When Hard Work Pays Off

This is Kevin here. Last week a short but impactful chapter in my life came full circle when HelloSign was acquired by Dropbox. I joined the company in December 2011, and working with the company’s CEO, Joseph Walla, showed me the power of focus and saying no to distractions. I blogged my reflections in When Hard Work Pays Off.

From the Operators

Patrick Collison of Stripe appeared on EconTalk, my favorite podcast, to discuss Innovation and Scientific Progress. Collison is concerned we‘re spending more than ever on science research, but getting diminishing returns. Much like Peter Thiel‘s The End of the Future, it reminds me that innovation in the largest industries (e.g. transportation, healthcare, and energy) has slowed to nearly zero. While I’m tempted to blame it on politics, I was reminded of the arguments in The DIM Hypothesis by Leonard Peikoff, which goes further down the philosophical stack from politics into epistemology.

Chad Dickerson of Reboot (and former Etsy CEO) shares The Magic of the Personal Check-In: Red, Yellow, Green. Danielle and I have been using this in team meetings ever since attending a Reboot founder bootcamp, and find it helps people bring their whole self to work.

The first time I read Blueprints for a SaaS Sales Organization, after nearly 3 years at Mattermark, I thought to myself, “Why couldn’t I have found this on day 1?” Staying human in an age of automated sales came across my radar this week, and it gave me the same feeling. If you read the Blueprints book, make sure to check out the fantastic charts and visuals.

Sarah A. Downey of Accomplice has resumed her excellent blog series Startup Trek, drawing a startup takeaway from each The Next Generation episode. We re-watched the controversial episode “Angel One” and scratched our heads trying to figure out a good startup allegory, but Sarah did much better than we could comparing Riker’s efforts to assimilate with the all female oligarchy to a story of showing up to a startup interview in a Brooks Brother’s suit, only to find everyone in hoodies.

Andy Sparks of Holloway announced Good Work, a Newsletter by Holloway this week. If you like Buried Reads, Andy has a very similar style, but is covering the challenges of modern work.

Imagine finding product market fit after your whole team has gone without salary for over a year. And just when it seems things are clicking, the government mandates your cost of goods sold must go up by 3x. Tim Westergren of Pandora sits down with GGV Capital in Real Talk Episode #19 to tell his harrowing story.

From the Investors

This week Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital appeared on Harry Stebbing’s Twenty Minute VC. Kopelman learned that partner meetings don’t have to be about getting your deal approved, rather “It’s finding truth, what’s knowable, and what risks are we taking.”

What’s it like inside a VC firm? How things work at Kima Ventures provides an inside look. For another look in VC operations, Eze Vidra of Remagine Ventures compiled the The European VC Tech Stack 2019. If you have other tools you use to source deals, keep track of prospects, find comps, or otherwise rock out your job let us know. We would love to share your “Buried Tools”.

Jason Kwon and Aaron Harris of Y Combinator announced A Standard and Clean Series A Term Sheet. Apparently, we haven’t seen any particularly crazy terms in our startup lives as this seems pretty basic. But if you’re looking to simplify, use this one. Also — why not just draft the term sheet you want and send it to the VC?

Boris Wertz of Version One Ventures rolls out his fund’s newest thesis Building Strong Local Communities. What I really love about Version One is the amazing guides they publish, and Understanding Social Platforms is no exception.

Lisa Suennen of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has a great post this week with tips on moderating a panel. I’ve sat through enough boring panels to appreciate the tips Lisa has here, and this is a must read for anyone who resolved to more public speaking in the New Year.

Matthew Cynamon is joining Union Square Ventures working as their new Network Program Manager. He’s helping to unlock the value of their extended partner and alumni network to the portfolio. I love that he listed the books he’s using to ramp up in his post Nice to Meet You.