Skip to main content
Icebreaker

Activate New Users By Doing The Minimum

When it comes to starting a new venture — success follows a singular focus on the needs of today. It does not follow the concerns about the unpredictably predictable shit storm of tomorrow. Finding focus in the midst of deep uncertainty is  akin to plowing a boat through several feet of ice that’s gathered on top of the water – it’s really hard.

 

Anytime you’re starting something new, think of yourself as an icebreaker seeking to maintain momentum regardless of what’s happening around you. Decisions must be made while constantly surveying weather conditions, ice thickness, and the status of your vessel. There’s no option to navigate to open water or have tim to process and think before you make a decision.

 

(more…)

Football Chess

One Plus Anything Equals Zero

In football, the quarterback is the undisputed leader of the offense and the bell cow for the entire team. The quarterback calls the plays, touches the ball just about every play, and perhaps most importantly – dictates the successes or failures of the team based on his performance.

 

So what happens when you have two quarterbacks that are both good enough to play? Maybe Jimmy is a better passer and Joe is a better runner? Perhaps Connor throws a better deep-ball, while Tyler has laser-like accuracy on underneath routes. It’s even possible that the coach sees the two quarterbacks as carbon copies of one another, each with equally good skills across the board.

 

Here’s the harsh reality in football: When a team claims to have two quarterbacks, it means they don’t have one. It means there’s no quarterback that’s shown the intangibles to truly lead the team and the coaches are hedging their bets.

 

Here’s what I say: Pick a leader, coach.
(more…)

Future Man

The Future of Venture Capital

The real question for venture capital isn’t if change is coming, but how change will impact the start-up world. So, let’s pull out a dusty tool from the management consulting toolkit and breakdown both the “as-is” and “to-be” VC model.

 

Venture capitalists are pioneers of the finance industry, and let’s remember that VCs are the group jumped in to serve entrepreneurs when the rest of the finance industry wouldn’t touch high-risk markets with a ten-foot pole. Banking counterparts refused to innovate or fund start-ups, largely because bankers were too busy making money performing traditional services like debt, underwriting, issuing securities, and executing mergers and acquisitions. But the pioneers of venture capital ventured into the unknown and put their necks on the line to help entrepreneurs, particularly as the world of scalable tech businesses formed. Working hand-in-hand with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists helped legitimize the start-up world.

 

So, let’s move away from the notion that venture capitalists are crusty old men with money and no innovation. That’s oversimplified at best and borderline divisive; all innovation is not coming from entrepreneurs. Venture capitalists, without a doubt, are innovators in their industry.

(more…)

Hidden Risk

The Hidden Risks of Venture Capital

As both an entrepreneur and someone who spends a lot of time supporting other entrepreneurs in the startup world, I’ve seen a lot of different approaches to growth and investing. When it comes to venture capital investing, one thing has become very clear: change is coming. The venture capital world of tomorrow will look a lot different than the venture capital world of today.

 

Let’s start by acknowledging that today’s model of venture capital is broken. According to a May 2012 Kauffman Foundation Report, less cash has been returned to venture capital investors than has been invested in venture capital since 1997. Ouch. We continue to see and read how and why the current  model has failed and it’s tough to disagree that the industry is challenged in the aggregate (read about it HERE, HERE, and HERE).

(more…)

Hiring

One Simple Strategy To Hire Proven Winners

Keep it Simple Stupid. It is a beautiful approach − so long as you don’t complicate things.

 

Let’s go back to the fundamentals of business: the team is the single most important part of your business and there’s two parts to having a world-class team:

  1. Hire great talent
  2. Create an amazing environment for the team to grow and thrive

 

Establishing and maintaining the right environment for your team is an ongoing process, but you only hire someone once. Let’s get it right. You can drastically increase your odds of success by doing one simple thing in the interview process, yet very few take the initiative to get this right. Invest the time and reap the rewards.

 

Ready to transform your hiring process and maximize your odds of success? Here’s the one thing you must do as part of the interview process:

 

Have the candidate complete an activity that mirrors what they will do on the job

Look at their resume – read what they have done.

Ask them questions – listen to what they have done.

Stalk them online – see (perhaps quite colorfully) what they have done.

No matter what you do or what type of questions you choose to ask or not ask – have the courage to ask the candidate to do something during the interview.

(more…)