Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Upping Your Game in the Board Room: A Review of Startup Boards

Four years ago, at a panel discussion for my Founders’ Dilemmas course that featured a handful of experienced serial entrepreneurs, one of the questions raised by a student was, “What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve ever gotten from a mentor?” After thinking for a few seconds, one of the panelists said, “That the goal of every board meeting … is to end it.”

My heart fell when I heard that answer. A board of directors can be an extremely valuable part of a startup’s foundation, filling in the team’s biggest remaining holes and helping the founders overcome big-picture …

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Read Startup Life!

A review of Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor’s Startup Life

Brad and Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halfway through Startup Life, married couple Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor suggest that, “Being in a relationship with an entrepreneur is hard, possibly harder than being an entrepreneur” (p. 78). This hard-learned gem of wisdom is richly conveyed throughout their excellent read.

Through their own real-life examples, and those of others, Brad and Amy drive home the message that a founder’s spouse or life partner is the true cofounder, the one without whose support and contributions the startup could be dead …

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Founder Cases in the News: Evan Williams (Twitter) and Apple

One of this week’s more intriguing (and controversial) rumors in the IT industry was about Apple’s possible interest in acquiring Twitter.

I was planning to use my next blog-post to give an overview of my new MBA course (“Founders’ Dilemmas: Money and Power in Entrepreneurial Ventures”), followed by posts on its individual case studies. However, given the Apple-Twitter rumors, I decided to jump the gun regarding two individual cases.

As it turns out, the course’s introductory case is about the early founding fireworks at Apple, and the middle of the semester features a case looking at Evan …

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“Administrivia” Corner: This Blog is Now Email-enabled

For those who prefer to receive new posts via email, I have integrated email subscriptions into this blog. Just enter your email address into the field in the right-side column to be emailed each new post.

My one request to email-subscribers is that when you see something relevant or interesting in a post, please hop into the blog to post your insights/comments on it. If you can do that on a regular basis, adding the email option will hopefully increase rather than decrease our interactive blog-dialogue about founding issues.

Coming next: “How Much (Equity) is an Idea Worth?” and …

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Looking for (Movie) Suggestions: Your Favorite Founder Scenes?

On Friday in class, we showed — and discussed — a documentary about life inside a start-up. The movie, “Startup.com,” focuses on the birth and evolution of govWorks.com. In class, we showed scenes that focused on:

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A Look Back, A Look Forward … and a Request

Thank you to everyone who has played a role in building the dialogue within this blog over the last 14 months! I’ve really enjoyed reading your observations and experiences regarding the most critical issues and choices faced by founders and those who work with them.

A Look Back

Since its launch in mid-September 2005, the blog has had almost 29,000 unique visitors, who have been responsible for more than 43,000 page views. Taking a step back to reflect on the past year-plus, here are a few quick snapshots of where the blog has been and currently stands.

The first “snapshot” …

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Upcoming Posts: Summer 2006

Here’s a preview of some upcoming posts to this blog:

  • “Rich versus King” paper, short version — My “Rich vs. King” paper (past postings: core concept and charts and discussion) was recently selected for the Best Paper Proceedings of this year’s Academy of Management meeting. The good news for anyone who might be interested in reading the paper is that, for the Proceedings, I have to create a 6-page version of the (much-longer) original paper. I’ll post a link to the short version.
  • “Golden Handcuffs” paper — This focuses on the different vesting terms used by boards to increase
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Back Online!

We wrapped up our semester last week, so I’ll now have more time to crunch numbers, write and revise papers and cases … and, hopefully, do some blogging!

Thank you to everyone who either posted comments or emailed me over the last couple of months. I hope to reply to as many posts/emails as I can, and will also start rolling out new posts about the founder issues I’m studying. In the next couple of weeks in particular, I will be posting another “upcoming features” list and an update on this year’s Entrepreneurship and Compensation survey, which has gone …

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Upcoming Keynote: October 12th in Boston

I will be giving a keynote presentation at the “Emerging Ventures” conference in a couple of weeks. Title: “Founder Frustrations” (surprised?).

Love to hear from anyone who attends. Feel free to post comments on the talk (or, if posting isn’t appropriate, to email me directly).…

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Preview of Upcoming Posts

In addition to the studies described in posts below, my other Founder Frustration research includes the following studies:

  • Building a Board - In new ventures, do CEO characteristics (prior years of work experience, functional background, founder status) and equity holdings affect Board characteristics (board composition, frequency with which the board meets, board size)?
  • Splitting the Pie - Does the initial equity split among the founders (the standard/”easy” equal split versus the more-contentious unequal split) affect the stability of the founding team as the venture grows, the venture’s growth/valuation, and its ability to attract outside investors?
  • Entrepreneurial Handcuffs - What factors
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