The Three Drivers of Contentment & Motivation at Work

What motivates us to perform and drives contentment at work? Most entrepreneurs struggle with this question. You want success, want to have drive and yet rely too heavily on fear-based or external motivators which often leave a negative residue. The research shows that the most effective motivators are intrinsic and positive. A champion needs a motivation […]

Which Wolf Do You Feed?

Question: If you lose your fear, do you lose your drive?  It’s a question many entrepreneurs ask themselves.  They seem to have bought into the idea that you can either be content or you can be driven, but those two states cannot coexist. But that idea is flawed. In reality, we are the stories we tell […]

VC Confidential Is Now Something Ventured

Something Ventured is pretty fully operational! Back in 2005 when I was on the FeedBurner board (Twitter 1.0), I started VC Confidential with two goals: 1) to help entrepreneurs see behind the VC curtain on how we thought/made decisions and 2) to see how the FeedBurner RSS service worked in practice. Dick Costolo (CEO), Brad […]

My Venture Covenant With Entrepreneurs

There is a false dogma around the VC/Entrepreneurship relationship…supported by bad behaviors on both sides. You feel a need to manage your investors & board, to not show weakness and present to us. We fail to fully listen, dictate desires or fears and financially optimize our investments. Trust and open communication are our most precious […]

Multiples vs IRR

One of my most popular posts from VC Confidential… “You Can’t Eat IRR.” — anonymous I was at a business school today helping judge several business plans. As group after group presented, I saw each make the same mistake as the previous. When they tried to justify the investment from the perspective of the VC, […]

Real Is Mandatory

Real Is Mandatory “Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin’.”  — Bob Dylan The venture markets are a-changin’ with investors and public markets demanding rational business models, visibility to profitable growth and inherently sound economics. Companies like Homejoy and Sidecar have gone under while stars like […]

The Key Israeli Story: StartUp Nation

Larger Post coming…without appreciating the context (yesterday’s post), it is hard to fully grasp the origin nor significance of the tech renaissance that is taking place in Israel.  One has to see it to fully appreciate it. Much like Boston and Silicon Valley had its origins in military R&D and culture, Israel’s tech ecosystem also […]

Stunning Day in Jerusalem…Day 1

Quite the first day…cultural day in Jerusalem (minus our guide saying “all schools have cancelled trips to Jerusalem given events this week…”).   Landed at 8:30am and off to the races. We visited the Old City where we walked through the four quarters, touched the marble Jesus was supposedly laid on (post Cross) and the […]

To Change the World, Start by Making Your Bed

As many of you may know, I am a commencement speach junkie. One of the stars of this year’s batch is Admiral McRaven’s talk at UoT. He is a navy seal, Commander of the United States Special Operations Command & oversaw the final raid on Osama bin Laden. This has been going viral (approaching 2M views in 1 […]

Millennials: Rightly Up-ending the Apple Cart

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore While the Boomer's bemoan (wrongly) Millennial's lack of work ethic, narcissism and lack of respect for seniority, there is a sea of change coming that corporations and start-ups alike […]

17 Fundraising Ideas

Our portfolio company, GiveForward, is one of the standout "double bottom line" companies around. They help people with medical needs (and other) raise money to pay the bills. To date, they have raised $62 million for people. Given that 60% of personal bankruptcies are driven by mounting medical expenses, they have helped a large number […]

The Quest to Get Better

My friend, Brian Johnson, just posted on an awesome topic…Getting Better vs Being Good. Entrepreneurship is not only tough — it is non-linear and success often opaque. Also, short video link below of Carol Dweck's Mindset work…definitely worth everyone learning more about this. The key to managing this reality is: 1) to know your Northern […]

Success on Your Terms

I increasingly have conversations with both rising and established entrepreneurs around “what is success and why does it not feel fulfilling?” Peter Drucker, the uber-management sage, said that as more people acquired wealth, they would shift to focusing more intently on making a purposeful impact on the world. The Millennials are focused on parallel tracking […]

