There were very few VC posts today – I’m guessing most VC bloggers are either sleeping late, at SXSW (and possibly sleeping late due to their hangovers), or not blogging today (yeah – I know the third one is – well – a tautology).
Mark Suster (GRP) has a great post up titled Never Negotiate Piecemeal. Here’s Why. It’s great advice and perspective on the art of negotiating.
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.
Mark Suster (GRP) nails it with his post The Problem with Collecting Logos at Startups. He explains the problem with the following subtopics:
- Leaderless rounds
- Not enough skin in the game
- Nobody’s head on the chopping block
- Fights over follow ons
- Information leaks
He also answers the question “is there any good case for taking a large number of VCs into your deal?” and lists the “top 5 excuses for taking many investors in a round.”
Mark’s punch line is priceless:
“You don’t need logos. Logos are for insecure people. Just like they were in high school when the cool kids had to wear the right logos on their shirts, shorts and handbags. Show strength & conviction. Make the tough decisions and choose the investors with whom you feel the closest fit. Make sure they own enough to be motivated to work with you in good times & bad.”
Bingo. Go read the post.
Mark Suster (GRP) gets the VC post of the day with his post Avoid Monoculture. Travel. Read Widely. Let Experience be Your Compass. It’s a really great post to read just before the weekend to remind you to make sure you are living your life and constantly exploring new things, rather than just being heads down on whatever you are working on. I’ve spent much of the summer in Europe (in Paris and Tuscany) “just living” – which includes plenty of work, but a completely change of context for how I live my every day life. I’ll write a lot more about this on Feld Thoughts after I get back to Boulder, but in the mean time much of what Mark said rang true to me as I read it, especially:
“Challenge conventional wisdom. Fight monoculture. Question authority. Take lots of inputs but then let your internal compass set your course. If “all the cool kids are doing it” make sure you have strong internal logic for why you’re going to follow them. Often it’s not the best course.”
Bryce Roberts (OATV) gets runner up with his post There Is No i In Apple. It’s a great reminder of the difference between “i” and “we”. The paragraph that nails this is:
“Reading through the many compilation of Jobs’ quotes last night a similar theme emerges. When speaking of personal foibles or lessons learned he uses I and Me. But, when he speaks of the company he founded, was fired from and helped resuscitated to life he speaks in We and Us.”
If you are in the northeast US this weekend, be safe!
Mark Suster (GRP) has today’s VC post of the day titled What Startups Can Learn About PR and Crisis Management. As with many of Mark’s posts, it’s an excellent piece of long form writing that thoroughly dissects the issue of crisis management and makes a number of very significant recommendations which are summarized below.
- If You Don’t Shape Your Story, Somebody Else Will
- Understand the Gravity of the Situation for Your Customers
- Don’t Bury Bad News
- Never Blame the Press
- Know Your Key Messages
- Don’t Take the Bait
- Develop Trusted Advisors
- Get to Know the Press Now
- Get Media Training
- Have a PR Strategy
Go read the entire post. It is excellent. And read it now, before you have a crisis (which you, and everyone else on the planet, inevitably will.)
Today’s VC post of the day is from Mark Suster titled Don’t Cede Control: Why You Need to Cut out Middle Men in Negotiations. Mark has an outstanding blog, speaks from the experience of being both a two-time entrepreneur as well as a VC, and loves to write detailed, thoughtful, and very useful long form blog posts full of examples, anecdotes, and wisdom.
This one is no exception. If you are an entrepreneur, you’ll understand why you should take responsibility for the negotiation. If you a VC, Mark will remind you to be a big boy or girl and actually do the work, rather than try to pawn it off on someone else. And, the next time you think about some government negotiation, just remember that everyone is DC is actually a middle man for the people who elected them.
The runner up post today is Roger Ehrenberg’s titled Why investors matter. Roger is also an entrepreneur turned VC after a tour as an angel investor so he covers things from both the entrepreneur and VC perspective.