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.
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.
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?
Wow, just re-found this 5 minutes 56-second video with I had bookmarked. I usually hate these "Five Things Successful Executives Do" etc., but this one was a pretty good framework of four recurring patterns -- instead of "do your taxes yourself." or "smile more." or all the other nonsense you read on clickbait. This one has … Continue reading HBR Whiteboard Session: 4 Things Successful Executives Do Differently.
Up to a year ago, I would have said that the CTO is the most important person after the CEO for enterprise software startups. I'm a tech geek, so that's natural. Without a working prototype or technology, there is no high-tech startup, so for most high-tech startups engineering is pretty important, obviously. By now I … Continue reading The Most Important Executive Besides the CEO.
Talk about burying the lead: "The competitive strength of Tesla is not going to be the car; it's going to be the factory," Musk said. https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/02/tesla-loses-another-675-million-in-q4-its-biggest-quarterly-loss-yet/ Car manufacturers have known that for years (though some seemed to have forgotten about it) If you ever toured the factory floor of BMW in Munich, you know how … Continue reading Production, not Product, as Competitive Strength
Short answer: Don't. Don't worry about your industry focus (yet), unless you are clearly a vertical solution for a very specific industry; unless you and your first sales team only have experience in selling into one specific industry and have no other contacts and you are determined to keep only this team for a while … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Industry Focus.
A Chief is the leader of a tribal society. In Scottish clanns, the principal function of the chief was to lead his clan in battle on land and sea. All Chiefs need to be great communicators. They need to communicate a common purpose and rally their tribe to fulfill that purpose. They are often judges and … Continue reading You are not a CTO (yet).