• The Hub For Revolutionizing The Way Startups Work

  • Ireland Startup Community Report

    The Entrepreneurship Forum recently published a report on the Ireland startup community. By focusing on improving their culture of mentorship and how community members interact with each other, they are investing in the long-term growth and sustainability of their startup ecosystem.

    Big kudos to their use of “give before you get” – a core theme in Brad Feld’s Startup Communities – on page 5 of the SlideShare below.

  • The Story of Dallas Computer Visionaries

    This is a guest post by Skip Howard. Skip is the founder of Computer Vision–Dallas and Spacee, the next generation of interactive digital signage using computer vision, natural user interface and virtual touch screens. Follow Skip at @sphoward.

    I was a lone-coder. In most of 2012, I was building a computer vision application, turning 2D surfaces into virtual touch screens in a way that hadn’t been done before.  But I ran into a problem. I couldn’t get my computer vision engine running. I wasn’t sure if I had a math problem, a software problem or a combination of both. For almost the whole year, I worked on this problem alone, believing that there were no other resources in Dallas to turn to. At least, that was the perception. So I did what most solitary programmers do, and I took a break.  I was sure that I was the only one that understood my problem and had the capacity to solve it.  About a week into my break, I registered to attend a speech by Brad Feld. He came to Dallas in the fall of 2013 to speak about building startup communities.  I have had one of Brad’s books and came alone just to check out his speech, not knowing what he was going to cover.  Needless to say, after the talk was over, my mind was blown. My major take-aways were:

    1. If you have a problem finding resources for a specific topic or industry, then start a meetup. It’s ok if it starts with a handful of people. Start it anyway. It will grow.
    2. Be inclusive in your meetup. Make everyone welcome, no matter what the skill level. Be inviting.
    3. Give to people around you if you want to get from people around you.

    I realized that my core problem wasn’t just my software, but that we didn’t have a community around computer vision. I talked this idea over with a friend, Jennifer Conley from The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (the DEC) and she encouraged me to start a meetup. The DEC is a co-working space in Dallas, TX and Jennifer is a co-founder. She immediately donated space for the group to meet. So, in January 2014, I started Computer Vision – Dallas and had about 18 people sign up and join. We have a growth rate or 20 members Month over Month, with a very high attendance rate. Thanks to the members of this meetup, I was pointed in the right direction to solve my problem. Now I have a working engine. But it doesn’t stop there.  In June of 2014, Microsoft saw our success and offered to sponsor a Kinect hack-a-thon. We are calling it Computer Visionaries (www.computervisionaries.org). They are flying their entire Kinect for Windows engineering team to work with Dallas developers hand-in-hand.  Microsoft is paying for all food, prizes, and giveaways.  Dallas is one of four cities in North America chosen to host an event like this in 2014 and the only city south of New York City chosen in the United States. With future support pledged from Microsoft, we plan on converting this hack-a-thon into an annual conference centered on Computer Vision, which in turn will transform the developer landscape in Dallas.

    Thanks to a speech and a book by Brad Feld, today I lead a cutting edge meetup, host Computer Visionaries sponsored by Microsoft, have a patent pending prototyped software finished, and am part of the story to bring bleeding edge technology to the Dallas development community.

    Skip Howard
    Skip@spacee.co

  • Pakistan Startup Report

    You might have caught the Brazil Startup Report that was published on Startup Rev a week ago. This time, it’s Pakistan. Bowei Gai and his team have put together another informative set of slides that show how Pakistan’s startup ecosystem is quickly growing. With a population near 200 million, the percentage of creative class individuals rivals that of India and other ecosystems near their geography.

    Cities such as Karachi, Islamabad, and Peshawar have laid the groundwork for entrepreneurship – they have well regarded engineering and research university as well as incubators and accelerators to make sure that innovation is top of mind. There are a lot of Pakistanis currently living and working in Silicon Valley which imports some of that culture back to Pakistan.

    Check out the full deck below, or find it here on SlideShare.

