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
Almost All Ideas are Wrong.
There is a fundamental truth: Almost all ideas are wrong. It doesn't matter if they are your ideas or someone else's ideas. They are probably wrong. And even if they strike you with the force of brilliance, your job is to assume, first of all, that they're probably wrong, and then to assault them with … Continue reading Almost All Ideas are Wrong.
Great Product – Wrong Deal.
In my dealflow I are often see great features, great products, and great companies. But I can only invest in great deals. Passing on your deal is not a judgement on your product, nor on your company, nor on your character. This isn't personal. Great Features. 10x Speed at 1/10th of current cost. Because when … Continue reading Great Product – Wrong Deal.
Podcasts and Blogs I Recommend.
Aside from the Books I Recommend, I noticed that every two weeks or so someone asks me about good blogs or podcasts to follow. For the longest time I had mixed feelings about it. Books are static. The opinion (and sanity) of bloggers and podcasters might change. I also don't catch every podcast or blog … Continue reading Podcasts and Blogs I Recommend.
Bullshit Metrics: PEG and EV/R/G
I got a late-stage secondary opportunity today, shopped around by a bank. A major bank. They attached a list of comps and calculated the "risk": Enterprise Value to Revenue to Revenue growth (aka "EVRG"). It's almost worse than a Price-to-Earnings-to-Growth (aka "PEG") ratio. I think the idea here was that there is a high EV-to-Revenue … Continue reading Bullshit Metrics: PEG and EV/R/G
Lunch with Your CEO: 7 Great Questions to Ask.
Grab your CEO and have lunch. Chances are, she has once started just like you. And everybody has to eat at some point. Here are some questions that are great for getting some insights on strategy, challenges, and culture -- even if you only have five minutes: What the biggest frustration in your job? What's … Continue reading Lunch with Your CEO: 7 Great Questions to Ask.
Jocko on Startups: What’s an A-Team?
We hear about the "Startup A-team" both from our portfolio companies and in pitches. So what's the bar for a Startup A-team? And how do you rank people within an A-team of a Startup? Regardless of industry, I always recommend looking at the "USMC Fitness Report (1610)" as a starting point. Yes, it is from … Continue reading Jocko on Startups: What’s an A-Team?
Post-Funding: Trigger Spend on Milestones, not Timeline.
Dave Kellogg is an outstanding leader and thinker -- go and follow his blog posts if you're not already doing so. He has a lot of good advice on planning and spending after getting funding ("post-funding"). Two of my portfolio companies went through the pleasure of raising a new round of financing last month. There … Continue reading Post-Funding: Trigger Spend on Milestones, not Timeline.
Sales: “I’m so glad I could help.”
Selling is a service. You are solving a real problem. You are addressing a valuable need -- doing nothing or doing the wrong thing could have catastrophic consequences for your customers . But if you are just selling to make your quota you are neither helping yourself nor are you helping your startup and executive … Continue reading Sales: “I’m so glad I could help.”
Board Questions to ask about Stock Options, NSOs, ISOs, Restricted Stock, Restricted Stock Units (RSUs).
[Earlier I wrote about the different vehicles] You're sitting on a board and the CEO presents some proposed grants. Motion to approve - second - all in favor - ay. Here's what you should have asked before the board meeting. A. Economics What's the vesting schedule? What are these options worth right now? What do … Continue reading Board Questions to ask about Stock Options, NSOs, ISOs, Restricted Stock, Restricted Stock Units (RSUs).