If I were an NFL owner here is what I would think about the players’ choice to #takeaknee

This group of men, the players in the NFL, have spent their lives on the field working to keep their knees off the turf. They have spent their lives off the field bowing to no one. They have pushed themselves physically, intellectually and socially. That is the only way they could make it to the NFL.

So, what does it take for these strong, intelligent, socially conscious, brave, black men to rest their knees on the ground? Remember what this is about. Understand why these men are kneeling.

Since they were young boys, these players’ ability to stay on their feet has been a ticket to something bigger. From Friday night lights to scholarship Saturday to earning the right to play on Sunday they have kept their feet moving. To get here, they have stood tall through lots of shit. These men were born special. They have unimaginable gifts. Throughout their

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Walk The Ridiculous Path

A startup begins when someone who doesn’t know better embraces a breakdown in the traditional ways of perception — when you understand a customer in a new way or see a solution to a problem people didn’t even know they had. A startup begins with a seemingly ridiculous experiment.

Ridiculous experiments are strangled in a culture that idolizes success and nurtured by one that accepts failure. When you chase success, you try to win at the same game as everyone else. You chase the current big winners by acting like the current big winners. In the effort to look or act like someone else, to be closer to their path, you forget that start up success lies at the end of paths not yet taken. When you chase success you fear failure and forget to do ridiculous things.

When you chase success, you accept that there is “the way” and listen when

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My New Calendar System

Over the past few months I’ve been trying an experiment with my calendar. It’s working and a friend encouraged me to share it. Visuals help so I pulled screen shots of my calendar for the up coming week and the same week a year ago. It’s a holiday week, so not the busiest, but absent some typical breakfasts and evening events it is representative and illustrates the difference.

This was my calendar the Week of Labor Day 2016

To avoid burying the lead, my new system is 4 meetings a day and nothing scheduled more than 7 work days in advance. I have meeting slots at 10:15, 11:15, 2:15 and 3:15. The rest of the day is open for internal meetings and work. Lunches are few and far between. There’re exceptions to rules, (board meetings, the First Round Partner meeting etc.) but this system is the guiding principle and it’s

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Trust your own mind

When you are doing something that has never been done before, it can be really hard to trust the stepping stones of your experience to carry you through any decision you have to make. It helps to have someone who is not looking for the answer, but instead is looking for the answer in you and pointing it out so you can see it too.

An advisor’s job is to build confidence and help founders discover their best answer to any challenge. It is not to be a critic.

I have opinions (and work to deliver them unvarnished) but I have found the lack of criticism creates an empty space and founders fill it. They fill it with creativity and incredible execution. To criticize implies I know the answer — that I can discern good from bad. I probably can’t. I probably don’t have context. So the founder (and my investment) are better served

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VC/Founder partnerships and the cycle of destructive deduction and creative induction

I recently read Boyd (h/t and thanks to rands) and it got me thinking about the role of the founder and the VC in a successful partnership. There is a stark difference in the mindset and approach required for founders and VC’s to maximize their contribution to a company. Winning depends on each knowing their role and respecting the role of the other.

The founders I work with know that a critical part of my working style is knowing when to be quiet. I prefer to create silence, even awkward, uncomfortable pauses after a question or a reframing of a challenge because when founders step in and fill the gap in conversation, the quality of the discussion goes up. Every. Single. Time.

My job is to help take a mental model apart. I push founders to pull at the building blocks of the model in an effort to topple the

Continue reading "VC/Founder partnerships and the cycle of destructive deduction and creative induction"

VC/Founder partnerships and the cycle of destructive deduction and creative induction

I recently read Boyd (h/t and thanks to rands) and it got me thinking about the role of the founder and the VC in a successful partnership. There is a stark difference in the mindset and approach required for founders and VC’s to maximize their contribution to a company. Winning depends on each knowing their role and respecting the role of the other.

The founders I work with know that a critical part of my working style is knowing when to be quiet. I prefer to create silence, even awkward, uncomfortable pauses after a question or a reframing of a challenge because when founders step in and fill the gap in conversation, the quality of the discussion goes up. Every. Single. Time.

My job is to help take a mental model apart. I push founders to pull at the building blocks of the model in an effort to topple the

Continue reading "VC/Founder partnerships and the cycle of destructive deduction and creative induction"

VC/Founder partnerships and the cycle of destructive deduction and creative induction

I recently read Boyd (h/t and thanks to rands) and it got me thinking about the role of the founder and the VC in a successful partnership. There is a stark difference in the mindset and approach required for founders and VC’s to maximize their contribution to a company. Winning depends on each knowing their role and respecting the role of the other.

The founders I work with know that a critical part of my working style is knowing when to be quiet. I prefer to create silence, even awkward, uncomfortable pauses after a question or a reframing of a challenge because when founders step in and fill the gap in conversation, the quality of the discussion goes up. Every. Single. Time.

My job is to help take a mental model apart. I push founders to pull at the building blocks of the model in an effort to topple the

Continue reading "VC/Founder partnerships and the cycle of destructive deduction and creative induction"