  • Brazil Startup Report

    Just in time for the World Cup, the folks over at World Startup Report released a report on Brazil’s national startup ecosystem. Brazil is quickly rising in the ranks as an excellent place to do business, and with that is coming a flood of innovation and entrepreneurship.

    The report is packed with goodies such as an overview comparison to the United States and India, as well as the trends of internet usage in the country. Both seed and institutional money is showing up in Brazil which is additional fuel to the entrepreneurial fire that exists.

    Find the report here, or flip through it below.

  • Revolution

  • Communities

  • Life

  • Boards

  • Metrics

  • Startup Hub

What Would Jane Do?



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3D BookCoversm What Would Jane Do?

 

Guest post by Catherine Compitello

Conversation is the best kind of foreplay. Since leaving my job on Wall St. to start a rooftop farming business I’ve had lots of conversations with my mentors about what it means to be an entrepreneur and the challenges of running a successful business. My network is one of my most valuable assets. Senses are heightened as an entrepreneur. I find myself thinking through everything. As my plan develops, conversations with my mentors and colleagues help me keep a clear head, be open and flexible, take risks, and navigate challenges

Jane Miller’s Sleep Your Way To The Top is like a good friend you reach out to for advice. Or when you need a good laugh about a ridiculous situation at work. At some point we all get caught in weird situations or put our foot in our mouth. We all decide it’s time to take risks, to take on new challenges, to learn new skills. How do you play it? How do other people play it? How does Jane play it?

Jane, CEO and founder of JaneKnows, has become the highest-ranking woman at every company she’s worked for, including: Pepsi Co, Heinz, and Rudi’s Organic Bakery. Sleep Your Way To The Top is her first book and an entertaining how-to for others wanting to make it to their top. Jane asks questions as you navigate your way up, wherever up may be for you: “What’s important to you in your career?  What does success mean to you?  What is your top and how in the world do you get there?” Sleep Your Way To The Top is good for any reader but especially suited for those in the early stages of their career that need to ask themselves these very questions.

Step 1? Buy a journal. Then use it as your “What Obviously Works” journal to “build your confidence and be in control.” Get to know what you want and what your strengths are by writing them down. And continue to do this throughout your career. Get to know your weaknesses too. Knowing your weaknesses means you can get them to work with you and not against. It can give you the strength to know when to say “this isn’t the path for me,” as Jane did when she walked away from a career that was the wrong fit for her when she talks about the Myth: You can have it all. This, by the way, happens to be the only myth Jane doesn’t discredit. And I agree: it’s unfalsifiable. Instead she invites the debate to begin. Or continue, really. Also known as the myth of the work-life balance, this one is hotly debated. And one I’d love to hear more of Jane’s thoughts on. Is this myth a mislabeled (as a gender issue) problem with social and economic policy? Do we agree on what it means to lead a successful life? Are we asking ourselves if we are living the kind of life we want to lead? How do you define that?

Keeping a journal is something Jane recommends you adopt early on in your career, so it naturally comes at the beginning of the book. But you can read through the myths in any order you please. And a lot of myths are covered: Networking Is Sucking Up; Leaders Are Born Leaders; Only Extroverts Win In The Corporate World.

As we all know, some of the most unpleasant lessons in life are learned hard and quick. When discussing one of the shorter myths in the book: “TMI is appropriate in an interview,” Jane tells an embarrassingly funny story that’s quick to the punch. Her writing pulls on her years of success in guiding businesses to deliver a light and funny read with a smart and clear voice.

*Catherine Compitello is an alternative investment marketing specialist turned entrepreneur. She founded The Farm Above, a sustainable rooftop farming business. She recently moved to Boulder, CO from Wall St., she is excited to collaborate with other entrepreneurs in the community.


The Shift: The Entrepreneurs and Companies Bringing Africa Online



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A story about blossoming technologies and entrepreneurial communities in Africa. The gist: there is a large movement to bring Africa online which will empower entrepreneurs and a new wave of innovation.


