I’ve been a board member for hundreds of startup companies. Many of them never got larger than 10 people while others grew to thousands of people. After being in thousands of board meetings, I’ve concluded that the vast majority of private company board meetings are worthless and the current construct of a private company board an obsolete artifact that has barely evolved over the past 30 years.
I started thinking about this in depth in 2009 when I wrote a post titled The Best Board Meetings. Since then I’ve written other posts on board meetings including VC Behavior in Board Meetings, Board Meeting Lessons From The Supreme Court, Start Every Board Meeting With A Demo, Note To CEO’s: Decisions Come From You, Not The Board, and Should VC Board Observers Rights Exist?
As I continued to serve of boards and think about how they worked, I started trying different things. Some of these things I learned from the boards I was on; others were random things I just decided to try. Some worked, some didn’t, but I learned from all of them.
During this process, Mahendra Ramsinghani, who I got to know as he was writing The Business of Venture Capital: Insights from Leading Practitioners on the Art of Raising a Fund, Deal Structuring, Value Creation, and Exit Strategies, approached me about writing a book together. He’d noticed several of my posts on the roles of a board in a startup and thought that this would be a good topic to tackle together. I agreed and off we went.
Startup Boards is currently in process – it won’t be published until Q1 of 2013. In the mean time, both Mahendra and I will be blogging our thoughts about startup boards periodically and hopefully engaging those of you who are interested in learning and understanding what you think works or doesn’t work. I hope to continue to learn from this process as I work hard to figure out a way to make startup boards highly effective.
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post on Feld Thoughts describing a new book I’m writing called Startup Communities: Creating A Great Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your City. This is a topic I’m incredibly passionate about as I believe you can create great startup communities in cities all over the world. While some people believe Silicon Valley is the only place one should start a company, I firmly reject that notion.
I live in Boulder, Colorado and have been part of an incredibly entrepreneurial renaissance during the 16 years I’ve been living here. Boulder, which has been recognized in many different ways as a great example of a startup community – including recent profiles in the New York TImes and BusinessWeek – is where I spent a lot of my time. But the VC firm I’m a partner in, Foundry Group, invests around the US and we’ve experienced great growth in the startup communities in cities like New York, Boston, Seattle, and Los Angeles over the past few years. Finally, through our work with TechStars and the TechStars Network, we are experiencing (and participating) in the creation of startup communities all over the world.
As part of writing this book, I’ve decided to start a blog to explore some of my thoughts, build a community around this topic, and highlight other amazing things going on in other startup communities that we can learn from.
Come join me on this exploration. If you’ve got a startup community story to share, email me and I’ll get it up on this blog.
On June 21st, 2011 we (Amy Batchelor and Brad Feld) celebrated our 18th year of being married. Like any couple, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we feel like we’ve figured a lot of things out. As a result, we’ve decided to write a book called “Startup Marriage: Balancing Entrepreneurship and Relationship.”
Today we find ourselves in Paris on the first day of a two month “mini-sabbatical.” We are spending July in Paris and August in Tuscany. For the past decade, we’ve spent the month of July at our house in Homer, Alaska – we thought we’d try something different this year.
Our goal with this mini-sabbatical is to be together 24 hours a day for two months, explore two fascinating places together, write a first draft of Startup Marriage, and continue to do our regular work, just from a remote location with no travel. Oh – and eat a lot of amazing food.
We’ve decided to co-write this blog in the spirit of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. Gretchen and The Happiness Project are an inspiration for us and hopefully we’ll be able to produce something pertaining to entrepreneurship and relationship that is as amazing as what she has done around happiness.
Of course, we encourage anyone that is interested in this to follow along, comment on this blog, or email us about anything that is on your mind concerning entrepreneurship and relationship.