Every week during our accelerator program, the teams have to choose a “Big Rock” goal for the week. If they don’t meet that goal, they have to do something like sing karaoke during our team meeting or tell an embarrassing childhood story. The MergeLane team plays too. Since we’re trying to help our teams think bigger, I decided I’d pick something BIG. We’re pursuing more corporate sponsors at MergeLane, so I set my goal to get a meeting with a major car company. I got the meeting, but I was a day late.
My co-founder Sue usually names the penalties, and her pick for me was to take Atomic Fireball candies out on Boulder’s Pearl Street mall and pass them out to strangers while telling them that I had missed my MergeLane goal. I came up with the idea of wearing my Kangoo Jumps, bouncing boots for aerobic fitness. They reduce the impact on the joints and you burn more calories than regular running, but they look EXTREMELY odd. Although this might seem embarrassing to most people, I was secretly thrilled. This penalty combined my two favorite things — exercising and having an excuse to tell strangers about the cool things we’re doing at MergeLane.
I had some surprises in the execution. I was tired from a big run the day before. Then, when I went to the old-time candy store in town to buy Atomic Fireballs, I found 25 10-year-olds waiting in line in front of me. After my one-hour candy excursion, I was psyched to use my Kangoo Jumps run as an excuse to talk to potential investors and entrepreneurs. I passed tons of hip startupsters and seeming Boulder investor types (you can make a rash judgment by the assumed price tag of the carbon-fiber bikes) on my way to get candy, but an hour later I found only tourists and college students. Saving grace: one female entrepreneur asked me for a MergeLane business card.
My punishment was actually a punishment, but I think it worked. I was bound and determined to meet my Big Rock for the next week, and I was reminded of how important it is to be held accountable by people you respect. One of the best and worst things about running your own startup is that you are mainly accountable to yourself. A key benefit of an accelerator – and my co-founder team – is adding many other points of accountability.
And, yes, here’s the video of my Big Rock Bounce in Boulder:
Since we are all wondering how COVID-19 will affect venture capital investment, I surveyed some of my Fund81 VC forum members to take quick pulse on their investment plans. Below is the data from the first 34 respondents.
I have battled anxiety for many years. In that journey, I've learned a lot about how to manage it and support others who battle anxiety as well. I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts.
We’re considering a few different fund administration solutions. I have a lot of questions that other fund managers may have as well. I invited Tiffany Cholez from CFO Fund Services to answer some of these questions live.
In this latest Fund81 podcast episode, I share my 2020 plans for the Fund81 forum and podcast, and a few reflections from my short bout of holiday depression.
I’ve now read over a thousand startup investor updates. The most effective updates — the ones that immediately grab my attention and heighten my interest — have similar characteristics. My advice is below, along with a comprehensive template for startup investor updates.
At MergeLane, we’ve been thinking about how changing market conditions may affect our fund in the future. I know many of our listeners are asking themselves that question as well. Our guest, Liza Benson, thrived as a VC through both the dot-com crash in 2000 and the 2008 financial crisis.
Beezer Clarkson invests in early-stage venture funds at Sapphire Partners (the division within Sapphire Ventures that invests in venture funds). In this episode, Beezer shares her perspective on venture capital trends, VC firm differentiation, and nonobvious mistakes for VC fund managers to avoid.
As an entrepreneur and startup investor, I have had many moments of feeling like I am pushing water uphill with a rake. Sometimes, I have kept pushing and have succeeded out of sheer grit. Sometimes, it was time to admit defeat. Two years ago, I had one of those moments.
Elizabeth Yin, co-founder and general partner at the Hustle Fund, shared her thoughts on how to assess a startup’s ability to “hustle”. Her thoughts are applicable to venture capitalists, startups and anyone who wants to work with hustlers.
Nearly every email I receive starts with “Sorry for the delay.” Our always-on culture has set an unwritten expectation that an email should be responded to within 24 hours. To prevent the perpetuation of this cultural expectation, I would like to make my thoughts clear.