Curiosity, Obsession & Dogged Endurance

“I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent. Curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas” — Albert Einstein As I look back over my life, the most successful or content people I know were not the most brilliant but the most determined and disciplined. Excellence […]

Success vs Struggle: The Art of Compartmentalizing

Ryan Blair posted an interesting piece The Five Steps of Compartimentalization in Forbes last year.  I did an exercise I try every couple of weeks where I lay out all of the commitments I had made ranging from board meeting follow-ups (intros, offsites, etc) to family matters (coaching, attending, traveling) to new deals (diligence, meetings, […]

What Entrepreneurs Don’t Tell You about the Fight

A little perspective from up North. Our Canadian portfolio CEO, Guy Gal, forwarded over a great piece from StartupNorth titled The Things an Entrepreneur Will Never Tell You. It is definitely worth a quick read as entrepreneurs often feel they are unique in what they are going through in terms of high's & lows, feeling […]

Some MoreTeddy for the Weekend

A little something for you all laboring to improve the world through your entrepreneurial efforts (from my friend, Brian Johnson at Entheos.com). Have a great weekend:) “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much […]

Inverse Paranoia

Love this concept which my friend, Brian Johnson, posted recently.  Great entrepreneurs have a sense of "inevitability" in the belief in their idea and mission. Jim Clark refers to it as "willing a company into existence".  “My earliest mentor, W. Clement Stone, was once described as an inverse paranoid. Instead of believing the world was […]

Entrepreneurs’ Manifesto: Shame In the Arena

Great TED talk by Brene Brown on Shame and its role in innovation and society. YouTube Link to Brown Shame Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psN1DORYYV0 Terrific Roosevelt quote from it for all you entrepreneurs in the arena…I'll call it the Entrepreneur's Manifesto: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong […]

Pura Vida — Life and Entrepreneurship

"[Pura Vida] embodies a philosophy in which communal ties are strong and close; difficulties are overcome with a resilient and happy spirit, where life is enjoyed leisurely and to the full, and where fortune of whatever size is heartily celebrated."  – Tony Cousins I have spent the past week in Costa Rica surfing, doing yoga, eating, […]

Ask the VC

Erik Severinghaus sent over this hilarious xtra normal video on Stupid Questions VC’s Ask that has been floating around the internet. Erik is an awesome, serial entrepreneur and I’m certain has had more than his share of these fine interogations. Since I focus on showing entrepreneurs behind the VC curtain, here you go:   Stupid Questions […]

Karma Kitchen: Most Intriguing Restaurant

Rishi Roongta works with me at New World and is omnipresent. He is curious and tests just about everything under the sun. He came across a new restaurant that redefines both Paying Forward and restaurants in general. As he writes: “Karma Kitchen was pretty awesome. I was a “waiter” and served tables for 4 hours.. […]

Follow Your Bliss — Finding Joe

Joseph Campbell is the most influential person to have impacted my life. He was the world's leading mythologist and had an amazing capacity to show the common threads that cut across all religions, movies, books and stories. An awesome movie just came out about him and The Heroe's Journey that I have mentioned to everyone […]

Enough With the Gloom & Doom on Groupon

In 2000-2001, I remember reading negative article after negative article on Amazon. It was burning money quickly, e-tailers were going under left and right and brick & mortar stores were re-asserting themselves. People kept a diligent death watch for it after the demise of Webvans ($1b) and others. In reality, what was going on was […]

Touched by Something Greater

Even in death, Steve Jobs connects us and reminds us of something greater. It is amazing the impact that Steve's death has had. Nearly everyone I know seems saddened almost at a personal level. It's as if we all realized this special, creative presence has now moved on…communal loss. Very interesting. I think some of us […]

Seek First to Understand then to be Understood

When you've been in the venture business as long as I have, you have seen your share of dysfunctional, poisonious board/management situations. None of these needed to occur. They all fall into the "life's too short" category. Understanding, alignment and unification (leave your ego at the door) are the key elements of avoiding this.  For […]

Carter Cast on the “Drama of Comparative Living”