Startup Boards Book Review on Your Story



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Your Story, a site built for entrepreneurs in India, published a review of Startup Boards: Getting the Most of Your Board of Directors. The review is quick to point out that this book is a critical read for entrepreneurs that are about to take on institutional funding and need to understand investor dynamics.

The post also contains a chart that summarizes the high level themes of the book.

Read the full review here.




Remember all the times you had a crush on a girl but couldn’t do anything about it. Have you ever made things awkward with a girl you wanted? Remember trying to talk to her. Anxious for her attention but you had no idea what to do. Think about all the fantasies you’ve had about women ...




I love it when David Hornik – one of the very first (maybe the first) VC bloggers writes a post. Today’s is Want to get funded? Get an introduction! So simple, yet so often overlooked or ignored. The punch line – it’s the transitive property that we learned about in elementary school math: So how do you […]

Startup Boards Review – Christoph Trappe



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The Authentic Storytelling Project recently posted a review of Startup Boards.

Christoph Trappe, the reviewer, notes its easy to comprehend writing style and the book’s necessity for entrepreneurs  wondering about the value of starting a board as well as those who already have a board.

Read the full review here.


Seth Levine on the Boulder Thesis



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In early February, Seth Levine, Managing Director at Foundry Group, talked through the Boulder Thesis with a group in Minneapolis. The segment includes an interview with CEO Clay Collins and his perspective on startup communities.

Find a write-up and some video on the event here: http://tech.mn/news/2014/02/09/video-seth-levine-on-startup-communities/


Tax Comments on Startup Boards



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I write books not to be the authority on an issue but to lay a foundation for an informed conversation. Below are the welcome additions to Startup Boards from David Thomas, a partner at WSGR in Palo Alto. These comments will join an errata when it becomes necessary.

You suggest that the idea of an executive session is useful for board discussion because it’s an attorney / client privileged discussion.  But you don’t explain until later that the presence of the lawyer at the meeting is what makes it privileged.  You clearly know this, but could be people who don’t.

The discussion of 280G isn’t as clear as it could be.  A few comments on that:

  • I’d drop a footnote that any payments in connection with a change in control could be parachute payments, not just carveouts (e.g., if acceleration is approved)
  • I’ve never heard the term “280G election”.  It’s always referred to a “280G vote” or a “280G cleansing vote”.  From a pattern recognition perspective, you’re on your side of the votes much more than I am, so it could be phrasing that board types use.
  • This one I’d strongly urge you to make—you say that 75% of shareholders not affected by the vote get to vote.  This implies that the common holders who are the shareholders most affected are not counted in your 75%, which is absolutely not true.  You meant to say 75% of shareholders not benefiting from the carveout.

Following are some nits around the Section 409A discussion:

  • “Artificially low” implies that it has to be really discounted to be a problem, when in actuality 1 cent low and 1 dollar low have the same effect once the IRS audit starts.
  • I’d also point out that serial acquirers are likely a bigger risk than the IRS. Google, Cisco, and Oracle look at this stuff closely.
  • This and the next one are personal nits, IRS didn’t establish Section 409A, that was Congress.
  • It actually happened October 4, 2004 “a day that will live in infamy” not in 2005

 




Do not let the lunatic escape from hospital. <br>To do so, set the needle in front of him.<br>Take care not to touch the lunatic because he doesn't like it.


Does Geography Matter? The Value of Clusters and How to Engineer One



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This post originally appeared on Will Price’s blog. Find it here.

In a world of high-speed data and voice networks, web-enabled applications, and a global talent pool, does geography matter?

Will technology break down traditional industry clusters and distribute innovation, wealth, and opportunity across an increasingly flat world?

As a resident in the Valley, to me it is an important question.

Should company founders leverage the benefits of operating in a high-tech cluster and pay the cost premium of doing business here, or should they leverage the benefits of enabling technologies and remain in lower cost geographies, while working to recreate clusters?

The work of Michael Porter helps think through the issues. In his HBR article, “Clusters and the New Economics of Competition,” he lays out a convincing argument for the long-term viability of clusters.

