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Elon Musk on How to Build the Future

By StarVenture

9 mins

Video

Innovation Artificial Intelligence Startup Ideas Career

Elon is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Originally a cofounder of Paypal, Elon Musk founded SpaceX to enable the colonization of Mars. Transcript Sam: Today we have Elon Musk. Elon, thank you for joining us. Elon: Thanks for having me. Sam: So we want to spend the time today talking about your view of the future and what people should work on. So to start off, could you tell us...you famously said when you were younger there were five problems that you thought were most important for you to work on. If you were 22 today, what would the five problems that you would think about working on? Elon: Well, first of all, I think if somebody is doing something that is useful to the rest of society, I think that's a good thing. It doesn't have to change the world. If you're doing something that has high value to people and frankly even if it's something...if it's just a little game or, you know, the system improvement in photo sharing or something, if it has a small amount of good for a large number of people, I mean I think that's fine. Stuff doesn't need to change the world just to be good. But, you know, in terms of things that I think are most likely to affect the future of humanity, I think AI is probably the single biggest item in the near term that's likely to affect humanity. So it's very important that we have the advent of AI in a good way that is something that if you could look into a crystal ball and see the future, you would like that outcome because it is something that could go wrong and as we've talked about many times. And so we really need to make sure it goes right. I think working on AI and making sure its a great future, that's the most important thing I think right now, the most pressing item. Obviously, anything to do with genetics. If you can actually solve genetic diseases if you can prevent dementia or Alzheimer's or something like that with genetic reprogramming that would be wonderful. So I think this genetics might be the sort of second most important item. I think having a high bandwidth interface to the brain. We're currently bandwidth limited. We have a digital tertiary self in the form of our e-mail capabilities, our computers, phones applications. We're effectively superhuman but we are extremely bandwidth constrained in that interface between the cortex and that tertiary digital form of yourself and helping solve that bandwidth constraint would be I think very important for the future as well. Interviewer: So one of the I think most common questions I hear young people, ambitious young people ask is I want to be the next Elon Musk, how do I do that? Obviously the next Elon Musk will work on very different things than you did but what have you done or what did you do when you were younger that you think sort of set you up to have a big impact? Elon: Well I think first of all I should say that I did not expect to be involved in all these things. So the five things that I thought about the time in college, quite long time ago 25 years ago, making life multi-planetary, accelerating the transition to sustainable energy, the Internet broadly speaking and then genetics and AI. I didn't expect to be involved in all of those things. I actually at the time in college I sort of thought helping with electrification of cars was how I would start out and that's actually what I worked on as an intern was advanced ultracapacitors to see if there would be a breakthrough relative to batteries for energy storage in cars. And then when I came out to go to Stanford that's what I was going to be doing my grad studies on was working on advanced energy storage technologies for electric cars. And then I put that on hold to start an Internet company in 95 because there does seem to be like a time for particular technologies when they're at a steep point in the inflection curve. And I didn't want to do a Ph.D. at Stanford and watch it all happen. And I wasn't entirely certain that the technology I'd been working on would actually succeed. You can get a doctorate on many things that ultimately do not have a practical bearing on the world. And I wanted to just...I really was just trying to be useful. That's the optimization. It's like what can I do that would actually be useful. Sam: Do you think people that want to be useful today should get PHDs? Elon: Mostly not. Sam: What is the best way to be useful? Elon: Some yes, but mostly not. Interviewer: How should someone figure out how they can be most useful? Elon: Whatever this thing is that you're trying to create, what would be the utility Delta compared to the current state of the art times how many people it would affect. So that's why I think having something that makes a big difference but affects a sort of small to moderate number of people is great as is something that makes even a small difference but affects a vast number of people like the area under the curve... Sam: The area under the curve. Elon: Yeah exactly. That area of the curve would actually be roughly similar for those two things. So it's actually really about just trying to be useful and matter. Sam: When you're trying to estimate probability of success, this thing will be really useful, good area under the curve. I guess to use the example of SpaceX. When you made the go decision that you were actually gonna do that this was kind of a very crazy thing at the time... Elon: Very crazy for sure. Yeah. People are not shy about saying that but I agreed with them that it was quite crazy. Crazy if the objective was to achieve the best risk-adjusted return starting our company is insane. But that was not my objective. I'd soon come to the conclusion that if something didn't happen to improve rocket technology we'd be stuck on earth forever. And the big aerospace companies had no interest in radical innovation. All they wanted to do was try to make their own technology slightly better every year and in fact, sometimes it would actually get worse. And particularly rockets is pretty bad. In '69 we were able to go to the moon with Saturn V and then the space shuttle could only take people to low Earth orbit and then the space shuttle retired. That trend basically trends to zero. If you also think technology just automatically gets better every year but it actually doesn't. It only gets better if smart people work like crazy to make it better. That's how any technology actually gets better. And by itself technology...if people don't work on it, it actually will decline. You can look at the history of civilizations, many civilizations, and look at say ancient Egypt where they were able to build these incredible pyramids, and then they basically forgot how to build pyramids. And then even hieroglyphics, they forgot how to read hieroglyphics. Or you look at Rome and how they were able to build these incredible roadways and aqueducts and indoor plumbing and they forgot how to do all of those things. And there are many such examples in history so I think you should always bear in mind that entropy is not on your side. Sam: One thing I really like about you is you are unusually fearless and willing to go in the face of other people telling you something is crazy. And I know a lot of pretty crazy people, you still stand out. Where does that come from or how do you think about making a decision when everyone tells you this is a crazy idea? Where do you get the internal strength to do that? Elon: Well first of all I actually think I feel fear quite strongly. So it's not as though I just have the absence of fear. I feel it quite strongly. But there are just times when something is important enough, you believe in it enough, that you do do it in spite of fear. Sam: So speaking of important things. Elon: People shouldn't think well, I feel fear about this and therefore I shouldn't do it. It's normal to feel fear. You'd have to definitely have something mentally wrong if you didn't feel fear. Sam: So you just feel it and let the importance of it drive you to do it anyway. Elon: Yeah. I actually something that can be helpful is fatalism to some degree. If you just accept the probabilities, then that diminishes fear. So when starting SpaceX, I thought the odds of success were less than 10% and I just accepted that actually probably I would just lose everything. But that maybe would make some progress if we could just move the ball forward even if we died maybe some other company could pick up the baton and keep moving it forward so that would still do some good. Yeah same with Tesla, I thought the odds of a car company succeeding were extremely low. Sam: What do you think the odds of the Mars colony are at this point today? Elon: Well, oddly enough I actually think they're pretty good. Sam: So like when can I go? Elon: Okay. At this point, I am certain there is a way. I am certain that success is one of the possible outcomes for establishing a self-sustaining Mars colony, a growing Mars colony. I'm certain that that is possible whereas until maybe a few years ago, I was not sure that success was even one of the possible outcomes. Some meaningful number of people going to Mars, I think this is potentially something that can be accomplished in about 10 years. Maybe sooner, maybe nine years. I need to make sure that SpaceX doesn't die between now and then and that I don't die or if I do die that someone takes over who will continue that. Sam: Shouldn't go on the first launch. Elon: Yeah, exactly. The first launch will be robotic anyway. Sam: I want to go except for the Internet latency. Elon: Yeah there aren't latency would be pretty significant. Mars is roughly 12 light minutes from the Sun and Earth is eight light minutes. So the closest approach to Mars is four light minutes away, the furthest approach is 20. A little more because you can't talk directly through the sun. Sam: Speaking of really important problems, AI. So you've been outspoken about AI. Could you talk about what you think of the positive future for AI looks like and how we get there? Elon: Okay. I mean I do want emphasize that this is not really something that I advocate or this is not prescriptive. This is simply hopefully predictive. Some say, well this is something that I want to occur instead of this I something I think that probably is the best of the available alternatives. The best of the available alternatives that I can come up with and maybe somebody else can come up with a better approach or better outcome is that we achieve democratization of AI technology, meaning that no one company or small set of individuals has control over advanced AI technology. I think that that's very dangerous. It could also get stolen by somebody bad like some evil dictator. A country could send their intelligence agency to go steal it and gain control. It just becomes a very unstable situation I think if you've got any incredibly powerful AI. You just don't know who's gonna control that. So it's not as though I think that the risk is that the AI would develop a will of its own right off the bat, I think the concern is that someone may use it in a way that is bad or even if they weren't going to use in a way that's bad but somebody could take it from them and use it in a way that's bad. That I think is quite a big danger. So I think we must have democratization of AI technology and make it widely available. And that's the reason that obviously you and me and the rest the team created open AI was to help spread out AI technology so it doesn't get concentrated in the hands of a few. But then of course that needs to be combined with solving the high bandwidth interface to the cortex. Sam: Humans are so slow. Elon: Humans are so slow. Yes, exactly but we already have a situation in our brain where we've got the cortex and the limbic system. And the limbic system is kind of...that's the primitive brain. It's kind of like your instincts and whatnot. And then the cortex is the thinking upper part of the brain. Those two seem to work together quite well. Occasionally your cortex and limbic system may disagree but they... Sam: It generally works pretty well. Elon: Generally works pretty well and it's like rare to find someone who...I've not found someone who wishes to either get rid of their cortex or get rid of their limbic system. Sam: Very true. Elon: Yeah. That's unusual. So I think if we can effectively merge with AI by improving the neural link between your cortex and the digital extension of yourself which already, lie I said, it already exists just has a bandwidth issue. And then effectively you become an AI human symbiote and if that then is widespread with anyone who wants it can have it, then we solve the control problem as well. We don't have to worry about some sort of evil dictator or AI because we are the AI collectively. That seems like the best outcome I can think of. Sam: So you've seen other companies in their early days that start small and get really successful. I hope I never get asked this on camera but how do you think OpenAI is going as a six-month-old company? Elon: I think it's going pretty well. I think we've got a really talented group at OpenAI... Sam: It seems like. Elon: Yeah really really talented team and they're working hard. OpenAI is structured as a 5 1 2 3 nonprofit but many nonprofits do not have a sense of urgency. It's fine, they don't have to have a sense of urgency but OpenAI does because I think people really believe in the mission. I think it's important and it's about minimizing the risk of existential harm in the future. And so I think it's going well. I'm pretty impressed with what people are doing and the talent level. And obviously we're always looking for great people to join who believe in the mission. Sam: You're up to...close to 40 people now. All right just a few more questions before we wrap up. How do you spend your days now? What do you allocate most of your time to? Elon: My time is mostly split between SpaceX and Tesla and of course I try to spend part of every week at OpenAI. So I spend basically half a day at OpenAI most weeks and then I have some OpenAI stuff that happens during the week. But other than that, it's really Space X and Tesla. Sam: And what do you do when you are at SpaceX or Tesla? What does your time look that there? Elon: Yeah. So that's a good question. I think a lot of people think I must spend a lot of time with media or on business things but actually almost all my time, 80% of it is spent on engineering and design. So it's developing next-generation product. That's 80% of it. Sam: You probably don't remember this, a very long time ago, many, many years you took me on a tour of SpaceX. And the most impressive thing was that you knew every detail of the rocket and every piece of engineering that went into it and I don't think many people get that about you.