My friend, Carter Cast, gave a wonderful talk to a large group of Fortune 500 executives and non-profit leaders. I highly recommend everyone reading this to take this to heart given where Carter comes from. Carter has had a career unmatched by most I know. Starting as one of the star swimmers on Stanford's national […]

Synchronicity in Everyday Life

"A connecting principleLinked to the invisibleAlmost imperceptibleSomething inexpressibleScience insusceptibleLogic so inflexibleCausally connectableYet nothing is invincible" — the Police, Synchronicity   People, places and events come into our lives for a reason. We rarely fully appreciate or even notice them. Often we'll observe a confluence of them and comment on what a "coincidence" we've experienced. Well, after […]

What Could Do with $1/Year

I’m at the Kellogg Innovation Network Global Summit which is the creation of of Rob and Stephanie Wolcott. It is a global group of CEO’s and heads of R&D from Fortune 500’s. Kimmie Weeks from Liberia, founder of Youth Action International, which focuses on raising global philanthropy in youths, kicked off the event with a […]

Need Help Finding Mobile/iPhone Apps?

My long-time Kellogg/BCG friend, Al Warms, has gone public with his latest effort, Appolicious.  Al sold his previous company, Buzztracker, to Yahoo and went on to successfully run & grow Yahoo News. Appolicious is a community for application discovery. You can upload your current applications (names only) and the site will begin to profile your interests […]

Strategic Protectors

In difficult times, strategic partners can be essential to survival. As companies fight for air in these cash strapped times, larger corporations have valuable resources. Our portfolio companies have leveraged partners in several ways. 1) Pre-paying revenue. Some customers will pay in advance of delivered goods. Future takedowns are applied against this. 2) Venture leasing: […]

The Art of Selling Your Firm

Despite the markets’ gyrations, 2008 was the best year for liquidity in our firm’s history. In fact, our largest exit (Lefthand Networks) closed in November in the heart of the downdraft. In looking across these exits, the strong exits all had several common elements: 1) Self-sufficiency: the old saying in venture is that companies are […]

Term Sheet Tool

The gang at Wilson Sonsini have created a very interesting term sheet generator. In addition to its practical value, it is also an interesting educational tool. If you are an entrepreneur or a new VC, it goes through all of the key term sheet elements in very specific details with the most common option highlighted […]

Why Great Companies Get Started in the Downturns

I have always been amazed by how many of our success tech stories, as well as Fortune 500 companies, started during drastic down turns. Innovation does not take a holiday, and in fact, thrives during difficult times when pain & need are greatest. While the current downturn is historic, it pails in comparison to the […]

Why VC Returns Languish

So you see a pattern here? Number of VC-backed IPO's:1995    2051996    2721997    1381998      681999    2502000    2022001      222002      202003      232004      672005      432006      562007      762008        7 (none in Q2 or Q4!) Average Time to IPO1998    3 years2008    9 years Number of Companies Funded:1998    1,896 ($14.0B invested)2008    1,930 ($14.1B invested) When you cut through all of this data, […]

Josh Lerner on Serial Entrepreneurs

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."        — Wayne Gretzky peHUB had a recent post by Connie Lolzos on Josh Lerner's recent research about serial entrepreneurs. There are two general camps. One states that success begets success and serial entrepreneurs […]

Apple Slices

I came across an article from last year from Fortune, Steve Jobs Speaks Out, in which Steve discusses Apple's approach to business and innovation as well as its culture. Entrepreneurship is part passion & execution and part mentoring. The best entrepreneurs continually learn from the examples of those around them. They are curious about what […]

…Or Assuredly We Shall All Hang Separately

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." — Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence Dan Primack set off an interesting dialog around his article Radically Reinventing Venture Capital. There is a growing wave of articles about new or revised models and debate around what went wrong.  […]

The Riskmaster

Tim Draper has recently launched his blog, titled "The Riskmaster" (http://theriskmaster.blogspot.com/).  He will post on the venture capital business, spreading entrepreneurship, interesting videos and inspirations on the economy.  This blog is guaranteed to be entertaining, informative and challenging. For those of you not familiar with him, Tim is the founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson and […]

