The Key to Better Cybersecurity: Keep Employee Rules Simple

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It’s a common adage that employees are the weak link in corporate cybersecurity. But I believe they are also the best defense, if they are given policies that are easy to follow and not too numerous and complex. Employee security training and best practices need to be user friendly and simple to be effective.

Cyber attackers don’t need to have advanced hacking skills to break into corporate networks; they just need to know how to trick people into opening attachments and clicking on links. Phishing attacks are the cause of 90% of all data breaches and security incidents, according to the latest Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. Clearly, employees are the main gateway into the organization for attackers. As a result, they are also the first line of defense. The Verizon report found that employee notifications are the most common way organizations discover cyberattacks. So arming these

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CEOs Should Leave Strategy to Their Team — and Save Their Focus for Execution

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The common perception is that strategy is done at the top of the org chart, and execution is done below. It is exactly the opposite – let me explain why.

First, I should explain that I have always hated the use of the term “execution.” Its common definition is fundamentally unhelpful, and contributes to what executives often call “the strategy-execution gap.”

Usually when businesspeople talk about “strategy” and “execution,” the former is the act of making choices and the latter the act of obeying them. My quibble with this characterization is that the things that happen in the activity called “strategy” and the activity called “execution” are identical: people are making choices about what to do and what not to do. In my 36 years of working with companies, I still haven’t seen an example of a strategy that was so tightly specified that the people

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200x Growth

Back in 2011, my partner Brad suggested that USV invest in a search engine called DuckDuckGo.

I laughed at the idea, “why would we ever want to compete with Google?”

“Because they do something Google will never do”, Brad explained.

That thing was private search, no storage of search history, no storing of personal information.

DuckDuckGo was doing about 100,000 searches a day when we had that conversation.

Last week, they had a day in which over 20mm direct searches were done.

That’s 200x growth over the six plus years we have been invested in DuckDuckGo.

Brad was right, of course, and I saw that pretty quickly as did everyone else at USV and we made that investment.

And I’m very glad we did.

I suspect I’ve told this story a few times now at AVC.

I love it so much.


Albert Wenger — November 20,

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Creative Financing-Delayed Cap Notes

There are several ways to finance a startup at inception.  The traditional route is your own pocket and sweat equity or a “friends and family” round.  Seed investors like angels and angel groups come next along with seed funds.

Typically these rounds are no longer priced rounds but are valued as debt or convertible debt.  I have written about convertible debt in the past.  There are different kinds of notes.  The primary ones are capped and uncapped notes.

A capped note basically says to the world what you want your valuation to be.  VCs that come in next rounds will look at that cap and immediately anchor on it.  It’s not a smart way to fund a business over the long haul but I know they are in vogue.

An uncapped note is free money for the entrepreneur with all the risk being Continue reading "Creative Financing-Delayed Cap Notes"

Avoid The Perception, or Temptation of Any Impropriety. Get Deskpass!

The tally of sexual harassment offenders that have been outed in the past few months is too long to name.  High profile journalists, venture capitalists, businessmen, and politicians all have been implicated.  I am sort of surprised we haven’t seen anything in reverse where a powerful woman does something to a man.  When I was in college I had it happen to me once.  I put an end to it.  Had a male teacher in high school do the same thing.  Not cool.

I don’t want to go into the tawdry details.  As a father of daughters, I am shocked it still goes on.  A friend of mine was at a business conference last week and a potential customer shook her hand with a room key in it.  When it dropped to the floor he said, “Just joking.”  Screw him.  Continue reading "Avoid The Perception, or Temptation of Any Impropriety. Get Deskpass!"

Getting feedback from your Board

After a Clio Board Meeting last week I received the following email from Jack Newton, the company's amazing co-founder & CEO.

Hi everyone,

I'd like to experiment with requesting some 1:1 feedback on our board meetings. Please take 5 minutes and provide feedback through this Typeform:



I thought this was a really great idea and worth sharing here. I removed the URL from Jack's Typeform but rebuilt it quickly so that you can check it out:

powered by Typeform

If you're not getting feedback from your Board members you're missing out on something. Preparing and holding Board meetings is a big time investment, and making them really effective isn't easy. So you should Continue reading "Getting feedback from your Board"

The Real Genius of Tesla Roadster



The new Tesla Roadster is quite a beauty, even though it is not quite a roadster in the classic sense. It is more like a 4-seater with a removable roof. But still, hubba hubba! I mean who would not want a supercar. Especially the Founders edition for a mere $250,000. When compared to those mega-million dollar Bugattis this is downright cheap.

For those who are doubting on Tesla’s ability to make these supercars – remember way easier to make a 1000 supercars for fanboys versus making 100,000 sedans a year for hoi polloi. The doubting toms are obviously going to bring up some challenges of math and physics to make this happen, but that does not take away the fact that it is a middle-aged dream, a fantasy even.

Jeremy Clarkson has built a career on that fantasy – and we middle-aged blokes all like to think we can drive

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