He defines clusters as,

geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field. Clusters encompass an array of linked industries and other entities important to competition. They include, for example, suppliers of specialized inputs such as components, machinery, and services, and providers of specialized infrastructure.”

His core thesis is that advantage in the global economy lies, ironically, increasingly in local things – knowledge, relationships, and motivation.

Traditionally, competition centered on input-cost advantages – natural and human resources. Today, however, competition rests more on the productive use of inputs, which requires continual innovation. He writes, “modern competition depends on productivity, not on access to inputs or the scale of individual enterprises.

He defines the following characteristics of a cluster that accelerate productivity:

  • sourcing of information, technology, talent
  • coordinating with related companies
  • measuring and motivating improvement
  • better access to employees and suppliers
  • access to institutions and public goods (venture firms, lawyers, universities)
  • complimentarities
  • co-optition, cluster promote both competition and cooperation

Clusters also directly support new business formation. Porter argues that working in a cluster allows individuals to more easily identify gaps in the current market offerings, enables efficient access to talent, institutions, partners, etc, and a home-grown exit market (i.e. established members of the cluster are the likely acquirer).

The most important insight for me is that the modern economy competes on innovation and that operating within a cluster shortens the cycle time to identifying, resourcing, and realizing areas of need and opportunity.

Michael Porter’s thoughtful analysis helps me better understand why the Bay Area “cost premium” is well worth it. Market cap is a function of innovation and growth, and innovation is a function of access to ideas, talent, and supporting resources that eliminate frictions and catalyze connections and progress.

08cfae6 Does Geography Matter? The Value of Clusters and How to Engineer OneIronically, in an increasingly globalized economy the Valley is gaining not waning in prominence. The valley takes ~40% of total US VC, with CA taking well over 50%.

What about people, however, who are committed to building companies outside of the Bay Area? Given Porter’s work on clusters, it is clear that people outside of a major cluster must work incredibly hard to overcome the evident disadvantage of geography.

Fortunately, a real world example of kickstarting a cluster is underway: Bend, OR. Steve Blank’s recent posts on Bend highlight the work of Dino Vendetti, a former Bay Partners GP, who moved up to Bend. The most recent post,Engineering a Regional Tech Cluster, summarizes Dino’s strategy:

  • Encourage entrepreneurial density
  • Leverage the local university
  • Lobby for direct flights to major markets
  • Develop local venture capital sources
  • Invest in connection via local entrepreneur events and start-up schools
  • Harness local business community support

 

2a99882 Does Geography Matter? The Value of Clusters and How to Engineer OneDino, and other cluster pioneers, like the Foundry Group in Boulder and FirstMark in NYC, are clearly thinking holistically about how clusters take shape and what dependencies are required for them to take hold.

Will the valley’s choke hold on the technology industry continue?

Or, will the Valley’s rising costs, plus collaboration technology improvements, and cluster-based business-government initiatives (ex. Bend) see talent migrate to new clusters and geographies?

Please comment below and share your thoughts. It’s an important topic.




Tom and Tony of tastytrade talk with Brad about Foundry Group, Techstars and Bootstrapping… Related articles Startup Life Interview With Sandy Grason The Kentucky Thesis How Is Your Q1 Going? ” Feld Thoughts Feld Thoughts

Why We Start Up Startups



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This is a guest post by Victor W. Hwang, CEO of T2 Venture Creation and the author of The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley.

Pause for a moment.  And ask yourself some simple questions you probably don’t think about every day.  Why do we build companies?  Why do we innovate?  Why do we care about creating new inventions, products, and solutions, when we could simply leave things as they are?

These are questions that I think a lot about.  On the surface, the answers might seem deceptively easy.  For instance, some people want to make money.  Others like the thrill of the hunt, like a form of legalized gambling.  And others like the independence, the freedom.

But those answers seem incomplete to me.  If you’re an entrepreneur, you already know there’s more.  There are much easier ways to make money.  There are much easier ways to get a thrill.  And there are much easier ways to feel independent.  Therefore, we innovate and build companies for reasons that are deeper.