Michael Seibel on How to Plan an MVP

By StarVenture

10-15 mins

Video

Getting Started Building Product Product Design MVP Planning

YC CEO and Partner Michael Seibel shares his approach to building an MVP and getting your first users as a pre-launch startup. Watch if: A. You haven't built an MVP yet B. You're trying to figure out which features to put in your MVP C. You're building an MVP but don't have anyone using it yet D. Your MVP is taking longer than expected to launch

Kevin Hale on How to Pitch Your Startup

By StarVenture

15+ mins

Video

Angel Investors Fundraising Investment Investment Venture Capital Press

In this lecture, YC Partner Kevin Hale goes over how to package up your idea and communicate it to an investor. He shares his tips on how to craft your pitch in a clear and concise way that effectively grabs your audience's attention. Watch if: A. You want investors to pay attention to your startup B. People have a hard time understanding what your startup does

Bosmeny, Seibel & Caldwell on How to Talk to Investors, Sales & Marketing

By StarVenture

15+ mins

Video

Fundraising Marketing Sales Investors Founder Passion Inspiring

Tyler Bosmeny, founder and CEO of Clever, starts off today's lecture with an overview of the Sales Funnel, and how to get to your first $1 Million. Michael Seibel, founder of Justin.tv and Socialcam and Partner at Y Combinator, then goes over how to talk to investors - the pitch. Dalton Caldwell, founder of imeem and App.net and Partner at Y Combiantor, and Qasar Younis, founder of Talkbin and Partner at Y Combinator, then perform an investor meeting roleplay to give you a taste of how it actually might look behind the scenes.

Y Combinator on Fundraising Templates: Safe Financing Documents

By StarVenture

4 mins

Text

Fundraising SAFE Early-Stage Investment

An article from Y Combinator; "Y Combinator introduced the safe (simple agreement for future equity) in late 2013, and since then, it has been used by almost all YC startups and countless non-YC startups as the main instrument for early-stage fundraising. Our first safe was a “pre-money” safe, because at the time of its introduction, startups were raising smaller amounts of money in advance of raising a priced round of financing (typically, a Series A Preferred Stock round). The safe was a simple and fast way to get that first money into the company, and the concept was that holders of safes were merely early investors in that future priced round. But early stage fundraising evolved in the years following the introduction of the original safe, and now startups are raising much larger amounts of money as a first “seed” round of financing. While safes are being used for these seed rounds, these rounds are really better considered as wholly separate financings, rather than “bridges” into later priced rounds. So our updated safes are “post-money” safes. By “post-money,” we mean that safe holder ownership is measured after (post) all the safe money is accounted for - which is its own round now - but still before (pre) the new money in the priced round that converts and dilutes the safes (usually the Series A, but sometimes Series Seed). The post-money safe has what we think is a huge advantage for both founders and investors - the ability to calculate immediately and precisely how much ownership of the company has been sold. It’s critically important for founders to understand how much dilution is caused by each safe they sell, just as it is fair for investors to know how much ownership of the company they have purchased. Another new feature of the safe relates to a “pro rata” right. The original safe obligated the company to permit safe holders to participate in the round of financing following the round of financing in which the safe converted (for example, if the safe converted in the Series A Preferred Stock financing, a safe holders - now a holder of a sub-series of Series A Preferred Stock - would be allowed to purchase a pro rata portion of the Series B Preferred Stock). However, while this concept was consistent with the original concept of the safe, it made less sense in a world where safes became independent financing rounds. So the “old” pro rata right is removed from the new safe, but we have a new (optional) template side letter that provides the investor with a pro rata right in the Series A Preferred Stock financing, based on the investor’s as-converted safe ownership, which is also now much more transparent. Whether or not a startup and an investor enter into the side letter with a safe will now be a choice that the parties make, and it may depend on a variety of factors. The factors to consider may include (among others) the purchase amount of the safe, and amount of future dilution the pro rata right will cause for the founders - an amount that can be now forecast with much greater accuracy when post-money safes are used. The new safe doesn’t change two fundamental features that we believe remain important for startups: It still allows for high resolution fundraising. Startups can close with an investor as soon as both parties are ready to sign and the investor is ready to wire money, instead of trying to coordinate a single close with all investors simultaneously. In fact, high resolution fundraising may be much easier now that both founders and investors have more certainty and transparency into what each side is giving and getting. As a flexible, one-document security without numerous terms to negotiate, safes save startups and investors money in legal fees and reduce the time spent negotiating the terms of the investment. Startups and investors will usually only have to negotiate one item: the valuation cap. Because a safe has no expiration or maturity date, there should be no time or money spent dealing with extending maturity dates, revising interest rates or the like. Whether you are using the safe for the first time or are already familiar with safes, we recommend reviewing our Safe User Guide (a replacement for the original Safe Primer). The Safe User Guide explains how the safe converts, with sample calculations, as well as further details about the pro rata side letter, explanations of other technical changes we made to the new safe (such as language to address tax treatment), and suggestions for best use. There are four versions of the new post-money safe, plus an optional side letter. While the safe may not be suitable for all financing situations, the terms are intended to be balanced, taking into account both the startup’s and the investors’ interests. As with the original safe, there are still trade-offs between simplicity and comprehensiveness, so while not every edge case is addressed, we believe the safe covers the most pertinent and common issues. Both parties are encouraged to have their lawyers review the safe if they want to, but we believe it provides a starting point that can be used in most situations, without modifications. We hold this belief because of our firsthand experience seeing and helping hundreds of companies fundraise every year, as well as the thoughtful feedback we received from the founders, investors, lawyers and accountants with whom we shared early drafts of the post-money safe."

