Category

Management

Bezos Annual Letter

I just sent this note out to our CEO list. I was going to write a different post today about The Founder Wellness Pact: How Accelerators are Addressing Depression Among Founders but I’m going to save it for next week. After sending this note out, I decided it was the clearest thing I could add to your…

Don’t Play Hurt

I heard a great line from a CEO recently: “I don’t want to play hurt.” I loved that line. In my world, some companies beat their Q416 numbers. Others made their Q416 numbers. Some missed their Q416 numbers. That’s life. Any VC who says otherwise (e.g. “All my companies are killing it”) is either full…

Dealing With The Pessimist In the Room.

My wife Amy sent this HBR article – How to Handle the Pessimist on Your Team – to me. It’s almost a decade old but seems timeless. I’m an optimist. With rare exceptions (usually when I’m depressed), I can carry an optimistic view point about things (business, projects, humans, life, existence on this planet, my…

The Ideal Financial Reporting Tempo For A VC-Backed Company

Over the past few days, I’ve had a similar conversation about reporting tempo with three different people (2 CFOs and 1 CEO). In each case, we snuck up on the issue, rather than starting with it. The fundamental question addressed what the reporting tempo to the board should be. A number of years ago, I decided to shift…

Is 2017 The Year Of Flat Headcount?

If you are growing at a rate of less than 50% year over year, you should consider viewing 2017 as the year of flat headcount. As budgets are settling down and getting approved for many of the companies I’m on the board of, I’m seeing a general trend of much less headcount growth in 2017 than in…

The Three Machines

Lately, I’ve been stewing over increased complexity being generated by companies around their organization approaches. While this activity varies by stage, in many cases the leadership team expands to a large (greater than six) number of people, there become two executive teams (the C-Team and the E-Team), the CEO gets sucked into endless distractions and working…

Empty Out Your Junk Drawer

Everyone has a junk drawer. Or two. Or ten. One of mine is to the left. So does every company. It’s now often referred to as “Labs” (as an homage to the infamous Google Labs which was disbanded in 2011.) We’ve seen a lot of companies spin up a Labs as a way to try to…

Get Your Metrics Together

As we head into 2017, I have a steady stream of operating plans hitting my inbox. Since many of our investments are companies that are scaling, vs. companies that are just getting started, there are a lot of derivative metrics in these plans. Q1 is the easiest quarter to make your plan, so most of…

CEOs Who Are Pleasers Should Spend More Time With Customers

I woke up this morning thinking about people who have a desire to please. This is not my personality type, but I encounter it regularly. Amy often describes herself as an “approval-seeking people pleaser” and I’ve learned a lot from my 30 years of interacting with her. With CEOs I often notice the pleaser personality…

Board Seat For Sale

I had lunch recently with a founder. We were talking about current and future board configuration for his company and he said “Up until this point, all my board seats were simply for sale. Whenever a new investor showed up, they wanted – and got – a board seat.” I loved the phrase “board seat…