Category: Board of Directors

Book: Startup Boards, 2nd Edition Is Available

This post is by Brad Feld from Brad Feld

The 2nd Edition of my book Startup Boards: A Field Guide to Building and Leading an Effective Board of Directors launched today.

My co-authors, Matt Blumberg, the CEO of Bolster, and Mahendra Ramsinghani, were a joy to work with.

While the 1st Edition was a good book, I wasn’t particularly proud of it because I didn’t feel like it was my best writing. We worked hard on this edition, and I now feel like it’s equivalent in quality to my other books.

Effective boards are critical at this moment in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. While I hope this downturn is short, I think it will be long and painful. In either case, highly functioning boards can help startups navigate this moment, while dysfunctional and weak boards can accelerate the demise of startups.

If you have a board of directors, want to have a well functioning one, are a director, or want to be a director, I encourage you to grab a copy of Startup Boards: A Field Guide to Building and Leading an Effective Board of Directors.

The post Book: Startup Boards, 2nd Edition Is Available appeared first on Brad Feld.

How To Present to a Board: Five Key Principles

Original artwork by Katie Rhead

Just before I was getting ready to present a key proposal at a major board of directors meeting, a colleague who was the CFO (now a CEO) reminded me, “there is no such thing as a good board meeting — just one where nobody gets fired.”

That’s not far from the truth. I’ve seen too many self-inflicted career wounds in front of a board. I’ve seen executives go into board meetings full of confidence and come out crushed. I’ve witnessed senior leaders do such a lousy job presenting to a board that it damaged or destroyed their careers.

That’s a real shame since it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are five fundamental principles I’ve learned from the numerous times I’ve presented to boards (as well as watching others) to keep in mind when it’s your time to craft and deliver your own board presentation:

  • Be Prepared: Just like a boxer spends one hour of training for every minute in the ring, put in the time to get ready. Your presentation needs a compelling storyline, key messages and solid evidence. Try to anticipate all the questions a board member might ask. Then practice enough to make sure you can present it flawlessly if someone wakes you up at 3 a.m.
  • KISS the Board: KISS as in “keep it simple, stupid.” I’ve witnessed too many board presentations in which you’d think the presenter got paid by the word. Follow Guy Kawasaki’s 10–20–30 Rule of PowerPoint. A presentation should (Read more...)

Dealing with Reality in Business

This post is by Valet from Feld Thoughts

I used to love the Matrix’s Red Pill / Blue Pill metaphor and still use it occasionally to try to make a point around dealing with reality in an entrepreneurial context. Several years ago, I became deeply bummed out about how this metaphor was being used in politics and gender equity situations. It’s gotten worse since then, and I find many of the cases it is used in and the people who use it reprehensible, so I don’t use it much anymore.

However, I used it today for a company that is doing well and has exceptional strengths and some fundamental weaknesses.

This is true of every company that is doing well.

But it’s hard to deal with reality all the time. When things are going well, leaders (and boards) often avoid dealing with weaknesses. Some board members and investors are great at motivating a CEO to level things up. Others aren’t. Some CEOs want to embrace the challenge of leveling up in areas where they, and the business, are fundamentally weak, even if it’s emotionally and functionally challenging. Others don’t, or their own behavior and wiring get in their way.

There are many points in a company’s life where the CEO and the board can either deal with or deny reality. When dealing with reality, a key factor is embracing the business, team, and individual’s weaknesses and then deciding how to address them. Collectively. With empathy and emotional support for each other.

This isn’t easy. Over the past 30 (Read more...)