Y Combinator: A Standard and Clean Series a Term Sheet

By StarVenture

7 mins

Video

Fundraising Fundraising Docs Series A Investors

While working with companies in YC’s Series A program, we’ve noticed a common problem: founders don’t know what “good” looks like in a term sheet. This makes sense, because it is often, literally, the first time in their careers that they’ve seen one. This puts founders at a significant disadvantage because VCs see term sheets all the time and know what to expect. Because we’ve invested in so many founders over the years and have seen hundreds of Series A term sheets, we know what “good” looks like. We work with our founders to understand where terms diverge from “good”, what they can do about that divergence, and when and how it makes sense to negotiate. Below is what a Series A term sheet looks like with standard and clean terms from a good Silicon Valley VC. Bracketed items (besides the names of the company and lead investor) are always or frequently negotiated. Items not in brackets are sometimes negotiated, but this has more to do with the idiosyncratic features of the company or the situation, and generally aren’t terms that parties intend to heavily bargain over during the negotiation. One of the critical things you’ll notice is that we didn’t put in standard pricing. While the lead in a Series A round generally wants 20% of the company, pricing can flex up and down depending on the leverage held by each side. We think price is an important term, but too specific to each raise to try to create a standard. We’re more concerned with terms around control and structure that are less familiar to founders, and therefore more prone to cause confusion and trouble. Note: this term sheet doesn’t belong to any particular VC -- we drafted it -- but it does substantively reflect what we see most often. Founders with a lot of negotiating leverage can sometimes do better, and the converse is true too. It may be surprising to see everything covered in a single page.1 This wasn’t always the case, but became common over the last decade as some investors decided to make their term sheets more user friendly by shortening the legalese as if to say, “We aren’t going to get bogged down in the minutiae. We’re going to make this easy, friendly, standard and fast.” This leads us to the most important thing to understand about the term sheet: it’s another way in which your Series A investor might be telling you something. A contract allocates risks between the parties, so the terms the investor insists on can sometimes say a lot about the investor’s perceived risks. These perceived risks show up in a couple of ways. The first way relates to control terms. We don’t mean the set of investor vetoes in the “Voting Rights” section, which are pretty standard fare,2 but rather issues of board composition and the investor’s ability to block or dictate operational decisions made by the board. The board structure in this term sheet is founder-friendly because the founders retain board control 2-1.3 The way in which founders most often lose control at the Series A is with a 2-2-1 board structure, i.e. 2 founders, 2 investors and an independent board member. The loss of board control is most significant because it means the founders can be fired from their own company.4 Another way in which founders lose some control is a term that doesn’t appear in the standard example above, which is a separate provision that says the investor director’s approval is required for operational decisions like setting the annual budget, hiring/firing executives, pivoting the business, adding new lines of business, etc. When boards are set up to take power away from founders, the investor’s outward justification will frequently be reasons of governance or accountability. But the more power that’s taken away, the more it’s undeniable that the investor is attempting to structure away a perceived risk. So when an investor says that they’re committed to partnering with you for the long-term - or that they’re betting everything on you - but then tells you something else with the terms that they insist on, believe the terms. The other way perceived risks manifest is if a term sheet includes non-standard or “dirty” economic terms. Here, the term sheet example is instructive not for what it contains but what it doesn’t. Examples of such terms would be: Liquidation preference greater than 1x -- the investor gets back more than its invested capital first. Participating preferred -- the investor double-dips by getting its money back plus its pro rata portion of exit proceeds, rather than choosing between the two. Cumulative dividends -- the investor compounds its liquidation preference every year by X%, which increases the economic hurdle that has to be cleared before founders and employees see any value. Warrant coverage -- the investor gets extra fully diluted ownership without paying for it at the agreed upon valuation. These are all ways of adding structure to reduce typical venture risk, either directly by boosting the investor’s downside economics, or indirectly by juicing the upside outcomes. The investor is essentially saying, “I’m sort of afraid of losing my money.” It can also foreshadow how they might behave when things aren’t going well, such as pushing you to sell when you don’t want to, or dial back risk when it’s important to take it. Good investors would rather address economic risks by negotiating valuation, and are otherwise happy to give standard terms because they know that the real money in venture is not made with structure, but by building long-term value, which they are confident in their ability to help you do. The last thing to remember is that your Series A documents are a foundation and precedent for the terms of future rounds. Good foundations make the next term sheet and financing round fast and simple, as future investors just step into the same straightforward terms. Doing the opposite complicates future fundraises, such as future investors asking for the same structure-heavy terms, existing investors refusing to drop terms that subsequent investors want removed as a precondition of investing, etc. Unwinding bad terms is difficult, and oftentimes impossible. That said, the point is to get a clean deal, not to cycle a lot to get the perfect deal. No one ever built an enduring company just by winning their Series A negotiation. Also, even if you can’t get everything right or the way you want it, you always have the power to execute. If you do that, the value you build can outrun suboptimal terms or establish leverage to renegotiate later. So don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal: closing fast and getting back to work. Notes 1. Some great investors still send longer term sheets, but this has more to do with their preference for going a bit deeper into the details at this stage, rather than deferring this until the definitive documents. The definitive documents are derived from the term sheet and are the much longer (100+ pages) binding contracts that everyone signs and closes on. It’s common to negotiate a few additional points at this stage, though deviation from anything explicitly addressed in the term sheet is definitely re-trading. Also, in a few places, this term sheet refers to certain terms as being “standard.” That may seem vague and circular, but term sheets frequently do describe certain terms that way. What that really means is that there’s an accepted practice of what appears in the docs for these terms among the lawyers who specialize in startups and venture deals, so make sure your lawyer (and the investor’s lawyer) fit that description.↩ 2. The two most impactful investor vetoes in this section are the veto on a financing, which is covered by clauses (ii) and (iii), and the veto on a sale of the company, which is in clause (vii). We point these out because the concrete implications of these clauses aren’t facially obvious, and because most term sheets use similar technical jargon for these vetoes.↩ 3. The founders implicitly control those 2 seats because they’re designated by a majority of common, and founders generally control a majority of common for a long time. In even more founder-friendly term sheets, those 2 seats may be designated by the founders themselves (as individuals).↩ 4. Whether being fired from the company as an employee also triggers the removal of the founder from the board is a separate question and depends on what was negotiated in the financing documents. Sometimes a founder’s right to vote her shares to appoint a director will be conditioned on the founder being currently employed by the company. Whenever conditions are attached to your rights to vote on anything, make sure to ask your lawyer to walk you through the various scenarios in which those conditions matter and how they can hurt you. This is not legal advice.

Kevin Hale on How to Work Together

By StarVenture

15+ mins

Video

Co-founders Culture Resolution

YC Partner Kevin Hale talks about the importance of building a successful working relationship with your cofounders, and setting up processes to optimize for the strengths of your team. Watch this if: A. You and your cofounders argue a lot B. Your cofounders aren't doing their fair share of work C. You want to have more effective conversations with your cofounder

Michael Seibel on How to Split Equity Among Co-Founders

By StarVenture

4 mins

Video

Management Co-founders Stock Equity Vesting

Founders often ask how they should split equity with their co-founders. Founders often ask how they should split equity with their co-founders. When I search the web on this topic I often see horrible advice, typically advocating for significant inequality among different founding team members. We see this trend reflected in the thousands of applications we review at Y Combinator every year. Here are some of the most often cited reasons for unequal equity splits: - I came up with the idea for the company - I started working n months before my co-founder - This is what we agreed to - My co-founder took a salary for n months and I didn't - I started working full time n months before my co-founder - I am older/more experienced than my co-founder - I brought on my co-founder after raising n thousands of dollars - I brought on my co-founder after launching my MVP - We need someone to tie-break in the case of founder arguments - Founders tend to make the mistake of splitting equity based on early work. All of these lines of reasoning screw up in four fundamental ways: It takes 7 to 10 years to build a company of great value. Small variations in year one do not justify massively different founder equity splits in year 2-10. More equity = more motivation. Almost all startups fail. The more motivated the founders, the higher the chance of success. Getting a larger piece of the equity pie is worth nothing if the lack of motivation on your founding team leads to failure. If you don’t value your co-founders, neither will anyone else. Investors look at founder equity split as a cue on how the CEO values his/her co-founders. If you only give a co-founder 10% or 1%, others will either think they aren't very good or aren't going to be very impactful in your business. The quality of the team is often one of the top reasons why an investor will or won’t invest. Why communicate to investors that you have a team that you don’t highly value? Startups are about execution, not about ideas. Dramatically unequal founder equity splits often give undue preference to the co-founder who initially came up with the idea for the startup, as opposed to the small group founders who got the product to market and generated the initial traction. Equity should be split equally because all the work is ahead of you. My advice for splitting equity is probably controversial, but it's what we have done for all of my startups, and what we almost always recommend at YC: equal equity splits among co-founders. [1] These are the people you are going to war with. You will spend more time with these people than you will with most family members. These are the people who will help you decide the most important questions in your company. Finally, these are the people you will celebrate with when you succeed. I believe equal or close to equal equity splits among founding teams should become standard. If you aren't willing to give your partner an equal share, then perhaps you are choosing the wrong partner.