Fifteen Year Cycle

As the bad news keeps pouring in, a lot of people are wondering what we can expect in the coming years. Additionally, everyone is trying to figure out what hope exists. Well, I’ll give two thoughts on this (briefly). First, the world of technology is driven by two factors: the laws of exponentials and the […]

If Larry and Sergey Asked for a Loan …

"Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful."            — Warren Buffett Well, there is no doubt that fear is running rampant through the streets. This will provide a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to take advantage of market inefficiencies not seen for decades. Those that intelligently manage the downside, will be […]

Be Careful Who You Deal With

As these markets continue their chaotic path downward, people's true colors come out. Some people show increasing amounts of fairness and consideration. Others will self-optimize and use every bit of leverage that they can get their hands on. Two entrepreneur friends of mine recently had a very negative experience with an investor who has a […]

What Compensation Should You Give Your Team?

One of the most popular search topics on my blog has always been compensation. I thought I would lay out historically the average benchmarks with some caveats. The first caveat is that these numbers will be skewed more towards an early/expansion stage company versus a start-up or late stage companies. The second is that with […]

What Are Some of the Hedge Guys Doing Now?

After the downdrafts, you would assume that people would be jumping into market to bottom feed. However, a number of the smartest guys have massive cash positions. Clearly, they are waiting for the other shoe to drop. From a recent Whitney Tilson piece:"These are smart guys, but I think they're wrong here — and think […]

If You Are A Woman, Head to the Midwest

In reading through the recent Fortune article, The 50 Most Powerful Women, I noticed that half of them were in the Midwest. This included: #2 Irene Rosenfield    CEO, Kraft#3 Pat Woertz            CEO, Archer Daniels Midland#7 Susan Arnold        President, Proctor & Gamble#8 Oprah Winfrey      Chairman, Harpo#9 Brenda Barnes     CEO, Sara Lee This […]

The Pixar Magic

I love stories about entrepreneurs and inventors who overcome adversity, flirt with disaster & bankruptcy, only to end up hitting the long ball.  The Economist published a great article in May describing the Pixar story.  As usual, things did not start off in a very promising manner. "Ed Catmull's ambition at school had been to […]

“Why aren’t VCs freaking out as Wall Street burns?”

Interesting Piece from PEWeek: "Why aren't VCs freaking out as Wall Street burns? It's a question that I've been asking for more than a week now. There is, of course, the usual litany of responses: we're long term investors, we invest in fundamentals, our LPs are going to be good for their commitments because they're […]

The Next Tiger

Entrepreneurship is about attitude and perseverance.  Our CFO sent this over to me which I thought I would share for the weekend. It also helps to remind you what is important in life (family) and to keep things in perspective. Stick with the video as it is about a lot more than just another young […]

Rough Ride Ahead: Buckle Up & Get Your Money Now (if you can)

"Thus far in the second quarter of this year, there have been NO venture-backed IPOs.  There has never been a quarter where this situation has occurred (since NVCA has been tracking such data). "  — NVCA Mailing I am pronouncing this cycle official dead at Q2, 2008. We have a general VC cycle that lasts […]

TechCocktail Conference Chicago

Eric Olson and Frank Gruber are launching their first TechCocktail conference in Chicago this week on Thur, May 29th at Loyola University. You can register by clicking here. They have pulled together a great set of panelist including Dick Costolo from FeedBurner/Google, Jason Fried from 37Signal and a host of other luminaries. They have also […]

Blodgett Helps Explain the SubPrime Isse…

And we wonder why Buffett says that the credit markets are redefining the term "junk" debt… How Citi, HSBC, Morgan, Et Al Vaporized Billions Henry Blodget | November 28, 2007 9:07 AM Mystified about how Wall Street’s best and brightest could suddenly up and lose tens of billions of dollars on insanely risky mortgage bets? […]

