Category

Management

16-49-81

What do these numbers mean to you? At a recent offsite, during our conversation about evolving our communication patterns (which I refer to, in my head, as “the Matrix”), Ryan said “16-49-81.” Everyone stared at him and I responded “4-squared, 7-squared, 9-squared.” Then, everyone nodded their heads but were probably thinking “these guys are numerology…

The Value of Both Optimists and Pessimists in the Room

I spend a lot of time thinking about and working on team dynamics. For a sense of how we think about them at Foundry Group, read Lindel’s great recent post Working at Threshold. During a recent board call, there was a particularly challenging segment of the discussion. Afterward, I was frustrated because I felt like I…

The Industry Analyst Evaluation Game

Over the past 25 years, I’ve invested in many startups that sell products to large enterprises. Many of these companies end up either creating or helping to create a new category. As the startups (or the category) become visible, they inevitably attract the attention of industry analysts, who write reports on the categories and the…

CEO Problems

Recently, I was talking to a CEO of a company I’m on the board of. We were discussing a problem in the category of something new Is fucked up in my world every day He gave me a great idea. He apparently plays a game with his young (I think around 10 years old) daughter. When…

Does Every Senior Leader On Your Team Have A Backup?

I said some version of the following statement several times in the past few weeks. Assume aliens came down and one of your senior leaders was taken away to their home planet. Do they have a person reporting to them who could step into their role, even if it’s only temporary? If you are the…

Sandpaper Only Works If It Is Rubbing Against Something

I recently heard the line “sandpaper only works if it is rubbing against something” and loved it. From Wikipedia: “The first recorded instance of sandpaper was in 1st-century China when crushed shells, seeds, and sand were bonded to parchment using natural gum. Shark skin (placoid scales) has also been used as an abrasive and the…

Good Bad Like Dislike

There’s a magnificent exercise that I like to do for myself on a periodic basis. I’m sure it has a more formal name but I call it “Good Bad Like Dislike.” I create a two by two matrix that looks like this: I then go through my calendar for the next few months as a…

Do You Reduce Stress Or Increase Stress?

Mark Cuban had a great line a few weeks ago at the interview I did with him and Charlie Ergen at Denver Startup Week. He said: “I like to invest in people who reduce stress and avoid people who increase stress.” As I was dealing with something yesterday, this reappeared in my brain but slightly…

Scott Dorsey’s Attributes of Great SaaS Leaders

A few weeks ago I was in Atlanta for Techstars Atlanta Demo Day and the Venture Atlanta Conference. I had a great time and it’s fun to see the vibrancy of the Atlanta startup community. My brother Daniel came with me and we had dinner with our cousin Kenny, who lives in Atlanta, so we got some…

Men, Sex, and Power

I had a long conversation with a friend last night that included a segment about men, sex, and power. I had just finished Ellen Pao’s book Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change which I thought was phenomenal (more in a separate post soon) so there was a lot in my mind about this topic. I…