Sam Altman on Dilution

By StarVenture

2 mins

Text

Investment Dilution

There has probably been more capital looking to invest in private technology companies in the past five years than any five-year period before. An obvious consequence of this increased supply is that company valuations (i.e. prices) have gone up, and so has the amount of capital raised by most companies. A non-obvious consequence is that although people raise more money at higher valuations, they still end up selling much more of the company. For a long time, when the early-stage fundraising market was much tougher, YC’s standard advice to companies was to raise as much as they reasonably could. Someday that advice will likely be correct again, but right now, the market has shifted. It sounds like a better deal to raise $5 million on a $10 million pre-money valuation (selling 33% of the company to investors) than $615,000 at a $2.4 million pre-money valuation (selling ~20% of the company to investors, which is what Airbnb did). But this is only true if you put the money to exceptionally good use. Otherwise, you may end up with a lower dollar value of the equity you keep. Today, each percentage point of Airbnb is worth about $300 million. I expect them to be worth more in future. If you hope your company will one day be extremely successful, then treat your equity as such. (The one place I recommend not being stingy with equity is when it comes to giving it to employees—most founders’ instincts seem to be to give too much equity to investors and not enough to employees.) Terms like ‘seed round’ and ‘Series A’ are less clear than they used to be, but in general, I recommend companies think about selling 10-15% in a seed round and 15-25% in their A round (and about 7% if they go through an accelerator). When these combine into one large initial round, I suggest trying to sell no more than 30% of the company in total. I also suggest founders take the time to model this all out (or use Angelcalc, built by my partner Geoff Ralston). Founders are often surprised about how choosing to raise less helps protect their ownership more than negotiating valuation does. Of course, it’s easy to take this advice too far. It’s more important not to run out of money than almost anything else. I have recently seen several examples of companies doing pretty well and going out to raise B rounds with investors already owning 50-60% of the company. In all cases, they are having a tough time. As one very successful investor says, “one of the immutable laws of venture is that there are only 100 points on the cap table”. At some point, it gets hard to make it all work. Selling a few percentage points too many won't kill you, but selling 30 points too many may. Remember that raising money is not success. Raising huge amounts of money early on is very rarely how companies win (though it is sometimes how companies lose). Be one of those companies that does a lot with a little, instead of a little with a lot. Resist the urge to seek validation by having a long list of impressive sounding investors. Constraints are wonderfully focusing. Excess capital usually ends up making its way into the hands of landlords of some sort anyway. And if you end up being the next Airbnb, you’ll be really happy you held on to that equity.

Tim Brady on How Much Equity Should I Give My First Employees?

By StarVenture

1 mins

Video

Motivation Equity Early-stage Employees

Tim Brady explains how much equity you should offer your early employees. Tim is a partner at YC and was a Co-founder and Partner at Imagine K12. Formerly CEO at QuestBridge and Chief Product Officer at @yahoo.

Michael Page on Building a Successful Team

By StarVenture

3 mins

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Motivation Team building Collaboration Culture Organization

Building a high-performance team involves more than just randomly assembling a group of talented individuals. For a team to be truly effective, its members must unite with the same vision and be motivated to bring that vision to life. They must share clear, measurable goals, and be committed to each play their part in the overall success of the group. Here are six key steps to building and maintaining a strong, cohesive and effective team: 1. Define the purpose Clearly define the purpose of the team, including the overall outcome it has been brought together to achieve. What do you want to create, improve or change? What is the purpose of each person’s role in the team? Providing a clear, inspiring vision sets the foundation for successful teamwork, and helps guide the direction of the group when they face challenges and decisions. 2. Assemble the team High performance teams are comprised of individuals that passionately embrace the vision, believe their contribution is meaningful and are motivated to give their best effort. All team members should trust, respect and support each other. Select members with complementary skills and abilities, who can bring a diverse range of viewpoints and ideas to the table. Achieving a good balance of personality types will enable the group to work together harmoniously but also challenge each other when necessary. 3. Determine the goals Once the team is established and united behind a shared, compelling purpose, the next step is to break the vision down into smaller, manageable goals and tasks. Outline the required tasks in a schedule, with agreed deadlines, milestones and responsibilities. Decide the role that each team member will play. Be sure to also consider other resources required in terms of time, materials, space, support and money. 4. Set expectations To ensure that each member understands what is expected of them, define a standard of conduct for the team. Will communication be frequent, open, honest and transparent? Will contributions be encouraged, valued and recognised? Will conflict be handled in a constructive way? Will team decisions and feedback be respected? Setting clear standards from the outset will ensure that each member’s conduct and contributions are appropriate. 5. Monitor and review Regularly review the group’s performance through team meetings and one-on-one catch ups to ensure that progress is being made. Good questions to ask are: how are we doing? What have we achieved so far? What have we learned? What isn’t working so well? How can we improve? Monitoring and reviewing progress allows for adjustments and improvements to be incorporated along the way. 6. Celebrate and reward Make the time to regularly recognise, reward and celebrate both team and individual performance. This will help to build morale and bolster the motivation of the group to continue their hard work. Find the most appropriate way to celebrate team milestones, such as a personal ‘thank you’ at a team meeting, an email copied to senior managers, or a team lunch. Ensure that recognition is consistent, and that the method you choose inspires and reinforces the team members to continue their positive contribution to the team’s progress. But what happens when teams go remote? As the world increasingly becomes reliant on remote work, it is critical to ensure that team members are on the same page. Communication around project timelines and delivery will be important, and accountability will need to be defined. Creating trustworthy relationships to overcome the virtual distance between remote team members will impact success. For this, online tools like Yammer, video chats and phone conversations become beneficial for increasing connectivity and communication, and avoiding the sense of isolation that teams may experience.

Michael Seibel on Fundraising Is Not Milestones

By StarVenture

1 mins

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Fundraising Motivation Company Stages

When meeting with founders for the first time I sometimes hear, “We’re a Series A company.” Meanwhile, YC alumni I talk to tell me that their angel investors regularly ask them, “When are you going to raise a Series A?”. I’d like to make the point that success isn’t the same as raising a round of financing. Quite the opposite: raising a round should be a byproduct of success. Using fundraising itself as a benchmark is dangerous for the entire community because it encourages a culture of optimizing for short term showmanship instead of making something people want and creating lasting value. I believe founders, investors, and the tech press should fundamentally change how they think about fundraising. By deemphasizing investment rounds we would have more opportunity to celebrate companies who develop measurable milestones of value creation, focus on serving a customer with a real need, and generate sustainable businesses with good margins. Optimizing for funding rounds is just as unproductive as optimizing for headcount, press mentions, conference invites, fancy offices, speaking gigs or top line revenue growth with massively negative unit economics. A financing round is not a milestone. It is literally cash. Sometimes it goes to great companies, sometimes it goes to bad companies. Sometimes it’s given for good reasons, sometimes investors wish they could take it all back. The best early stage founders focus on staying lean, talking to their customers, iterating on their product, and discovering product-market fit.

Simon Sinek on How to Innovate like a Startup

By StarVenture

4 mins

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Innovation Leadership Teamwork Startup Ideas

It is no accident that small businesses so often run innovation circles around large corporations. Though almost all large corporations today started small and innovative, they seem to lose their ability to innovate when they get big. About the only way big companies, flush with resources, seem to innovate these days is when they buy the smaller companies that have the big ideas. Have none of the leaders of large corporations stopped to wonder why smaller, less-resourced companies, staffed by a small group of people struggling together, are the ones who usually come up with all the latest innovations? Size and resources are not necessarily the advantage. Redefining the Struggle; Sharing a struggle for limited resources and working with people who are intent on building something out of nothing is a good formula for a small business. But recreating those conditions is extremely difficult for organizations that have already suffered together and succeeded. This is one of the reasons we find Apple such a fascinating company. It has repeated its success multiple times, from the Apple I & II to the Macintosh and the iMac, from the iPod and iTunes to the iPhone. Instead of just looking for new ways to sell old products (which is largely what most successful companies do), they invented new products and competed in new industries. We know that our species is not built for abundance and that our internal systems can short-circuit when we are in environments of abundance. We know that we are at greater risk of succumbing to the addictive qualities of short-term, dopamine-driven incentive structures in our companies if the chemicals that influence our behavior are out of balance. We also know that we won’t pull together until the oxytocin and serotonin are able to flow more easily. Leaders of successful organizations, if they wish to innovate or command loyalty and love from their people, must reframe the struggles their companies face not in absolute terms but in terms relative to their success. In other words, the dangers and opportunities that exist outside the "circle of safety" should be exaggerated to suit the size of the organization itself. Let me explain. A small company struggles because it does not have the resources to guarantee it will stay alive. Survival is a very real concern. It is how well the people pull together to outthink their problems that often makes the difference between success and failure. Trying to buy one’s way out of problems is less effective and unsustainable. A larger, more successful company, in contrast, doesn't fear for its life because it is flush with resources. Survival is not the motivator, growth is. But we already know that growth is an abstract and non-specific destination that doesn’t ignite the human spirit. What ignites the human spirit is when the leaders of our organizations offer us a reason to grow. Aiming for the quarter or the year just isn't that compelling, it doesn't offer much of a struggle. That's not to say it's easy--it may or may not be. But the resources are readily available for the company to accomplish such goals . . . or come close. To really inspire us, we need a challenge that outsizes the resources available. We need a vision of the world that does not yet exist. A reason to come to work. Not just a big goal to achieve. This is what leaders of great organizations do. They frame the challenge in terms so daunting that literally no one yet knows what to do or how to solve it. Bill Gates set Microsoft on a path to put a PC on every desk. What happened to that vision? Though Microsoft may have largely achieved its goal in the developed world, that goal is still a long, long way from being accomplished. Like a small business, if a large organization can frame their challenge relative to their existing capacity, the people will figure it out--that's where innovation comes from. (Sadly, due in large part to the poor leadership of Steve Ballmer, an inclination to throw money at problems and sacrifice people when necessary, the leaders of Microsoft sabotaged the very conditions required to drive the innovation they sought.) Steve Jobs set out to, in his words, "put a dent in the universe." More practically stated, he believed that the only way for us to truly capture the full value of technology is to adapt the technology to fit the way we live our lives instead of requiring that we adapt our lives to fit the way the technology works. This explains why intuitive interfaces and simplicity were key to helping him advance his vision. If the leaders of organizations give their people something to believe in, if they offer their people a challenge that outsizes their resources but not their intellect, the people will give everything they've got to solve the problem. And in the process, not only will they invent and advance the company, they may even change an industry or the world in the process (just as an early version of Microsoft did). But if the resources are vastly greater than the problem before us, then the abundance works against us. Though it may take small steps to make a big leap, it is the vision of the big leap and not the action of the small steps that inspires us. And only after we have committed ourselves to that vision can we look back at our lives and say to ourselves that the work we did mattered.