Goldman to Build $1B Philanthropy Fund

Whitney Tilson noted the following in his recent email newsletter. I think this is amazing and hope that our buyout and venture brethren follow suit. I have always believed that the philanthropy tsunami unleashed by Gates, Buffett & the Silicon Valley crew would lead to new era of giving equal in impact to the robber […]

The Art of the Start

Ironically, I drafted the following post at the same time my friend, Jim Stamos, sent me Marc Andreessen’s recent post about the current writer’s strike in Hollywood Rebuilding Hollywood in Silicon Valley’s Image. "Last week I posted a rather pointed polemic titled "Suicide by strike" in which I argued that the big entertainment companies were […]

Other People’s Money

"There’s only one thing I love more than money. You know what that is? OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. " — Danny Devito in Other People’s Money I haven’t posted in a while as work has been absolutely chaotic as the pre-Thanksgiving rush has begun. Start-ups, acquirers, partners are all pushing to close transactions before our business […]

Out of Sight, Till Now, and Giving Away Billions

In yet another example of the new wave & breed of philanthropists, Feeney made his fortune in duty-free shops. In Out of Sight, Till Now, and Giving Away Billions, O’Cleary gives a taste of what is in Feeney’s upcoming biography The Billionaire Who Wasnt: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing […]

Corporate VC’s Up Their Activity

Vineeth forwarded this article onto me: Google’s new role: Venture Capitalist. In yet another sign of where we are in the cycle, strategic VC’s are accelerating their activity. Strategic activity tends to peak (along with angels’) right before a market pull back. Google may be a different animal, but many of the strategics are diving […]

TiECON 2007

TiE Midwest is holding its annual conference on October 5th from noon to 6 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. This is a great event and this year, they have the dynamic and always interesting brothers, Glen (CEO of Allscripts) and Howard (founder CCC & CEO of Flashpoint) Tullman keynoting. Definitely worth the time if […]

Shake Up Repercussions

David Dalka asked an interesting follow-up question to my post yesterday about the consolidation in the venture business. What does this consolidation mean to the business? A couple of things:1) a lot of the firms out of the business now should not have been in it to begin with. They drove up prices and encouraged […]

Keeping Perspective

My wife sent me this article. She is on the Women’s Board over at Children’s Memorial and comes across  these stories often. Talk about keeping things in perspective. No matter how hard my working world becomes, it is nothing compared to this one… The Night RoundsThere’s no darker place than a children’s hospital at night. […]

Business Musings From Carter Cast

I was having breakfast the other day with a friend of mine, Carter Cast, and we were discussing the dynamics and effort necessary to successful build an entrepreneurial company into a larger organization. Carter is a great guy and well known for his balanced approach to management and the effort he spends on building effective […]

Too Much Information

I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that it is temperament & emotional behavior and not intelligence/insight that drives the majority of successful investing.  Knowing common behavioral traps and being aware of your own behavior is key to becoming a truly successful investor. Excessively relying on information is one of the behavioral traps that researchers […]

Term Sheet 101: Preference

Nearly all VC’s use convertible preferred stock as their vehicle of choice. Most entrepreneurs know this but many don’t fully understand the different flavors and elements of it. Preference refers generally to the seniority of a given class of stock versus others. Preferred A stock usually gets paid back before common and follow-on Preferred issuances […]

Term Sheet 101: Preference

Nearly all VC’s use convertible preferred stock as their vehicle of choice. Most entrepreneurs know this but many don’t fully understand the different flavors and elements of it. Preference refers generally to the seniority of a given class of stock versus others. Preferred A stock usually gets paid back before common and follow-on Preferred issuances […]

Buckle Up

This summer has been a crazy one for me and I have, as one friend wrote, "gone dark" since early June. So, as I begin to sprout prose again here, why not jump back in with a depressing post on the debt debacle & its impact on the our entrepreneurial world… Over the past year, […]

Sea of Change

One of benefits of being in venture capital is that you can see activity and trends across a broad array of industries. Additionally, you spend a considerable amount of time talking to people about deals, career changes, financings or general assistance. You can also get a sense of how certain companies are doing based upon […]