I am lucky to see a lot of the world through my work.  In particular, I get to observe a lot of entrepreneurial ecosystems.  It’s not just an academic pursuit.  I think this issue matters a lot.  In most parts of the world, they don’t build new companies fast enough, so unemployment often metastasizes like a cancer.  They don’t innovate fast enough, so standards of living creep slowly downward.  What I’ve discovered is that the underlying essence of innovation has a universal quality.  This is true whether you’re building a startup in Silicon Valley or running a family business in a Latin mercado, Asian alleyway, or Main Street in America.

Here’s what I’ve concluded.  The desire to build ventures, devise solutions, and bring ideas to life is core to the human condition.  Underneath it all, we create because we care about things.  We build because we believe in what is possible.  We innovate because we are inspired by others around us.  When entrepreneurship and innovation don’t thrive, after you strip away everything on the surface, it’s always because people somewhere, for some reason, have stopped caring, stopped believing, or stopped being inspired.  I’ve observed this phenomenon everywhere.  It’s always the same.

Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once said: “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.”  He might also have said that nothing worth doing can be achieved by a lone individual; therefore we must create together in teams.  That’s what startup companies are.  They’re just human beings working together to do meaningful things.  Building innovative teams is the only way to solve the problems that really matter.

When we talk about innovation ecosystems, therefore, we simply mean environments where it’s easier to build the needed relationships to achieve common aspirations.  Ecosystems are powered by cultural norms that accelerate the human dynamic of bonding and building together, namely diversity, connectivity, trust among strangers, willingness to experiment, and a pay-it-forward mindset.  If you think about it, this is actually quite profound.  It means that soft things create hard economic value.  It’s a new paradigm for our economic lives.  And it provides a new model to govern our societies, manage our companies, and create communities together.

Why do I write these things?  Because the new paradigm is right under our noses, but is still largely invisible.  What’s missing is a way for the builders of ecosystems to convene together, share lessons learned, and create practical methods to design ecosystems more effectively.  To make the invisible visible.  That’s the reason we started the Global Innovation Summit.  (Brad Feld’s been a fantastic supporter and advisor.)  The event is a celebration of the spirit that gives rise to vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems.  It’s a place for the builders of ecosystems to get together in person, connect with each other, and create a new set of tools, frameworks, and case studies together.  Last year, we had 49 countries participate.  The next Summit happens on February 17-19 in Silicon Valley.  I financed the whole thing last year on my personal credit card, and it’s not been easy, to be honest.  But it has to happen.  I hope you can participate.

If you’re not into conferences, we also feature lots of free or low-cost activities.  We call it Global Innovation Week, and it runs February 17-21.  A group of organizations are hosting over 20 events throughout the region related to ecosystem building.  There’s also an “indoor street festival” on the Art of Innovation, featuring over 30 creative artists and performers, sponsored by the City of San Jose as its official welcome to the world.

I hope you can join us for this celebration of the ecosystems that drive entrepreneurship and innovation.  Ultimately, we start up startups because it is what human beings do.  Entrepreneurs and innovators in the trenches already know certain truths intuitively, deep down inside.  Handshakes are more durable than contracts.  Altruism is more efficient than selfishness.  And silly things like trust and dreams and love… they actually do power the world.


Success at Work, Failure at Home



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This post originates from Scott Weiss’s blog on Andreessen Horowitz.

One of the differences between being a CEO and a venture capitalist is that I obviously meet with many more CEOs now than I did then. As such, it has become more apparent that many of my struggles as a CEO are surprisingly common. One observation that stands out, probably because it is rarely discussed, is how many founder/CEOs have relationship struggles with their significant others and families. For me, the brightest years at IronPort were without a doubt the darkest years at home. While I was focused, motivating, articulate, and decisive at work, I was inconsiderate, preoccupied, self-centered, and lazy at home.

Now, having worked through that time with my family, I’m in a much better place to reflect on what happened, how I could have handled things differently, and offer some advice to other founders who may be caught up in a similar dynamic.