Simon Sinek on Humility

By StarVenture

2 mins

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Change Management Leadership Humility

I heard a story about a former Under Secretary of Defense who gave a speech at a large conference. He took his place on the stage and began talking, sharing his prepared remarks with the audience. He paused to take a sip of coffee from the Styrofoam cup he'd brought on stage with him. He took another sip, looked down at the cup and smiled. "You know," he said, interrupting his own speech, "I spoke here last year. I presented at this same conference on this same stage. But last year, I was still an Under Secretary," he said. A Leader's Role; "I flew here in business class and when I landed, there was someone waiting for me at the airport to take me to my hotel. Upon arriving at my hotel," he continued, "there was someone else waiting for me. They had already checked me into the hotel, so they handed me my key and escorted me up to my room. The next morning, when I came down, again there was someone waiting for me in the lobby to drive me to this same venue that we are in today. I was taken through a back entrance, shown to the greenroom and handed a cup of coffee in a beautiful ceramic cup." "But this year, as I stand here to speak to you, I am no longer the Under Secretary," he continued. "I flew here coach class and when I arrived at the airport yesterday there was no one there to meet me. I took a taxi to the hotel, and when I got there, I checked myself in and went by myself to my room. This morning, I came down to the lobby and caught another taxi to come here. I came in the front door and found my way backstage. Once there, I asked one of the techs if there was any coffee. He pointed to a coffee machine on a table against the wall. So, I walked over and poured myself a cup of coffee into this here Styrofoam cup," he said as he raised the cup to show the audience. "It occurs to me," he continued, "the ceramic cup they gave me last year . . . it was never meant for me at all. It was meant for the position I held. I deserve a Styrofoam cup". "This is the most important lesson I can impart to all of you," he offered. "All the perks, all the benefits and advantages you may get for the rank or position you hold, they aren’t meant for you. They are meant for the role you fill. And when you leave your role, which eventually you will, they will give the ceramic cup to the person who replaces you. Because you only ever deserved a Styrofoam cup."

Simon Sinek on making time for the game of life

By StarVenture

10-15 mins

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Life Career Time Optimisim

We often think about time in terms of scarcity, but it’s easy to forget that as individuals and organizations we can actively cultivate our mindset about time to have more of it. If I tell you someone is playing a game at work, you might think they’re being manipulative, or that they’re actually playing Candy Crush on their phone. But the kind of game that writer Simon Sinek describes in his new book, The Infinite Game, is not at all about backstabbing or time-wasting. Instead, it’s a form of play that seeks only to continue itself. This may sound philosophical (it is) but Sinek casts this idea in a practical business context, updating James Carse, the author of the influential and aphoristic Finite and Infinite Games from 1986. Carse’s genius was to transpose game theory from its mechanistic concern with economic motivations to a more philosophical exploration of what it means to be human. Where economists—and most actual game players—make use of finite games with definite rules and time frames, the players of the infinite game play with the rules to extend its duration. Carse, who died in September at age 87, ended his book ponderously, “There is only one infinite game.” When I asked Sinek earlier that month what he thought Carse meant, he said, “I think he’s probably talking about life.” It’s poignant now that I can’t ask him myself, but I suspected as much. The game of life; The game of life has two very different associations. One is Milton Bradley’s original board game, circa 1860, an enjoyable but altogether finite game. The other is mathematician John Conway’s computerized cellular automaton from 1970 that spawned the field of artificial life which thrives to this day. Conway’s is an infinite game, but one without a role for players. (it is literally classified as a zero-player game!) The game of life that interested Carse, and now Sinek, is one where our participation matters—it’s social and collaborative. Adopting what Sinek calls an “infinite mindset” is a matter of individual choice, for people and for organizations, but to be infinitely minded changes the nature of relationships from transactional to appreciative. We no longer look at other people as a means to an end—as a cost on the balance sheet—but as a renewable resource that we want to nurture and develop. “I don’t have good days and bad days anymore. I have ahead days and behind days.” —Simon Sinek. The biggest impact of seeing your life and work as an infinite game is that it changes your approach to time. Instead of racing against the clock to meet arbitrary projections, you’re more likely to keep your eye on your long term goals. Sinek credits Carse with changing the way he thinks about time: “I don’t have good days and bad days anymore. I have ahead days and behind days. Good days and bad days are final. Ahead days and behind days are temporary. I don’t take my good days for granted and I know my behind days won’t last.” By definition, the Infinite is boundless, so how can it possibly relate concretely to our finite working lives? One way to resolve the apparent paradox is to consider that in our finite experience we’re always approaching infinity, but never getting there. This poetic-sounding concept actually underlies calculus, the workhorse of modern technology, and Sinek’s infinite mindset neatly transforms into an appreciation of limits. “This is why partnerships and teams matter,” says Sinek, “because we want to be able to lean on the right skills at the right time. Sometimes we need strategy and sometimes we need tactics. Sometimes we need to command and control and sometimes we need distributed authority, it really is contextual.” The finite-minded leader thinks they can do it all, and places no limits on their demands of others. The crisis of burnout, in Sinek’s worldview, is caused by mindset, not workload. “The good leader knows how to adapt their style, but more importantly, how to build a team where they know who to rely on.” Mindset in a crisis; The importance of leadership—and mindset adjustment—is especially critical during periods of crisis, like COVID. Sinek uses the example of the Marine Corps to illustrate how an organization with a lot of distributed authority in peacetime quickly shifts to command and control in wartime. “In times of extreme stress and chaos,” he says, “that works better. But it’s not in a vacuum. It’s that so much trust has been built up over time that the Marines know they wouldn’t be ordered to do something that would put their lives at unnecessary risk.” “Dr. Carse would say that in a finite mindset, all of the thinking has been done in the past,” Sinek continues. “Which is why athletes train and train and train so that there’ll be no surprises, that they’re prepared for everything.” There can be, in sport and warfare, an illusion of infinite preparation. Carse was a very competitive college athlete himself, but became disillusioned. His observation of the contrast between competitive and creative play in his own children led him to write Finite and Infinite Games. As he later explained to Sinek, in the infinite mindset, “thinking begins at the moment of surprise.” “The infinite game is not the absence of finite games. The Infinite game is the context within which the finite games exist.” —Simon Sinek If you’ve read about neuroscientist Karl Friston, you know that in his view of the brain, avoidance of surprise is a prime motivator because it conserves energy. It’s important to give finiteness its due because it’s so useful (and often fun). And Sinek stresses that, “the infinite game is not the absence of finite games. The Infinite game is the context within which the finite games exist.” If all living creatures did was minimize surprise they would never get out of bed in the morning and evolution wouldn’t have progressed beyond the primordial soup. Children are novelty seekers, and in that sense we start life with an infinite perspective. As the child explores their world, their prime motivator is to question why, like the good little researchers they are. Sinek’s infinite and finite mindsets map quite nicely onto cognitive psychologist Alison Gopnik’s parental archetypes of the gardener and the carpenter. The good parent to Gopnik is like the Sinek’s good leader, nurturing exploration and play instead of setting predetermined expectations. During COVID, Sinek has seen this at play with leaders who, “picked up the phone and called their team one by one and asked, ‘Are you okay? How are you doing?’ There was an extreme amount of patience that didn’t exist prior to COVID. We were acting like human beings taking care of human beings, which is what good leadership is.” By getting to know our co-workers, our customers, even our competitors, we make time to play the game of life. This may seem inconsequential in the scope of a global corporation, but the world is not only infinitely large, but also infinitely small. People who engage in creative pursuits often find that the spark that leads to something new is a very small thing easily missed if you’re not paying attention. And this is where having an infinite mindset recursively circles back to the game of life. Every life form, after all, starts out much smaller than it eventually grows to be. If we could only see trees, we would never plant saplings. The life of business; To Sinek, business is also in the game of life. “Companies should live like life,” he says. “They’re living, breathing organisms. Cells die, employees come and go, new cells are born. There needs to be an evolution. Companies that exist as static, finite entities will die, they’ll leave the game.” Such companies, to Sinek, misunderstand the game that they’re in. “You can choose how you want to run your business. But there’s no changing the nature of the game of business, which is an infinite game.” “No one says you have to play the infinite game of business with an infinite mindset,” he continues. “It’s just that there are massive, massive pitfalls to play with a finite mindset in the infinite game—the decline of trust, of cooperation, of innovation.” These deficits, he believes, put companies on a path to shorter lifespans, noting that the average US company now survives only 17 years. Sinek isn’t saying companies should throw the quarterly earnings report out the window, just that finite myopia is best placed in a more farsighted context. These same mental limitations can shorten an individual’s career as well. “Your career is a journey, not a destination, there’s no end point,“ says Sinek in a LinkedIn-ready sound bite. But for those of us on their third or fourth “career,” these words ring true. To thrive in the 21st century will rarely be to work your whole life in the field you happened to study in college, or to ascend to a more senior version of the first job you fell into. In fact, being adaptive and open to surprise is the way to slow down the clock and extend the game. If the game is life, we each have to each ask ourselves, how are we contributing to it? “In business we call that value,” says Sinek, “if you’re making my life easier, better, or offering me some sort of improvement to the quality of my life.” Value, like life, is not a zero sum game. This is why, he says, companies should focus on pleasing their customers instead of beating their competitors. “Value is not a calculation,” he concludes, “It’s a feeling.” The will to optimism; Playing the infinite game is also more a matter of feel than calculation. It’s similar to Carol Dweck’s growth mindset and, more generally, to optimism. Sinek points out that “inherent in being an optimist is a recognition that the thing that you want is not necessarily here now.” Many people mistake optimism for Panglossian positivity where “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.” The optimist pursues the light at the end of the tunnel, but they don’t deny that they’re in the dark. If you’re an optimist, you’re also empathetic—you feel the burdens of your companions in the tunnel even as you urge them on. Ultimately, the reason why your work is an infinite game is because there’s no intrinsic limitation on the ways you can improve other people’s lives through your labor and imagination. You are an agent of life, capable of creating value. This doesn’t mean that you don’t face significant, perhaps overwhelming, impediments to your progress. This is why leadership is so critical. Good leaders, infinite minded in Sinek’s parlance, encourage their teams to make the most of their talents, help clear blockers, and reward impact even if they have to move the goal posts. Their finite counterparts, on the other hand, can run their talent into the ground along with the companies they’re charged to steward. “Will is an infinite resource that can be produced with just good leadership.” —Simon Sinek If the point of the infinite game is to keep playing, it takes will to continue. “Will is an infinite resource that can be produced with just good leadership,” Sinek says, “but physical resources are finite.” In hard times, it’s will—not money—that saves the day. “The mistake we’ve made in modern business is we think resources are the only thing that matter, or we believe the only reason to keep people inspired is to make more money,” he protests. “I believe the opposite. The reason to make more money is to keep people inspired so you can build a bigger organization. The cause gets bigger, so you can spread it further, and take care of your people.” Whether as individuals or organizations, Sinek encourages us to decide how we want to play. “We should come to work not to win,” he says, “we should come to work to play the game of business. It’s for the joy of the play.”

