As I mentioned in my 06.02.20 Tuesday Takeaways, I'm going to start posting my most interesting weekly thoughts, coupled with the best of my listening and reading list, and occasional MergeLane portfolio news. If you’d like to follow these Takeaway Tuesdays and our occasional blog posts, you can subscribe to our blog or follow me on twitter.
Here’s the best of what I’ve read and listened to this week:
Like many of you, I am doing a lot of thinking about how I can most effectively step up to support the end of racism. I learned a lot by reading How to Be a Good White Ally, According to Activists and have taken many of the suggested actions in this article.
Listen of the week: Rebecca Carroll’s interview with the author of White Fragility. I highly recommend the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, but I recommend listening to this interview before you read it. Rebecca Caroll offers her perspective and some of her resistance to the book as a person of color. It changed the way I related to the book for the better.
Thoughts about thinking big: I interviewed Dick Rothkopf, co-founder of Learning Curve International, the manufacturer of the Thomas the Tank Engine Toys, about the patterns he's seen in entrepreneurs who are able to visualize and execute BIG ideas. Among many words of wisdom, he shared a story about how he missed an opportunity to launch an iTunes-scale music subscription business far before Steve Jobs conceived of the idea. Dick managed to secure initial support from major music labels, but he allowed the deal to fall through because he was closed to the possibility that the structure of the opportunity could look different than what he envisioned. You can hear the full episode here: Fund81 Episode #28: Finding BIG-Thinking and Executing Entrepreneurs.
I also listened to a bunch of other interviews on the topic of thinking big. I noticed that I had a hard time really listening to one particularly interesting interviewee because she sounded so rehearsed. Despite her rockstar resume, I also found myself questioning her credibility because of what I read as an apologetic and naive tone of her voice. These are two patterns that I’ve fallen into. It was a gift to see these patterns in action.
The best example I have ever seen of how to position yourself as a leader, without speaking a single negative word about your competitors or people who think differently than you do, I listened to this interview with David Brown, the CEO of Techstars. Although the content may not be relevant to you (it’s about the power of accelerators for startups), it’s worth a listen. Despite several invitations to criticize his competitors, he took the high road every time. This is a new bar that I am going to aspire to, and I hope it will become a model for politicians, CEOs, and other leaders in our world.
Is there anything I should be reading or listening to next week? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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I find that I have to expend three times more energy to feel productive during the holidays. This pattern tends to persist not only during the week of July 4th, but for the entire month of July.
We sourced five startups from our Fund81 VC forum members to present for our June forum. Check out this episode to hear pitches from these incredibly tenacious entrepreneurs.
I have fielded several requests for introductions this week. I like to be helpful, but I also like to be respectful of my network’s time. I'd like to share a few tips for making double opt-in intros easy.
I’ve always thought of myself as someone who has a modern marriage. Three months into this COVID-19 situation, however, I'm starting to feel like I'm stuck in a 1950s sitcom.
In a conversation on my partners Sue and Leah’s Marco Polo Channel this week, I shared that my fear of how my participation may be received given my white privilege has historically kept me on the sidelines of the racial equality conversation. Guest coach Kimberly Smith gave me some great advice.
As a VC, I have the opportunity to build relationships with people who have tremendous resources. I often hesitate to ask my network to support philanthropic causes, because I want to respect our business relationship. After seeing the impact of COVID-19, however, I decided it was time to ask.
I post my most interesting weekly thoughts, coupled with the best of my listening and reading list, and occasional MergeLane portfolio news each Tuesday. Here’s the best of what I’ve read and listened to this week:
I invited Dick Rothkopf, co-founder of Learning Curve International, the manufacturer of the Thomas the Tank Engine toys, to share his thoughts on how to spot big thinkers and big ideas with the propensity to scale, and how to help entrepreneurs think bigger.
During this epidemic, I've been doing more reading, listening, and introspective thinking. In an effort to remember and share some of what I learned, I'm going to start posting my most interesting weekly thoughts + the best of my listening and reading list + occasional MergeLane portfolio news.
Two people I admire recently shared their silver lining in our global COVID-19 pandemic—an excuse to say no to the constant stream of requests for their time. I’ve made great strides in saying no with candor, but it left me wondering: Can I really stop using excuses for my nos?