Leadership

What the greatest technology investors say about Leadership

LEADERSHIP POSTS (8 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 Jeff Clavier’s post appears towards the end of the blog page.  

JEFF CLAVIER  (1 post)

Jeff Clavier:  Jeff Clavier: What I Look at When Investing

RON CONWAY (1 post)

Ron Conway:  What Ron Conway Looks For in a Deal

BILL GROSS   (2 posts) 

Bill Gross:  Lessons from Flops

Bill Gross:  Balance Entrepreneur's Strengths

MARK SUSTER   (2 posts)

Mark Suster:  Early Stage Technology Investments Come Down to 4 'M's'

Mark Suster:  Successful Entrepreneurs have these Qualities

FRED WILSON  (2 posts)

Fred Wilson:  Sustainability by Fred Wilson

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

Sustainability by Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson venture capitalist and Co-Founder Union Square Ventures

Wilson believes the concept of sustainability needs greater consideration today in business as “[] the focus on performance and efficiency often comes at the cost of sustainability.   

[] sustainability is all about figuring out how to be in business forever.  It is about [:] [win/win] business models that [] lead to happy long term customer and supplier relationships [;] [] avoiding the temptation to overreach [] [and] maximize near term profits at the expense of long term health [;] [] adapting [] to changing market dynamics [;] [] building a team and a culture that can survive the loss of the leader and keep going[;] [and] [] many more things like this.”  Fred Wilson, Sustainability, Nov. 21, 2011  http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/11/sustainability.html

Successful Entrepreneurs have these Qualities

Mark Suster Partner Upfront Ventures and former entrepreneur

 Suster believes successful entrepreneurs have these qualities:  “1. tenacity, the most important [].  2. street smarts []” including “[] know[ing] [] how customers buy and how to excite them [], [an ability to] spot opportunities that aren’t being met and [] design products to meet these needs. []”. “3. ability to pivot []” which “[] might just be a totally different business model.[]”  “4. resiliency  []. 5. inspiration [].  6. perspiration [].  7. willingness to accept risk []. 8. attention to detail [].  9.  competitiveness []. 10. decisiveness []. 11. domain experience []. 12. integrity  []”.    Mark Suster, Entrepreneur DNA, December 15, 2009;http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/entrepreneur-dna/ What Makes an Entrepreneur (2/11) – Street Smarts December 16, 2009

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/12/16/what-makes-an-entrepreneur-210-street-smarts/

What Makes an Entrepreneur (3/11) – Ability to Pivot December 17, 2009

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/12/17/what-makes-an-entrepreneur-310-ability-to-pivot/

Early Stage Technology Investments Come Down to 4 'M's'

Mark Suster Partner Upfront Ventures and former entrepreneur

“[] [Almost] all VC investments in early stage technology & Internet investments come down to just four key factors []: management, market, money [i.e., valuation] and above all else momentum [i.e., mostly product momentum]. 

[] The number one thing that investors get their checkbooks out [for is] momentum.  [Momentum has various definitions]:  user numbers, revenue, channel partners, biz dev deals, [etc.]. 

[] [Suster’s investment decision is based] 70% [on] management, 30% [on] product. 

[] [Almost] all VCs care about investing in big markets with ambitious teams.

[] Most VCs want to own between 20-25% minimum of [a] company. [] [Investors need to] own enough [equity] to make it worth their time – thus “money”. And all of this is wrapped up in forward progress that [entrepreneurs] demonstrate over time.”   Mark Suster, The Four Main Things that Investors Look for in a Startup,  October 6, 2010

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2010/10/06/the-four-main-things-that-investors-look-for-in-a-startup/

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

Lessons from Flops

Bill Gross Founder and CEO business incubator Idealab   

“[] Though 35 of Idealab's companies have gone public or been acquired, 40 have failed, and Gross says he has learned many valuable lessons from the flops. Among them: It's crucial for company founders to assemble a strong team of complementary talents — not just engineers but socially fluent networkers, logistical wizards, big thinkers. "Where there was strong leadership that came with different points of view, but with mutual trust and respect," [Gross] said, "those companies succeeded more often — it's shocking to me that that is the highest correlation" with a start-up's success.”   Bill Gross,  LA Times article Bill Gross' many business ideas by David Sarno, July 8, 2012;  david.sarno@latimes.com

What Ron Conway Looks For in a Deal

Ron Conway angel investor

What Ron Conway looks for in a deal: “[] traits that good investors look for in entrepreneurs []”:

[] personal chemistry with the entrepreneur 

[] great idea

[] solving a practical and real problem

[] sectors that [grow] at thousands of percent a year

[] good elevator pitch – [ability to articulate what the company wants to do] in 5 words 

[] IP (intellectual property) [] matter[s]

[] [team’s] personal characteristics including [intangibles like passion, vision, body language, being decisive, reliable] ]

[] hire ahead of [the] needs [if possible []]

[] CEO [] [must set the example as a team builder and leader] []”.

Ron Conway, Startupatwork Interview Ron Conway: What Ron Looks For In A Deal, StartupAtWork  Feb 20, 2010; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hksBO57gfaw

Jeff Clavier: What I Look at When Investing

Jeff Clavier angel investor, Founder and Managing Partner, SoftTech VC

“I look at the three typical factors [when investing]:  the team, the product, and the market.

[] I’m going to really focus on the team. What’s their background? What have they done? What’s the dynamic between the different members, are they complementary?

[] an early-stage team is always about two or three people, and they have a lot of potential [] but they don’t have everything. [] I’m always looking at the core team as the initial asset I invest in.

[] I don’t want to have to change the founding team []. It’s either I buy them as they are or I pass on them as they are.

[] Can I see them being successful as they are without fundamental changes to the team? Otherwise, it is just too much work.

[] I want people working extremely hard while being dedicated to and passionate about their business and who have empathy. You have to walk on water to be a successful entrepreneur, so empathy is very important.

Sometimes you just feel that people are natural-born entrepreneurs because you see they have a clear vision, understand the steps, and know how to go from where they are to the next steps. [] If they can convince you as an investor, they will be able to convince employees [] to join them or future customers to use their products.” Jeff Clavier, Seed Capital From Angel Investors: Jeff Clavier, Founder And Managing Partner, SoftTech VC; July-Aug. 2010; http://www.sramanamitra.com/2010/07/28/seed-capital-from-angel-investors-jeff-clavier-founder-and-managing-partner-softtech-vc-part-1/