Simon Sinek on Starting with Why

By StarVenture

3 mins

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Motivation Cause Belief Career

Your Work Is Not Your Why Simon says one of the biggest mistakes people make in our society is to equate their professions with their sense of self. But work is really only a part of the equation — one facet of how our overall purpose, our why, is expressed. “Take me for example,” says Simon. “My why is to inspire people to do the things that inspire them so, together, each of us can change our world for the better. Now I can do that in a million ways: I can write a book. I can give a talk. I can give advice to someone. That’s who I am as a friend. That’s who I am as a brother. That’s who I am as a son. It’s who I am. And my opportunity is to find the creative ways in which I can bring who I am and inject life into it.” Mistaking our work as our why can make us miserable even when, to the eyes of the world, we seem wildly successful. This is why we see so many people at the top of their fields confessing to battles with depression. Of aspiring athletes polled in the ’70s, over half said they would take a drug that would guarantee them success (from Olympic gold medals to the title of Mr. Universe), but kill them in five years. “As a little girl, my friend, all she ever wanted to do was be on Broadway,” says Simon. “That was her whole goal…then she made it onto Broadway, and then what’s the next goal? She spent 25 years trying to achieve this one goal, and then what?” So if we can understand what our why is (and what it definitely isn’t), we can focus on the big picture rather than just the milestones that mark our accomplishments. Can You Incentivize Performance? “One of the biggest fallacies about incentivizing performance is you cannot incentivize performance!” says Simon. “It doesn’t exist. You can only incentivize behavior. When we say to people, ‘If you perform, we will give you a bonus,’ what we’re doing is incentivizing a set of behavior that people will stop at nothing to achieve those goals — which sounds good in theory, except when people are doing things that are sometimes illegal, sometimes unethical, and very often destroying the very culture and fabric of the company.” As it turns out, not many investment bankers call upon Simon to give this speech at their offices. “During the financial crisis when all the banking CEOs were brought out to testify in front of Congress and the question was asked, ‘Why do you pay such exorbitant salaries?’ They all gave the same party line, which is, ‘We have to pay exorbitant salaries to get the best talent.’ No. If you offer exorbitant salaries, what you get are people who want exorbitant salaries! You don’t get the best talent; you get the people who will stop at nothing to get the most money. Sometimes they’re talented. “Whereas when you offer people an opportunity to have a profound and positive impact on the world and you give them the freedom to make decisions that could redirect the entire way an economy works — “Oh, and yes, we’ll pay you very well, too” — what you get are people who are driven by the profound desire to have a positive impact on the world and want to reinvent banking and the economy as we know it.” Someone under these circumstances is far more likely to see the job as an extension of their why rather than their entire reason for existing. The Role of Trust Simon points out that he wrote his first book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, for leaders. Then again, he defines leadership more broadly than some. “If you want to individually lead — and that can come in any form — you can be a leader in the family, you can be a leader in your community,” says Simon. “And good leadership is not about being in charge, it’s about taking care of those in your charge…so a good parent is a leader. A good friend is a leader. And sometimes they have rank and sometimes they don’t, but what rank affords them is the ability to lead at greater scale.” In order to be an effective leader, the people in our charge need to trust us. And what builds that trust can vary by circumstances, but at its core is authenticity: that you say and do the things that you actually believe. “When we seek to trust others, and we want others to trust us, we have to act first — somebody has to go first, and it’s the leader who takes the risk to trust first. I’ve never in my life heard a great leader say, ‘Give me a reason why I should trust you.’ They simply bestow trust. I’ve never in my life heard a great leader that says to me, ‘Prove why I should give you more responsibility.’ They assess someone’s skills and talents and abilities and potential and take the risk to give them more responsibility.” While it sometimes works out and sometimes it doesn’t, Simon considers any relationship — whether personal or business — a dance that starts slowly. Each side gives a little more until each can let their guard down as trust is established and grows. He adds that there’s also something to be said for a leader who recognizes that certain perks are rewarded to their rank and not them, personally. But when we’re that leader, sometimes it takes the people around us — the people we trust and who trust us — to share the memo.

