Focus

What the greatest technology investors say about Focus

FOCUS POSTS (6 posts)

The following is a list of the post titles by author under this topic.  Scroll further down this page to find the actual blog post by your selected author.   Author’s posts appear in reverse alphabetical order.  For example, following this list, Fred Wilson’s posts appear towards the beginning of the blog page, and Bill Gross’ posts appear towards the end of the blog page.   

BILL GROSS  (2 posts)

Bill Gross:  Focus is Always Better

Bill Gross:  Balance Entrepreneur's Strengths

REID HOFFMAN & BEN CASNOCHA (1 post)

Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha: Focus on Learning over Profitability

DAVE MCCLURE (1 post)

Dave McClure:   Startup Success Often Boils Down to 2 Things

FRED WILSON (2 posts)

Fred Wilson: Hire Slowly & Wisely, not Quickly

Fred Wilson:  Sustainability:  Short Term Profits vs. Long Term Health

 

Sustainability: Short Term Profits vs. Long Term Health

Fred Wilson venture capitalist and Co-Founder Union Square Ventures

Wilson discusses sustainability within the context of “[] short term profit maximization vs. long term business health []. If you want to stay in business forever, you have to focus on the long term [] [with] a business model that [ensures customer trust to keep them returning].

[][Wilson believe[s] business is about making a profit that sustains the business and enriches the owners but is not maximized in any period (month, quarter, year). [] [The] goal of a business is sustainability so that all the stakeholders (customers, employees, owners, suppliers, etc.) can rely on [it][] long term.”

When considering investments, entrepreneurs should employ survival instincts to ensure future survival.  “[][When considering whether] to disrupt their own business [] the [] choice is [not short term profit maximization but] [] survivability” even if it likely results in lower future profits. 

“[] When you construct your business model and create the [business culture], emphasize sustainability over profit maximization in everything  you create and do. [] Profits are the essence of survivability. [] But just because you need to make a profit doesn't mean you need to maximize it.  Balancing the need for a profit with [] sustain[ing] the business is the art of what [the business leader must do to win.]”  Fred Wilson, How To Be In Business Forever: A Lesson In Sustainability, Oct. 1, 2012; http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/10/how-to-be-in-business-forever-a-lesson-in-sustainability.html

 

Hire Slowly & Wisely, not Quickly

Fred Wilson venture capitalist and Co-Founder Union Square Ventures

“[Wilson’s] strong bias on [optimal headcount] [] is that  less is more.  [Repeatedly] [he’s] seen the entrepreneur who wants to hire quickly fail and [] the entrepreneur [who’s] [] slow to hire succeed.”

In his experience with software-based consumer internet businesses, “[] [success] might be most highly correlated with a slow hiring ramp [] [during a company’s early years.]  Being resource constrained can be [good] when [] getting started.  It forces [] [a] focus on what's working and get[ting] to the rest of the vision later on. []” His advice: “[] hire slowly and wisely instead of quickly.”   Fred Wilson MBA Mondays: Optimal Headcount At Various Stages, Jun 4 2012;  http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/06/mba-mondays-optimal-headcount-at-various-stages.html

Startup Success Often Boils Down to 2 Things

Dave McClure angel investor and Founding Partner 500 Startups 

“The ability to get real-time data and feedback is unique to the Internet. [] you can take advantage of that and build better products by collecting real-time usage metrics and by making decisions based on measured user data.

[] What’s really hard is simplifying your product and building a great user experience.

It’s important to start by building a culture of feedback and measured analytics into your process and your organization. [] start-up success often boils down to your ability to do two things: make money and make users happy.  If you can figure out how to do both of those things at scale, then you probably have an interesting business []. Luckily, you can tell if users are happy or not by measuring their behavior.”   Dave McClure, Obsess over Metrics, pg 183-184  Do More Faster  by David Cohen & Brad Feld 

Focus on Learning over Profitability

Reid Hoffman angel investor, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman LinkedIn and Partner Greylock & Ben Casnocha entrepreneur

Start-ups believe that “[] technology companies focus on learning over profitability in the early years to maximize revenue in the later years.”  Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha, The Start-up of You (book) pg 60   

Balance Entrepreneur's Strengths

Bill Gross Founder and CEO business incubator Idealab

“Design a structure around [the entrepreneur’s] strengths, and balance that by hiring complementary skills.”  Gross enjoys working on many different projects, considering himself unfocused--“[] yet for a company to succeed, it needs focus. At Idealab [they] brought people in with skills [Gross] lack[ed]. [They] devised a structure for companies to succeed by staying laser-like focused on their mission, but allowed [Gross] to be involved in multiple companies.”   Bill Gross: Here Are The 12 Lessons I've Learned In My 30 Years Of Being An Entrepreneur, Bill Gross, Chime  Dec. 15, 2011;  http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gross-lessons-2011-12#lesson-5-recognize-your-strengths-23#ixzz1j68rtWix

Focus is Always Better

Bill Gross Founder and CEO business incubator Idealab

“Focus is always better. We were so worried we were going to pick the wrong focus . . .  it turns out that focus is so important, even if you pick the wrong focus you're doing better!  Doing fewer things extraordinarily well connects with the customer. This is a crucial lesson I took to later companies I started.”  Bill Gross,    BILL GROSS: Here Are The 12 Lessons I've Learned In My 30 Years Of Being An Entrepreneur, Dec. 15, 2011;   http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gross-lessons-2011-12#lesson-4-focus-focus-focus-18#ixzz1j67v0bkj;

http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gross-lessons-2011-12#ixzz1j5th1O5b