As a first time founder/CEO, I really had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I had gone to business school, worked at plenty of large companies and even other successful startups, but nothing prepared me for the incredible stress and overwhelming life focus of actually running a startup.

I did my best to move up the learning curve: I surrounded myself with great mentors, board members, coaches, and, most importantly, the challenging, wicked smart executive team members that worked with me everyday. We definitely made lots of mistakes, but we did many things right and IronPort grew to be a very large and successful company over the seven years before we ultimately sold to Cisco in 2007. All that said, I believe I could have been a much more effective leader if I had leaned in at home. As my relationship with my family deteriorated, so did my concentration at work as I was constantly trying to manage it in fits and starts. Here are some details of my personal struggle:

Part of the magic of a startup is the fear of death. You have only so much money in the bank, and if you don’t get to the right milestone before you run out, then you’re dead—company goes under, it’s over. There’s a way to cheat death when you are not going to make it—you sound the alarm and force everyone to code through the night and/or weekend. This is stereotypically the life one signs up for at an early stage tech startup. Get in early, kill yourself with a team making something great, and get a meaningful product out before you run out of money. And hopefully, make it up to that hardworking team with stock options later.

I didn’t code, but as the CEO, I felt it necessary to be there physically with the engineering team. I would sit through architecture discussions, product reviews, and wireframe layouts. Sometimes, I would just get everyone lunch or dinner. When we started pulling consistent coding weekends, we brought in the entire management team to serve the engineers: We brought them food, washed their cars, got oil changes, took in their dry cleaning, and arranged for childcare for their kids in the office. Lead by example, lead from the front, was the CEO approach I convinced myself was necessary.

Now contrast this with my home life.

One of the stated values at IronPort was “work/life balance,” but I clearly wasn’t living it. I was rarely home. And when I was home, well, let’s just say I wasn’t particularly helpful or cheery. My perspective at the time was: I’m killing myself at work, so when I get home, I just want to kick back with a cocktail and watch some TV. All I do is talk to people all day long and so at home, I’d really prefer not to talk much, just relax.

This posture was, of course, completely opposite to how my wife felt. After having left her VP role in a successful startup, she was now home speaking in monosyllabic words to kids all day and was starving for adult conversation when I got in the door. And that part about sitting on my ass in front of the TV with a cocktail? This ran counter to all of her efforts to teach the kids about pitching in as a family. The message of everyone helping to cook, clean, and be responsible for the household fell completely flat when daddy wouldn’t so much as take out the trash or change a light bulb. Nope, I was far too important for that and suggested she should hire someone to keep the house clean or even cook, if that was “stressing her out”.

Ugh. I was completely missing the point and talking past her… I was setting such a great example at work, but such a terrible one at home where I often acted like a self-important asshole.

As IronPort grew, I was constantly on the road with customers, press, analysts, and of course, recruiting and energizing employees. We ultimately did over 60% of our revenue outside of the U.S., and we all felt it very important to support all of our disparate offices from Europe to Asia to South America. There were times in a given month when I was gone 50-75% of the days. Even when I was home, I was usually in this brutal state of sleep deprivation and recovery from adjusting to yet another time zone. While I was gone, 100% of the daily burden fell on my spouse, usually resulting in a solid week of arguments upon my return. I started referring to the week after a long trip as “re-entry”, like John Glenn’s Friendship Seven fireball.

After years of working full-time with our first child, and part-time after our second, my Harvard MBA wife, who had had an amazing career in her own right, “decided” to become a full-time mom and take care of our children shortly after our third was born. I say “decided” because at the time, it was clear to both of us that I wasn’t willingly scrubbing in as a 50/50 partner at home. She endured the rocky years while I was running IronPort, but insisted that when it was over, we were going to re-evaluate and recalibrate.