Simon Sinek on Leadership

By StarVenture

10-15 mins

Video

Leadership Teams Inspiring Values Discipline

WHAT MAKES A GREAT LEADER This past March, Sinek did a TED Talk on "Why good leaders make you feel safe." This talk suggests that it's someone who makes their team members feel secure and draws them into their circle to trust. In his most recent TED talk, he authored "Leaders Eat Last" which explains "Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't." Sinek provides us inspiration to "START WITH WHY." To grow our leadership skills, it doesn't matter what your role may be with in your organization. We all have the opportunity to learn from these lessons in leadership. 5 INSPIRING LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM SIMON SINEK 1. START WITH WHY 11.pngSimon Sinek points out that everyone in an organization knows "WHAT" it is that they do. Some know "HOW" they do it. But, very few know "WHY" they do what it is that they do. He points out that the reason can't be to make a profit. That's a result, and it will always be a result, of providing something of value. By "why" means: What's your purpose? What's your cause? What's your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of the bed in the morning and why should anyone care? Sinek points out some great leadership success stories examples. I don't believe that any of these leaders were looking for their "WHY." Instead, I believe that something happened in their lives that caused an emotional reaction. That reaction naturally instilled their driving purpose. This is the most powerful "WHY" a person can have. It's also important to note that none of these leaders set out to "be first," instead they set out to serve others. I'm not an expert on the bible; but the master teacher said, "But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many." - Matthew 20:26-28. The verse speaks to the failure of Samuel Pierpoint Langley. Who set out to be the first to achieve powered-man flight, which Sinek points out in his 2009 TED Talk. Unfortunately, most of us are not so lucky when it comes to understanding our "WHY." Although it is a simple concept, it's derived by looking back on past personal experiences. "Every company, organization or group with the ability to inspire starts with a person or small group of people who were inspired to do something bigger than themselves." - Simon Sinek We live by many beliefs on a daily basis. These can also be limiting beliefs that cause us to fall into the working-for-work's sake trap of the 40-hour work week. To find your "WHY" I would recommend that you set goals balanced around the three most important areas of your life: Establish clear personal, family and health goals. These are your "WHY" goals. Determine your personal professional development goals. These are your "HOW" goals. Set your business, career and financial goals. These are your "WHAT" goals. Here's a goal setting template and guide that I hope you will find useful for establishing your "Major Definite Purpose" which should encompass being part of something bigger than yourself. This is your "WHY." 2. HAVE CLARITY, DISCIPLINE AND CONSISTENCY 4621075758_6c21beb236_z.jpgClarity of WHY - If you don't know WHY you do WHAT you do, how will anyone else? Having clarity is what enables great leaders to articulate "WHY" their organization. It exists beyond its products and services. First to their employees, and then to their customers. To lead requires those who willingly follow. It requires being a part of something bigger than oneself. To inspire others to follow, starts with having clarity of WHY. "People don't buy "what" you do, they buy "why" you do it" - Simon Sinek Discipline of HOW - Have clarity in WHY will lead you to the question of HOW will you do it? How you do things are your values or principles that bring your cause to life. Finding your "WHY" is simple, compared to having the discipline necessary to never veer from your cause. To be accountable to HOW you do things is the most difficult part. "For values or guiding principles to be truly effective, they have to be verbs." - Simon Sinek Sinek points out that it's not "integrity", it's "always do the right thing." It's not "innovation," it's "look at the problem from a different angle." The discipline of "HOW" hinges on having the discipline to stay focused on the "WHY" (what you believe) to remain true to your values. Consistency of WHAT - Everything you do and say, must prove what you believe. Your "WHAT" is the result of your beliefs and the actions you take to realize the belief. It's everything you say or do; your products, services, marketing, PR, culture and the people you hire. "If you're not consistent in the things you say and do, no one will know what you believe." - Simon Sinek 3. LEADERS NEED A FOLLOWING Being a leader requires having people that choose to follow you. Trust must be established before anyone will make the decision to follow you. Trust doesn't emerge simply because a customer makes a decision to buy something. Trust is not a checklist. Fulfilling all your responsibilities does not create trust. Trust is a feeling that begins to emerge when we have a sense that another person or organization is driven by things other than their own self-gain. You must earn trust by communicating and demostrating that you share the same values and beliefs. This leads us to the heretical belief of Herb Kelleher - Founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines. It's the company's responsibility to look after your employees first. Happy employees ensures happy customers. Happy customers ensures happy shareholders - in that order. 4. COMMUNICATION ISN'T ABOUT SPEAKING, IT'S ABOUT LISTENING 6392204945_0b7b113ca6_z.jpgMost companies have logos, but few have been able to convert those logos into meaningful symbols. Most companies are bad at communicating what they believe, their "WHY." Without clarity of "WHY," a logo is nothing more than just that. To say that a logo stands for quality, service, innovation and the like only reinforces its status as just a logo. These qualities are about the company and not the about the cause. For a logo to become a symbol, people must be inspired to use that logo to say something about who they are. In his book, "START WITH WHY" Sinek shares the profound example of Harley Davidson. There are people who walk around with Harley-Davidson tattoos on their bodies -- and some of them don't even own the product! Why would a rational person tattoo a corporate logo on their bodies? Harley Davidson has been crystal clear about what they believe. After years of discipline about their "WHY" and being consistent in everything they say or do, their logo has become a symbol. It no longer identifies a company and it's products; it identifies a belief. "It's not just WHAT or HOW you do things that matters; what matters more is that WHAT and HOW you do things is consistent with your WHY." - Simon Sinek Sinek share a simple metaphor called the "Celery Test" that you can apply to find out exactly WHAT and HOW is right for you. 5. SERVING THOSE THAT SERVE OTHERS Being a great leader is like being a parent. Just as we provide our children opportunity — to build self confidence, education and discipline when necessary all so that they can achieve more that we can imagine. Leadership is not a rank. While there are people that have authority, that does not make them a leader. There are people who have no authority, but they themselves are leaders. We call them leaders because: They go first, they take the risk before anyone else does. They choose to sacrifice so that their people may be safe, protected and so that they may gain. When they do, the response is incredible. Their people will sacrifice for them, give them their blood, sweat and tears to see that their leaders vision comes to life. When they are asked "WHY" the response is always the same; "Because they would have done it for me. -- Isn't that the type of organization we all would like to work for? That's the question Simon Sinek leaves us in his remarkable TED Talk, "Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe" shown above.

Founder distractions

By Ronan Wall

5 mins

Text

Fundraising Investment PR corporate development press networking

Entrepreneurial Seductions and Distractions Speaking at events, networking, press, and fundraising can all be important parts of building your business. However some people get overly caught up in these activities at the expense of their company's progress. The only true long term measures of value for your company is the number of happy users you have, and how much money you (eventually) make from their use of your product. Speaker Circuit. Being a speaker at an event can help with recruiting, partnerships, and customer acquisition. However it is tempting for an entrepreneur to overdo it. You see some entrepreneurs flying to countries where their product hasn't launched to give a talk to the 20 person entrepreneurship club of a small university. None of this helps their engineering team ship product or their sales people in selling it. Questions to ask yourself before agreeing to a speaking event: -What are the most important speaking events for me to be part of this year and is this one of them? -Is the panel audience relevant to my company and if so how? What is the goal of my being part of this panel or keynote? -Are the other speakers and panelists of the caliber I would want my company associated with? -Have the speaking events I have been part of in the past yielded the results I was shooting for (new customers, employee referrals, or the like)? If not, why not? -Is this event worth the travel time? Do I really need to speak to the Guatemalan Council On Innovation? VC Boondoggles. There are some conferences that are worth attending given unique access to the caliber of the network there. The Allen & Co conferences and Davos seem like obvious ones. However, many VC firms have multi-day or week long conferences you can attend that may be of lower value. These are often in cool and exotic locations (Mexico, Hawaii, Ski Trips, etc.). Some founders will spend up to 4 weeks a year at these events. Some are good for networking and can help the company, but again you should prioritize. Don't go to 4 of these a year. Choose the 1 or 2 that make the most impact if you decide to go to any at all. And again, ask yourself how the event will help your company. Are there specific people or relationships you can build in a targeted way so that your time away from the office is worth it? Remember, VCs are paid to network for most of their time. You are not a VC. In general, some people get caught up in excessive networking... Excessive Networking. Networking is a crucial part of being an entrepreneur. It is how you can learn from other people, forge ties to potential partners and customer, find people to hire etc. While networking can be extremely valuable, take a look at your calendar. If large blocks of time every week are taken up with meeting other entrepreneurs or random investors you are probably not being focused with your time. Try to put networking into consolidated blocks so the switching cost is low. Also, try to focus your networking towards things that are actually meaningful to your company. The role of the entrepreneur can be pretty networking intensive, but you still need to prioritize and figure out what is important, and what to cut. Press and PR. Press can be a potent force in raising awareness of your brand and, for some types of products, acquiring users or customers. Some entrepreneurs confuse getting press with being successful and spend time courting press over building or selling product. Being in TechCrunch or on CNN does not mean you or your product has been successful. Pull together a press strategy. -What is your objective for press? Is it to acquire users? Build an engineering brand for hiring? Something else? -What press will allow you to reach these goals? How can you build an overall story arc for your company? -Who is your audience and how should you reach them? Then, compare this strategy to the press you have been courting - do these things line up? Corporate Development. Corporate development is the part of a large company that buys other companies. When entrepreneurs start to have M&A conversations they can get distracted and work can cease at their companies for months at a time. Only talk to corporate development if you truly intend to sell your company. Otherwise it can turn into a huge time suck, and you may convince yourself to sell your company for a small amount when you had no intention of doing so before. Things a corporate development conversation is unlikely to yield: -A partnership with the company. -A better valuation in your next funding round. -Life changing money. Things a corporate development company is likely to yield: -Months of distraction and loss of focus. -Team confusion on your goals as a company. -An accidental acqui-hire in which you sell your company for less then expected, to a buyer you weren't really interested in. Unnecessary Fundraising. Fundraising is a necessary side effect of having a company that needs capital to run or scale. Unfortunately it typically takes a few months of concentrated effort to pull off, so is hugely distracting. Some people seem to fundraise for no reason other then they think they should raise money, even if there is no need for it. Or "a VC approached us, so we figured we may as well talk". Only fundraise when you are ready to do so and it supports a plan or set of objectives for your company. Otherwise it is a huge time sink. Getting to meet Mike Moritz, Marc Andreessen or Reid Hoffman is pretty cool, but it does not mean your startup is succeeding.

