Category

General Business

Friday Fun #4: Ordinals, Texas Style

Two of my partners are from Texas (Brad, which surprises many; and Lindel, which surprises no one). This article on the various ways of describing direction in Texas was hallarious. Who knew, “down”, “out”, “over” and “up” were directions…

What does it mean to be an “executive”

We have active and lively Foundry CEO and Portfolio Executives email lists. They are among the things that I love the most about the community we’re creating at Foundry. I love watching execs across the portfolio (who refer to each other as “Foundry cousins”) help each other out and share ideas. It’s an important reminder that great companies are created not by solo, heroic efforts, but by the collective force of entire communities. Recently a CEO sent around the following question: what defines an executive (who reports to a CEO)? — especially as different from “a regular manager”. I thought a number of the responses were great and wanted to share them here so they can benefit companies beyond the…

Focusing on Actions, not Results

I just had a conversation with an entrepreneur I’ve worked with for decades that resulted in an insight that I thought was worth sharing more broadly. We were talking about managing teams and in this case the challenge of getting some of his exec team focused on broader goals and the end result we’re driving for in the upcoming year (a big growth year for this business). The solution we outlined was to focus on actions (concrete, clear, definable) vs. the more vague set of results that we had been trying to align everyone around. We’re still driving to the same outcomes but the leap was too large in a couple of cases for people to get their hands around….

BREAK THE INTERNET TO SAVE NET NEUTRALITY

We have just hours. The FCC is about to vote to end net neutrality—breaking the fundamental principle of the open Internet—and only an avalanche of calls to Congress can stop it. So we decided to help “Break the Internet” on our sites. You can also support on Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube or in whatever wild creative way you can to get your audience to contact Congress. That’s how we win. Are you in? More info here.

How Startups Actually Grow

We’ve all seen the growth curve on the left – all successful startups strive for a version of one. But in reality, the notion of a smooth growth curve actually masks how most successful companies truly grow. Our experience at Foundry suggests that if you blow up the growth curve you’ll find that companies grow linearly and that what creates the log curve is a series of small changes that either change the slope of the growth (it’s still linear, but now growing faster) or that “jump” the growth curve up (growing at the same rate but now from a high base). Examples of things that fit in the first category are changes in sales efficiency, successfully adding to the…

Reading Your VC Pitch Meeting

I’ve come to realize that many – most – entrepreneurs suck at reading pitch meetings. Frequently what I hear from a company CEO is completely uncorrelated to what I hear from the VC they were pitching. In thinking about why this is, the answer is actually relatively straightforward: VCs are predisposed to give good meetings. AND By being equivocal at the end of a meeting they preserve maximum option value. Parsing this a bit further, VCs take a lot of meetings. And they do so with varied motivations. Sometimes they’re legitimately interested in a market space or even a specific business. Sometimes another VC or entrepreneur asks them to take a meeting and they’re trying to preserve a relationship. Sometimes…

2 Productivity Hacks That Will Change Your (work) Life

I’ve been putting a lot of effort into enhancing my productivity. I actually hired a coach to help me with this (more on that in another post) and have changed around a LOT of my work life in an effort to free up time. I’ll write a longer post on a handful of tools that I’ve found that have significantly increased my ability to get work done, but I thought I’d share some low hanging fruit with everyone about the 2 things I did that have most changed my life. #1 – Know Who You Want to Meet With I was going to title this “Say No More” but lots of people have written about that. And what I’ve found…

Friday Afternoon Inspiration

Short post today from a portfolio company of ours and how they describe their culture and mission. I love it and thought it was a good way to end the week. We all move forward, together We understand that work is an integral part of a challenging life journey. Embracing our journey together enhances everyone’s experience and growth. Practicing empathy, as well as earning and maintaining the respect of our coworkers, are the core principles from which we all move forward together. Our attitude shapes our experience We affirm attitude is contagious. We are mindful that cultivating a positive attitude fosters a fun and energetic environment where we can all deliver our best results. Our quest for improvement is never-ending We…

What the current markets are and are not telling us

In response to a comment to my post earlier this week about the Profit Imperative, I rattled off some ideas about the current state of the markets. I thought it was worth sharing as a full post (I’ve edited and expanded on the original comment). There are clearly headwinds in the markets – I’m not at all suggesting that there aren’t. And we may be in a period of strong negative pricing pressure in both the public and private markets. As you know, markets tend to perpetuate themselves and pendulum. This cycle of overreacting is how business and market cycles seem to work. Without a doubt we’re in an environment of increasing volatility and that volatility alone may spook some investors.  Price shifts…