Change Creates Information

My partner Albert likes to say that “change creates information.” I have seen this a lot recently in our portfolio. A change in leadership, a change in strategy, a change in cost structure. Doesn’t really matter what it is, it can tell you a lot about what is going on in your company. Making changes […]

IBM and Microsoft

As I was watching all of those Watson ads on TV this weekend during the Masters golf tournament, I thought to myself “well look at that, IBM has built the first big AI brand.” And that is coming from a true dinosaur of the tech business. Even more impressive in many ways, is what Satya Nadella […]

Board Feedback

One of the most frustrating things about Board meetings is that it is difficult for founders and CEOs to get feedback on them.  I’ve seen some interesting approaches to addressing this problem lately. Some companies are sending around post meeting feedback forms and asking all attendees to fill them out. Some CEOs have asked their […]

Using Debt Like Growth Equity

If you are in the venture or startup business and don’t read Dan Primack, consider changing that. He’s great. From his newsletter this morning: Indebted: Last week we noted that Wal-Mart subsidiary Jet.com had acquired ModCloth, an online retailer of vintage women’s apparel. No financial terms were disclosed, but this didn’t feel like a success […]

7 Ways to Boost Motivation In Your Team

It’s not just their leadership skills that will soar. Your business will too. As a business owner, it’s not just the job make budgeting decisions, sign the paychecks, and promote production and sales. It is also part of the job to motivate your team to…

Gender Diversity

Today is International Women’s Day and I thought I would recognize it by writing about gender diversity, a challenging topic for many in the startup/tech sector. I believe that diversity of all kinds results in better companies, better performance, better culture and better workplaces. It is challenging for many small tech companies to build diverse […]

Cultural Differences

A friend of mine likes to say that “culture is destiny.”  You can get everything else right but if you get your culture wrong, you are going to have problems. As I look across our portfolio, I see many different cultures, some very strong and obvious even to outsiders. Some cultures are more nuanced and […]

Getting Human Resources Right

The news out of Uber last weekend was horrifying. A woman engineer was unable to get human resources to deal quickly and appropriately with a sexual harassment claim. I don’t know anything more than what I learned in her blog post. Uber is investigating and the full story will likely emerge in due course. I […]

What We Don’t Do

Strategy is hard and becomes increasingly important as companies grow and scale. One thing I advise teams to focus on when they go through a strategy exercise is to identify the things they won’t do. One way to do this is to make a list of all the things people inside (and outside) the company […]

From The Archives: Retaining Your Team

I picked up a bad head cold in SF this week. It’s rainy and cold there and that got the best of me. So I’m running a post from the archives and medicating myself instead of writing today. Retaining Your Employees I hate to see employees leave our portfolio companies for many reasons, among them […]