Category: VC Post of the Day
I loved Bijan Sabet’s (Spark) post today titled Patience & Persistence. In it, he talks about how OMGPOP’s new game Draw Something is blowing up after nearly four years of making some, but not a ton, of progress. He starts out strong:
“When you go to a tech meetup, tech party, or read tech headlines, it’s easy to get swept away into thinking things are soaring for a number of startups. Company xyz now has a zillion users, another company just went viral, overnight sensation, etc. It’s easy to fall in love with those headlines or worse, it’s easy to be distracted. The truth of the matter is that it hardly ever goes straight up and to the right.”
Go read the post to hear the story. This is very consistent with our view at Foundry Group that it often takes up to three years for a new company to figure out where the magic is going to be. As investors, we are very patient through those first three years, keeping the burn rate low but continuing to fund by ourselves if necessary as long as we believe in the entrepreneur. One of the reasons we love working with Bijan and his partners at Spark is because they share this point of view.
Remember – it can take a long time. Be patient. And persistent.
Fred Wilson (USV) and Joanne Wilson (Gotham Gal) have the two best posts up today. Each one involved another person.
Fred’s post – The Management Team – Guest Post By Jerry Colonna – is by – wait for it – Jerry Colonna. If you don’t know Jerry, you are missing out. Jerry was Fred’s partner at Flatiron Partners and an amazing VC in the 1990’s. I had the joy of being on several boards with Jerry and can’t think of anyone I’ve ever worked with who understands people better. Jerry’s post wraps up Fred’s MBA Monday series on the management team and is a dynamite finish to an excellent post.
Not to be outdone, Joanne Wilson has a great post up titled Caren Maio, Nest.io, Woman Entrepreneur. It’s part of Joanne’s Women Entrepreneur Monday’s series and highlights Caren Maio, CEO of Nest.io, and a member of the first TechStars New York program. Caren is spectacular and Joanne does a nice job of explaining Nest.io while shining a bright light on the awesomeness that is Caren.
There’s a beautiful post up today by Charlie O’Donnell (First Round) titled The Race is Long. It starts out:
“Jordan Williamson, the Stanford kicker who missed three field goals in the Fiesta Bowl, will wake up today and feel like crap. Tomorrow, he’ll wake up and still feel like crap, but a little less… and a little less the day after that, and less the day after that.
His Stanford e-mail is undoubtedly filled with two things… love and hate. If there ever was a moment in someone’s life where you get to find out who your real friends are, this will be it.”
As we start a new year, Charlie riffs nicely on important lessons that come out of a failure. Powerful stuff – and a great way to start the day.
Brooks describes the Haimish line through a description “I know only one word to describe what the simpler camps had and the more luxurious camps lacked: haimish. It’s a Yiddish word that suggests warmth, domesticity and unpretentious conviviality. It occurred to me that when we moved from a simple camp to a more luxurious camp, we crossed an invisible Haimish Line. The simpler camps had it, the more comfortable ones did not.”
I spend a lot of time on both sides of the Haimish line and – as Mark says – much prefer being on the same side that Brooks describes as “the simpler camps.” Mark gives a ton of examples of how he does this as a VC, including going to SxSW, visiting companies at their offices (rather than having them come to him), participating in TechStars, having dinner with entrepreneurs, and his accelerator LaunchPad LA.
This philosophy is at the core of my passion for Startup Communities. It’s also part of the beauty of the Startup Community in Boulder.
Mark – stay haimish!
Mark Suster (GRP) reminds all of us to check our laptops, iPhones, Blackberries, and other electronic devices at the door at board meetings. CEOs should enforce this, as should the other VCs and board members in the room.
No “full partial attention” – just full attention.
Today’s VC Post of the Day is from Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures) titled VP Engineering Vs CTO. This is a topic near and dear to our hearts, especially since I (Brad) have been a CTO but never been a VP Engineering (nor would I ever want to be one – I’d suck at that.)
I’ve written about this on Feld Thoughts before in a post titled CTO vs. VP Engineering (I wonder how Google is going to deal with that SEO – eh, not really, Fred has more Google juice than me) and our friend Todd Vernon (Raindance co-founder / CTO; Lijit founder / CEO) has also written several really good posts about this titled CTO vs. VP Engineering (another take) and CTO vs VP Engineering (reprise). It’s worth noting that people who write about the difference between CTO’s and VP Engineering’s don’t seem to be very creative in the Title category.
I just noticed a late breaking post from Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon, referenced in the comments on Fred’s blog. It’s titled The Different CTO Roles and is a nice addition to the mix.
The VC post of the day is from Ben Horowitz (A16Z) and is titled Lead Bullets. Ben tells a story from his time at Netscape when he discovered Microsoft’s IIS was about to ship, was 5x faster than the Netscape Server product, and was free. He went searching for a bunch of silver bullets to solve the competitive issue (e.g. different market segment, acquire someone, scale back and re-segment the product). Ultimately, the solution was simply to use lead bullets – make the Netscape Server product better than the IIS product. Sure – they still addressed the other things but if they hadn’t taken on the product issues and made a superior product, the rest probably wouldn’t have mattered much.
Ben ends with a strong call to action for any entrepreneur:
There comes a time in every company’s life where it must fight for its life. If you find yourself running when you should be fighting, you need to ask yourself: “If our company isn’t good enough to win, then do we need to exist at all?”
David Skok (Matrix) has today’s great post up titled Multi-axis Pricing: a key tool for increasing SaaS revenue. If your business uses a subscription pricing model, this is a must read post. While David positions it as SaaS related post, it applies to any subscription model, including consumer and add-ons to hardware products.
It’s Monday and our friendly neighborhood VCs stored up their posts over the weekend and launched a few with a vengeance. Today, we have three great ones.
Roger Ehrenberg (IA) writes about mentors in his post Mentors: an essential engine for growth. While he wrote it on Saturday, it’s still applicable on Monday.
Fred Wilson (USV) has his normal MBA Mondays series with a guest post from Andy Sack titled Revenue Based Financing. It’s an advertorial for Andy’s firm Lighter Capital but is a really good explanation of how revenue based financing works.
Charlie O’Donnell (First Round Capital) wraps up our posts of the day with a dynamite one titled 10 Misperceptions About Venture Capital.
I love this post from Bryce Roberts (OATV) titled You’re Doing It All Wrong.
Every great company I’ve ever worked with has its own style, personality, approach, strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. Experience – and inexperience – when combined with an amazing new opportunity, creates really unique characteristics that – over time – mix with other company DNA to create new characteristics. Funny – just like humans.