startup funding in … Continue reading The Pitfalls of Benchmarks.
[There are countless obvious lessons from Jocko's books and podcasts that apply to all people and all companies. Here are some insights that might be less obvious from the last #muster.] Some VCs talk about startups needing to be paranoid, with an obsessive attention to what is going on in the environment around them. I … Continue reading Jocko and Startups: Default Aggressive.
I talk a lot with very large enterprises in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Sometimes they have a question regarding their IT infrastructure, sometimes they want to hear about shifts in industry trends (few of them want to hear 'trends in the Silicon Valley,' thank god!). Sooner or later they tell me about their digital … Continue reading Digital Transformation Strategy — You Don’t Need One.
A quick reminder on social media basics: It used to be that you used Twitter for witty one-liners, quick comments, or something you found or #overheard. These were called "Tweets". Reminder for all C-level executives, politicians, or public figures: No more. You are making statements, not tweets. Tweets are cute and playful things, statements have weight: … Continue reading Quick Reminder: Tweets vs Statements.
[This post appeared first as a comment on Blue Dot Partners' blog, Perspectives. Philippe Bouissou wrote a post that resonated with me about The Two Types of Businesses. There are two very different types of businesses. The motivations that drive entrepreneurs behind them are quite orthogonal. Both types of businesses are critical to creating a … Continue reading The Flipside of Venture Capital.
I feel puzzled how vaguely some startup CEOs send their executives on their way to execute a "mission". Mission Statements describe the who, what, when, where, and why (the 5 W’s) of how a mission will be executed. A mission has one -- and only one! -- main goal. You might have one (one!) side … Continue reading Improve Your Mission Statements.
As VCs, we can voice observations, opinions, demands (which might or might not be met :)). We can assist, coach, or mentor the current CEO. But unless you are also a board director and -- together with all other board directors -- hire a new CEO, we cannot fix culture. Nicholas Pearce, on Dear HBR, … Continue reading VCs Can’t Fix Culture.
VCs are knowledge workers -- we convince our LPs that we know something worthwhile to justify our fees and carry we charge. There are two problems: The inherent intangibility of knowledge work; and the fact that liquidity events might take between five to nine years. You don't know if you were right until half a … Continue reading Stop Working.
lindsey.a.elliott Every day -- silently, and without notice -- we cross invisible thresholds to who we are becoming. It explains that feeling of waking up and not recognizing your life, or how you got there. A disorientation I often feel in the craze of entrepreneurship. These words from David Whyte reminded me to take notice -- … Continue reading “Every Day we cross invisible thresholds to who we are becoming.”