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.
I remember one sentence from the many books I read while doing business in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia: Your relative power in a negotiation is your capacity to use resources to influence another’s circumstances. In 1962, Richard Emerson published Power-Dependence Relations. I found that Richard's focus on "In how many ways can I demonstrate my … Continue reading Negotiations: Focus on What You Don’t Know.
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.
Last Christmas break (wow - nine months ago!) I watched Laura Vanderkam's great 11-minute TED talk on "How to gain control of your free time". Rather than say "I don't have time to do x, y or z," she would say "I don't do x, y or z because it's not a priority." "I don't have time," often … Continue reading Priorities and Time Management.
The management-craze of "bring me solutions" has gone too far. I recently met with two spin-out teams of enterprises where the engineers and interim-CEO were scared to share any challenges or problems with corporate management because they were expected to be more "solutions-oriented." When I went back to one of the senior executives with a problem … Continue reading Bring me Problems.
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.”
You think you are the superstar sales guy. Or you are the CEO and are telling me that you have a superstar sales team. This is what I would expect from you: Run our play. if the play doesn't work we are changing the play. But you have to run the play. You have to … Continue reading Superstar Sales: Run The Play.
When you work in a high-risk industry of startups -- whether as an entrepreneur, an employee, a VC, or a consultant -- there will be failures. You know that. And you are always surprised how much they hurt. You would think by now surely you've learned how to cope with it. It's painful and frustrating, … Continue reading Why Do You Keep Doing It?
I've written about Core, Near-Core and the Outfield. There will be scope creep. And the Definition of Core will continue to develop. With usually longer enterprise sales cycles that can be a problem. Ask your salespeople: Why are we in this account? This is especially true with Near-Core opportunities: There will be a class of … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Why Are We In This Account?