We've got this awesome team and we're doing <insert-cool-stuff-here>. None of <insert-public-companies-here> can do that. We're light years ahead of them! I love great teams. Which investor doesn't. But just because you have not heard of any group within <insert-public-companies-here> doesn't mean they can't do it. In fact, any pitch about a unique technical skill … Continue reading Pitch Clinic: “Noone else is doing it!”
[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.] As board members and VC investors, we often get asked: "What are your other companies and CEOs doing? Am I a good leader?" Most … Continue reading Jocko and Startups: Am I a good Leader?
[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.
I mainly help U.S.-based companies set up shop and scale for revenue in non-US regions. But I see more and more interesting deals where European or Asian companies are coming to the U.S. (Disclaimer!) There are usually two considerations why companies (startups and enterprises alike!) set up a dedicated U.S. entity: international regulations and litigations, … Continue reading “Flipping” your Company to the US?
The story of these VCs usually goes like this: "We're starting to write very small checks much earlier. That way we can track company progress from the inside and are aware of any challenges or problems early on. We believe we can then also discern inflection points much earlier than other outside investors. We might … Continue reading VC Funding and “Going Earlier for Better Access.”
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?
The last-mile delivery experience sucks. There are so many venture-capital-subsidized delivery services in the bay area. They double park, block traffic, dump the stuff on the front door, sheepishly smile if you happen to catch them, some even might utter a word or two. They are the workforce behind the "sharing economy" (I wonder who … Continue reading The Last-Mile Delivery Experience Sucks.
"If I ask CEO <x> about what your most transformational value on the board was over the last twelve months, what would she say?" My firm also invests in other venture capital funds, known as 'fund-of-funds'. I recently met a long-time friend from a great fund in enterprise software who I deeply respect. When I asked … Continue reading Do you Know Your Transformational Value?