I took about 18 months off in between IronPort and joining Andreessen Horowitz. During that time, I was packing lunches, driving carpools, and making dinners, and began doing my real part in the family. With the help of my wife and other role-model dads, I essentially got re-programmed and it has continued to work for us even though I’m working full-time again. Now one might say that being a partner at a VC firm, even a hard working one, isn’t the same as being a founder/CEO of a startup… I’ll admit that’s true. However, now that I’m on the other side, I believe that I could have coached my former CEO self to success as well. Here are the most critical things I needed to change:

Disconnect to Connect. Although it’s easy for me to see it now, at the time I clearly thought what I was doing at work was far more important and urgent than what was going on at home. It sounds weird now, but this required a real mindset change for me. My wife dropped a bunch of hints (e.g. “How did I suddenly land in a 1950’s relationship?!”), but I was undeterred in the thick of it. The shock of almost losing the relationship made me pay more attention, but I was only going through the motions with my mind still firmly attached to the business. I believe the change in attitude came from truly connecting and tuning in at home. This required disconnecting from work (e.g. turning off the computer and phone), and completely focusing all of my attention on the details of the home. Cooking a great meal. Helping with a science project. Discussing the future with my partner. I was often rightly accused of being physically present without being mentally present. If you find yourself sneaking into the bathroom to complete emails, then you’re certainly not in the moment… Getting some time physically out of the Silicon Valley pressure cooker was also helpful in changing my perspective.

Participate. It’s just not possible to be a real partner if you aren’t materially participating. I believe even the busiest CEOs must drive a carpool, pack a lunch, help with homework, make a breakfast or dinner, and consistently attend school events. Being involved every week is the only way to stay connected at home, and it cannot be outsourced. No matter how exhausted I am from traveling, I push myself to “not be lazy” at home—it’s just too important. When you are involved, there is a natural cadence to planning the week together and communication improves dramatically.

Communicate. Multiple, daily phone and text check-ins are the norm now, but not then. When I was traveling at IronPort, I would sometimes go for days without communicating at all. Now that I am completely tuned in to the weekly family schedule, we plan and calendar family meals (perhaps the single most important thing we do), pickups and drop-offs, and make adjustments on the fly. E.g. Did some time suddenly free up so I can complete an errand? Can I pick something up on the way home? Etc. My norm is to check in between meetings, but if I’m the “parent on duty”—i.e., if my wife is out of town—then I will start a meeting with, “You’ll have to excuse me, but I’m the parent in town so I need to keep my phone handy in case of an issue.” Communication was by far my biggest area for improvement.

Planning and Priorities. My wife and I have a weekly date night. My son and I are in a fantasy football league together. I cook with my daughters. Most times these have become immovable appointments on my calendar. There is a phrase—“truth in calendaring”—if something is important, then you must carve out time in your life to do it. When my calendar reflects that I can’t do a meeting on Wednesday and Friday mornings before 9am, because I cook breakfast and drive a carpool, then it’s amazing how meetings just don’t get scheduled. If at all possible, living physically close to the office is also a huge help to juggling the priorities. It means that I can cut out for a family dinner and then go back to the office or have a late meeting afterwards.

In retrospect, I believe that I could convince the hardest working CEOs that having some real life balance by investing in your important relationships will make you a better CEO. When you are out of balance, it affects your stress, judgment, and ultimately becomes another destabilizer just when you need to be the most put together. I also believe this change is actually a much better example of leadership than the one I was exuding. When a leader shows the way toward getting things done and balancing their life, it sets a much better example for everyone else in the company who struggle with it too.

Scott Weiss, Andreessen Horowitz




Monster Checker is an App developed as a learning tool to help teach your children that monsters are not real. Almost every child will go through a phase where they th...


Can Startups Succeed Outside Silicon Valley? – Marketplace Tech



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In a piece on Marketplace Tech, Brad Feld articulates that startups do not need to be in Silicon Valley to be successful. Two examples: Boulder, CO and Provo, Utah have vibrant startup communities that allow for innovation in the early stage as well as significant exit activity.

Listen or read the full article here.

 Can Startups Succeed Outside Silicon Valley?   Marketplace Tech

Startup Communities - Chapter 3