Its been two years since I moved to Silicon Valley to work at Vast.com. It’s an amazing team, and being mentored by former CEO Kevin Laws and the current CEO John Price will leave an impact on me for the rest of my career.
However, I’ve decided to leave Vast and have accepted an offer in what is literally the heart of Silicon Valley on Sand Hill road, at Charles River Ventures (CRV). My new boss is George Zachary (ranked as #48 by Forbes, and rising).
Despite not announcing it (thanks Marshall), I’ve received many a private congratulations and a few publicly.
I can’t say much about my role publicly other than I’m the new best friend of the seed portfolio at CRV, where their success determines my success. So in that regard, I’m looking forward to making them as successful as can be!
As an aside, I’m already behind in my email and sorry to those waiting. But since people have heard I work in VC now, my inbox has hit a new level not just in volume of requests for my help in something but aggressiveness to do so. Please be respectful, thanks
David Wilson, a journalist for Fairfax, approached me the other month to give him my thoughts of Silicon Valley. The resulting interview appeared on Fairfax’s online mastheads (which include The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Brisbane Times). The article had more focus on me than I expected, but Wilson still captures some important lessons I’ve learned since moving here.
One that is mentioned is the importance of not planning. I’m a big believer that you can’t plan your life (or your business). To put it simply, using yesterday’s information to make decisions about tomorrow is just not as effective as using the most recent information and reacting. Check out the very successful and intelligent Jason Fried of 37 Signals who says something similar:
So it’s not about the big plan, it’s about a day by day by day by day and seeing where things go and just kind of making decisions as we go.
And the main reason why I think this is important is because people often make decisions with the wrong information. So they make decisions far into the future, based on information they have today. You’re better off making decisions today based on information you have today because that’s when you make your best decisions. You make your best decisions when you have the best information. That’s always right now.
Another lesson I’m learning but which I didn’t mention, is that capitalism — effective capitalism — is brutal. It’s something I’ve observed with successful business people in Australia and America and I’m still trying to collect my thoughts about it. For example, employees and their termination — I’ve had several people explain to me the difficulty they’ve experienced doing it, which is for the better of the business.
To put this in context, loyalty and personality should not be confused as performance (which really, is the point of the employment). And if you’re not performing (or the broader function you are a part of), there’s the door. Brutal, I know — but what’s more brutal is a business collapsing and everyone losing their jobs. Effective capitalism isn’t about protecting an individuals ‘entitlement’ to a job; it’s about evolving the entitlement of an enterprise so that it can continue to sustain itself.
I wrote my first ever guest post. And to think only a few months ago, I was getting high fives from everyone on the surprise coverage on the startup bus from TechCrunch. You can read it here: http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/05/privacy-failures-facebook-dna/
As for the bus, I’m really sorry for the lack of posting – I hope to correct that. In better news, I’ve got some exciting plans for next year that will take it to the next level (feedback so far: “you’re crazy” which is the first idea – by the fifth one people are laughing at how crazy I am).
Looking forward to sharing that once I start moving ahead on that, which I will announce at the end of my series on the startup bus (as I promised).