FeedBurner Pro Stats for Free Now

I have been using the FeedBurner stats PRO and MyBrand services since day one and paid the monthly fee. FeedBurner recently announced, in Google customary fashion, that these both will now be available for free to all users. Definitely worth checking out if you are using or have considered using FeedBurner’s core service to manage […]

FeedBurner Pro Stats for Free Now

I have been using the FeedBurner stats PRO and MyBrand services since day one and paid the monthly fee. FeedBurner recently announced, in Google customary fashion, that these both will now be available for free to all users. Definitely worth checking out if you are using or have considered using FeedBurner’s core service to manage […]

The Power of Technology & the Knowledge Economy

The most recent issue of Institutional Investor (its "40th Anniversary Issue") has a series of interesting perspectives from the pioneers and leaders of the financial world ranging from John Bogle & Warren Buffett to Arthur Rock & Henry Kravis. If you can chase it down, it is quite the interesting read. One of the pieces […]

Teach A Man to Make Cell Calls…

"Teach a man to make cell calls, and he eats for a lifetime…"  — Matt McCall Home run blockbuster companies have historically driven both the venture and entrepreneurial worlds. Large infrastructure plays (like Cisco) and service plays (like Amazon or eBay) have defined this landscape. However, with the tepid IPO market impairing exits for the […]

AsktheVC: How Do You Calculate Operating Cash Flow

Yesterday I posted the following as a guest blogger to Brad Feld’s and Jason Mendelson’s popular blog, AsktheVC. Matt takes on the following question: What are some of the best ways you’ve seen to sensibly estimate and/or calculate capital and/or operating cash flow, and how do you like to see this presented to an investor? […]

Fidelity Comes to VC

The shakeout and consolidation in the venture business continues forward at a strong pace. Brand and scale are increasingly driving success. The larger the venture firm, the greater the in-house domain expertise and the wider the breadth of deals in each vertical. In an effort to simplify the guessing involved with picking funds, institutional LP’s […]

Using Scorecards With Your Board

KPI (key performance indicators) scorecards are essential in managing a company and communication with a board. KPI’s are the key metrics that capture the specific performance of each key area of the company. These vary both by industry and by company within each industry. Most companies seem to by-pass Scorecards.  In selecting KPI’s, they should […]

Valuation Storm Brewing

"Something wicked this way comes…"  — Ray Bradbury We have just survived our annual audit season and it is clear to me that things are going to get increasingly murky, confusing and ugly for valuations in the venture capital world. For those of you not well versed in the intimacies of the portfolio company valuation […]

How to Divide the Pie

Sam Martin sent in an email asking about determining founder equity. "What amount/percentage of equity is usually reserved for the founder, CEO, and management team.  Is there a rule of thumb for how you determine who should receive equity and who shouldn’t?  What is a common vesting schedule–if there is such a thing?" Great questions […]

Real Estate Is Toxic

When venture capital and real estate mix, something has gone terribly askew. I am not talking about innovative companies like Zillow or Realtor.com but rather old fashion real estate ownership. One of the least understood liabilities for entrepreneurs is their long term lease. Some firms go as far as to sink significant sums into buildouts […]

The Big Meltdown

This Krugman piece, The Big Meltdown, appeared recently in the NY Times. As I have said before, there is a lot of irrational behavior going on in both the public and private markets. Debt remains high, all asset classes have seen big rises and investors, hungry for the rush of another "hit", stretch further and […]

Call for Semel’s Head

"Go for a business that any idiot can run – because sooner or later, any idiot probably is going to run it."              – Peter Lynch I have often thought that I could do well managing public company investments based upon the experiences, perceptions and fears of our early stage companies interacting […]

Bataan Death March

The venture business runs between the goalposts of greed and fear. This is no more apparent than during a funding event. Entrepreneurs are often puzzled by why another company’s funding erupts into a feeding frenzy, while their fundraising drags on like "the Bataan Death March." While no one can ever capture all of the intangibles, […]

How Did the Superbowl Ads Fare?

