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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Retrospective Addiction Of A Madman Post Board Meeting

Comments (15)

I love getting post board meeting emails that are retrospectives from execs in the meeting. This one came a week ago from Jeff Malek, the CTO and co-founder of BigDoor. They’ve been on a tear lately and are in the process of a massive set of Q1 launches for new customers. 

We had a solid board meeting, but I suggested they were being too casual about a couple of things, including communication about what was going on. This is NOT a casual group and I knew using the word casual would press a few buttons. And they did – the right ones. Jeff’s retrospective is awesome and he was game to have me share it with you to get a sense of what’s inside a CTO’s head during and after a board meeting.

I have a retrospective addiction.  But as a result of looking back at our meeting today Brad, words like ‘casual’ still ringing in my ears, I recognized I’d let some of my own assumptions drive away potential opportunities, maybe even creating some problems along the way.  I’ve always run under the assumptions that :

  1. your inbox is an order of magnitude more onerous than mine (quite)
  2. the best way to respect and value your time would be to limit email/communication
  3. you and Keith have regular communications complete with bits about what I’m up to and thinking
  4. you know even in the absence of communication from me that I’m working like a madman, doing everything I can to make it happen
  5. you also know through some process of osmosis how much I value you, Foundry, your approach, feedback, etc

Just so you don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not that I took your feedback and concluded that I needed to give you more BigDoor insight, or that you needed more info in general to get a better picture – that’s what the numbers are for.

So while all of the above assumptions are probably true to some degree, here’s the new protocol I’m going to start optimistically running under:

  1. thanks to your candor and aversion to BS, you’ll tell me to STFU as needed
  2. you’d like a concise ping about whatever, whenever from me
  3. you’ll give me feedback if/when it makes sense to, and I won’t expect a reply otherwise, unless I’m asking a direct question
  4. doing so is likely to benefit both of us, one way or another – hopefully more candid feedback will ensue
  5. you know that I value your time highly, and mine specifically in the context of devoting most waking hours to making BigDoor a success
  6. you know that I am incredibly grateful to know you and have you as an investor

Those are my new assumptions.  I felt like giving this topic some time and thought, glad I did, will keep it (mostly) short going forward but hopefully you know a bit more about where I’m coming from, out of this.

Thanks again for the time today, I thought it was an awesome f-ing meeting.   I always leave them on fire.

  • http://reecepacheco.com/ reecepacheco

    that’s fuckin’ awesome

    gotta have people around the table who fire you up

  • http://byJess.net/ Jess Bachman

    Having your assumptions challenged and ideally proven wrong has all been a delight of mine.  It creates headroom for improvement.

  • Anonymous

    I love honesty. And thanks for the ‘Inside Apple’ Book recommend I loved ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson and thought it seemed to be something sub par. I guess not, and thank you for showing me my error.

    Do you like any Cormac McCarthy? After Reading Roger Ebert’s ‘Life Itself: A Memoir’ he mentioned how much Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Suttree’ helped him after his health issues.

    I then told my friend who has read all of Cormac and he responded
    I suggest you don’t read Suttree as your first McCarthy – it’s his most difficult and convoluted book by FAR. In fact I see it as his ‘experimental’ one-off book that is almost completely different to anything else he’s written. It’s a raaaambling semi-autobiography and very slow.Read: Outer Dark, The Orchard Thief or Child of God.
    Suttree is exquisitely written but doesn’t have the solid plot structure that his other novels share – in fact it’s quite the opposite.

    Ebert obviously was well versed in Cormac and Suttree at the time helped him. Thinking now my first Cormac read will not be Suttree. 

    I’m a huge film fan and wondering if you have read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals’.
    Its outstanding and being a massive film fan am looking forward to Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ due out in dec http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443272/Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, what a dream. They obviously not telling the whole 944 pages. Doing a section of his life. 

    Currently reading
    Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman 
    The Start-up of You
    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking 
    The End of Illness Great by Choice
    Use Your Brain to Change Your Age

    still needing to finish Moonwalking With Einstein

    Looking forward to Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think 

    currently listening to Venture Deals
    and OMW just waited for Do More Faster and looked now on amazon and its out
    Published: January 26, 2012
    thanks!loved the read of it,
    looking forward to the listen. great surprise of the day.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I’m a huge Cormac McCarthy fan!

  • http://twitter.com/ildarius yldar hakimo

    funny how a single, yet carefully chosen word can yield such a response

  • http://patrickfoley.com/about Patrick Foley

    I learn by modeling, so this was helpful. Thanks to both of you.

  • Anonymous

    This caused me to identify an error I occasionally make: conflating ad-hoc with casual communication. Thanks to Jeff & Brad for clarifying my view that unanticipated circumstances merit timely, considered and frank communication.

  • Alexander Close

    “…it was an awesome f-ing meeting.  I always leave them on fire.” 

    #beonfire

  • http://www.uoften-tablettepc.com/ tablette pc

     so cool of this ,thanks for your shaing ,

    i will go here often,ple!!

  • http://www.samedaydr.com/ Rich Weisberger

    vc investments are “investments”, whether it is 5k or 500k. It is always good to remind the startup of that.

  • http://termpaper-blog.com/ term paper

    awesome

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