Comscore recently released the results of their consumer survey that quantified "Americans’ attitudes and opinions related to Super Bowl XLI." In my Doritos post this week, I mentioned the various benefits that Frito-Lay gained from their user generated ad strategy. Not only did they get significant buzz/free publicity and lower production cost on the ad, […]

Venture Philanthropy Podcast

As you all may know, I continue to get more involved withe world of venture philanthropy. Much like venture capital, if done well, drives innovation and change into the corporate world, I believe that venture philanthropy can also positively impact traditional philanthropy. I’ll define what I view as key principles to venture philanthropy in a […]

VC Board Best Practices

How ironic…I did a post yesterday about how disfunctional venture backed boards can get and behold, a new white paper "The Basic Responsibilities of VC-Backed Company Directors" from a consortium of venture groups comes out on best practices regarding boards. "The paper’s basic premise is that VC-backed boards are particularly prone todysfunction, due to: (1) […]

The Myth of 51%

One of the greatest misperceptions in the early stage entrepreneurial world is that control revolves around maintaining greater than 51% ownership in a firm. In many term sheet negotiations, I have seen entrepreneur after entrepreneur focus intently on maintaining majority ownership. While this is key for buyouts when the company is cash flow positive, it […]

Queen Elizabeth Struck By Novo

My friend, Jim Kalishman, sent me the following link (Flu Outbreak Sickens Hundreds) about a recent outbreak of the Novovirus on the Queen Elizabeth 2 that took down 17% of the passengers. They mentioned that sanitizing poker chips and not allowing self serve at buffett limited the spread. Makes you think twice about grabbing that […]

The Power of Dry Powder

One of the hardest things to manage in early stage venture capital is asset allocation to specific investments across the portfolio. You strive to maintain diversification by investing across 20+ investments and hope that you maintain adequate reserves to support your companies, can get enough capital into your winners and avoid plowing prodigious amounts into […]

Gates: The Way We Give

You are increasingly going to hear me write about Venture Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship. I see a blending or cross over starting to occur between the venture/entrepreneurial world and the philanthropic one. Both sides can benefit from approaches and axioms of the other. Just as in our economy, you need to continually innovate and find […]

Microsoft Firefox 2007

Hilarious rip on Microsoft. This spoof has been around for a number of months, but Ajaxian did a recent post on the release of the new "Microsoft Firefox 2007 Professional edition". At first, I was impressed to see Microsoft embrace the open source world, but then my finely honed VC senses tingled that something was […]

Where are the IPO’s

Given where we are in the market cycle, we should be seeing explosive growth in the IPO world. The Dow has set a new record high, high profile acquisitions like YouTube are providing lucrative exits and the economy continues to walk the fine line between inflation and recession. These bursts of activity are the life […]

Dancing with the Novovirus

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ~Winston Churchill Historically, yearend has been a slow time in the venture world. From Thanksgiving through New Year, firms focused mostly on wrapping up loose ends in their portfolios. Last year, as echoed in the public markets, ended with a […]

Geras on Integrity

Bob Geras, perhaps Chicago’s most prolific angel investor, sent me an email with the following quote from his dad. I liked it and thought I’d pass it along: "Money and success come and go. What’s really important and lasting is your integrity, reputation and self respect. It’s really very simple. Treat others the way you […]

Pursuit of Happyness

" We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."— Declaration of Independence I saw a very intense movie with my wife and another couple just before vacation called […]

Fifth Financial Center/Women Pirates

The surprising answer is that the Cayman Islands is the Fifth Largest financial center in the world. This tiny island, because of favorable tax treatment and a host of other things, has become home to many off-shore vehicles, especially hedge funds, private equity funds and such. Amazing… For those interested more in the stories of […]

Wall of Worry

"The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."— Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy (supposedly from a Chinese proverb) It occurs so frequently that it has become a cliche. The entrepreneur who is on the verge of dismal failure, grinds it out and builds a successful business. In many ways, […]