Growth calculator

By Ronan Wall

2 mins

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Fundraising Growth Revenue

This tool calculates how much funding your startup needs. Assuming your expenses are constant and your revenue is growing, it shows when you'll reach profitability and how much capital you'll burn through before then. Once you're profitable, you control your destiny: you can raise more to grow faster if you want. You can drag the red or green handles to set expense, revenue and growth. Geometrically, the capital needed is the blue-shaded area between the revenue and expense curves. If you raised exactly the amount calculated and everything goes as expected, your bank account would be at $0 the month you hit profitability, which is kind of stressful. So raise a comfortable margin above it. By default it shows weekly rates, but there's a button to use monthly or yearly rates. The code is on github if you're curious how it works.

Elements of Enduring companies

By Dosen

3 mins

Text

Culture Company DNA Team Partners

Starting a business is rough. Most startups fail. Your best chance to thrive is to find the right community, the right partners, and the right network of support from the very beginning. We love nothing more than meeting promising founders during their first days starting a company. The tech giants of today started as one or two person ideas not long ago. We’ve met many young companies and noticed that startups with the following characteristics have the best shot of becoming enduring companies. Clarity of purpose Summarize the company’s business on the back of a business card. Large markets Address existing markets poised for rapid growth or change. A market on the path to a $1B potential allows for error and time for real margins to develop. Rich customers Target customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique offering. Focus Customers will only buy a simple product with a singular value proposition. Pain killers Pick the one thing that is of burning importance to the customer, then delight them with a compelling solution. Think differently Constantly challenge conventional wisdom. Take the contrarian route. Create novel solutions. Outwit the competition. Team DNA A company’s DNA is set in the first 90 days. Choose your first few hires wisely. Agility Stealth and speed can beat slow incumbents. Resilience Hone your ability to bounce back and keep trying. Frugality Focus spending on what’s critical. Spend only on the priorities and maximize profitability. Inferno Start with only a little money. It forces discipline and focus. A huge market with customers yearning for a product developed by great engineers requires very little firepower.

Ed Batista on How Great Coaches Ask, Listen, and Empathize

By StarVenture

5 mins

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Leadership Listening Empathy

An article from Harvard Business Review; Historically, leaders achieved their position by virtue of experience on the job and in-depth knowledge. They were expected to have answers and to readily provide them when employees were unsure about what to do or how to do it. The leader was the person who knew the most, and that was the basis of their authority. Leaders today still have to understand their business thoroughly, but it’s unrealistic and ill-advised to expect them to have all the answers. Organizations are simply too complex for leaders to govern on that basis. One way for leaders to adjust to this shift is to adopt a new role: that of coach. By using coaching methods and techniques in the right situations, leaders can still be effective without knowing all the answers and without telling employees what to do. Coaching is about connecting with people, inspiring them to do their best, and helping them to grow. It’s also about challenging people to come up with the answers they require on their own. Coaching is far from an exact science, and all leaders have to develop their own style, but we can break down the process into practices that any manager will need to explore and understand. Here are the three most important: Ask Coaching begins by creating space to be filled by the employee, and typically you start this process by asking an open-ended question. After some initial small talk with my clients and students, I usually signal the beginning of our coaching conversation by asking, “So, where would you like to start?” The key is to establish receptivity to whatever the other person needs to discuss, and to avoid presumptions that unnecessarily limit the conversation. As a manager you may well want to set some limits to the conversation (“I’m not prepared to talk about the budget today.”) or at least ensure that the agenda reflects your needs (“I’d like to discuss last week’s meeting, in addition to what’s on your list.”), but it’s important to do only as much of this as necessary and to leave room for your employee to raise concerns and issues that are important to them. It’s all too easy for leaders to inadvertantly send signals that prevent employees from raising issues, so make it clear that their agenda matters. In his book Helping, former MIT professor Edgar Schein identifies different modes of inquiry that we employ when we’re offering help, and they map particularly well to coaching conversations. The initial process of information gathering I described above is what Schein calls “pure inquiry.” The next step is “diagnostic inquiry,” which consists of focusing the other person’s attention on specific aspects of their story, such as feelings and reactions, underlying causes or motives, or actions taken or contemplated. (“You seem frustrated with Chris. How’s that relationship going?” or “It sounds like there’s been some tension on your team. What do you think is happening?” or “That’s an ambitious goal for that project. How are you planning to get there?”) The next step in the process is what Schein somewhat confusingly calls “confrontational inquiry”. He doesn’t mean that we literally confront the person, but, rather, that we challenge aspects of their story by introducing new ideas and hypotheses, substituting our understanding of the situation for the other person’s. (“You’ve been talking about Chris’s shortcomings. How might you be contributing to the problem?” or “I understand that your team’s been under a lot of stress. How has turnover affected their ability to collaborate?” or “That’s an exciting plan, but it has a lot of moving parts. What happens if you’re behind schedule?”) YOU AND YOUR TEAM Coaching Get better at helping your employees stretch and grow. In coaching conversations it’s crucial to spend as much time as needed in the initial stages and resist the urge to jump ahead, where the process shifts from asking open-ended questions to using your authority as a leader to spotlight certain issues. The more time you can spend in pure inquiry, the more likely the conversation will challenge your employee to come up with their own creative solutions, surfacing the unique knowledge that they’ve gained from their proximity to the problem. Listen It’s important to understand the difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a cognitive process that happens internally — we absorb sound, interpret it, and understand it. But listening is a whole-body process that happens between two people that makes the other person truly feel heard. Listening in a coaching context requires significant eye contact, not to the point of awkwardness, but more than you typically devote in a casual conversation. This ensures that you capture as much data about the other person as possible — facial expressions, gestures, tics — and conveys a strong sense of interest and engagement. Effective listening also requires our focused attention. Coaching is fundamentally incompatible with multitasking, because while you may be able to hear what another person is saying while working on something else, it’s impossible to listen in a way that makes the other person feel heard. It’s critical to eliminate distractions. Turn off your phone, close your laptop, and find a dedicated space where you won’t be interrupted. Coaching conversations can take place over the phone, of course, and in that medium it’s even more important to refrain from multitasking so that in the absence of visual data, you can pick up on subtle cues in someone’s speech. In my experience taking brief, sporadic notes in a coaching conversation helps me to stay focused and lessens the burden of maintaining information in my working memory (which holds just five to seven items for most people.) But note-taking itself can become a distraction, causing you to worry more about accurately capturing the other person’s comments than about truly listening. Coaching conversations aren’t depositions, so don’t play stenographer. If you feel the need to take notes, try writing one word or phrase at a time, just enough to jog your memory later. Empathize Empathy is the ability not only to comprehend another person’s point of view, but also to vicariously experience their emotions. Without empathy other people remain alien and opaque to us. When present it establishes the interpersonal connection that makes coaching possible. A key to the importance of empathy can be found in the work of Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston whose work focuses on the topics of vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” Empathy, Brown notes, is “the antidote to shame.” When employees need your help they are likely experiencing some form of shame, even if it’s just mild embarrassment — and the more serious the problem, the deeper the shame. Feeling and expressing empathy is critical to helping the other person defuse their embarrassment and begin thinking creatively about solutions. But note that our habitual expressions of empathy can sometimes be counterproductive. Michael Sahota, a coach in Toronto who works with groups of software developers and product managers, explains some of the traps we fall into when trying to express empathy: We compare our issues to theirs (“My problem’s bigger.”), try to be overly positive (“Look on the bright side.”), or leap to problem-solving while ignoring what they’re feeling in the moment. Finally, be aware that expressing empathy need not prevent you from holding people to high standards. You may fear that empathizing is equivalent to excusing poor performance but this is a false dichotomy. Empathizing with the difficulties your employees face is an important step in the process of helping them build resilience and learn from setbacks. After you’ve acknowledged an employee’s struggles and feelings, they’re more likely to respond to your efforts to motivate improved performance. When you coach as a leader you don’t need to be the expert. You don’t need to be the smartest or most experienced person in the room. And you don’t need to have all the solutions. But you do need to be able to connect with people, to inspire them to do their best, and to help them search inside and discover their own answers.

Want a Better Pitch? by Andy Raskin

By StarVenture

5 mins

Video

Pitch deck Presentation Pitching Public Speaking

Want a Better Pitch? Watch This. by Andy Raskin The CMO of a San Francisco startup backed by A-list investors emailed me about her new sales deck. “It lacks oomph,” she said. “The information is there. The slides look great. But we’re not telling a compelling story. Can you help?” One of my favorite things is helping leadership teams craft a better strategic story— for fundraising, sales, recruiting, whatever. I was busy with other projects and couldn’t start immediately, so I sent a link to the man on the CMO’s team who built the deck — a guy named Zack. Five days later, the CMO texted me: “Andy, what did you send Zack? Because his deck got a lot better. Kind of like night and day.” What I Sent Zack What I sent Zack was a link to Elon Musk’s presentation for the Tesla Powerwall (the full video is at the bottom of this post). I also included a version of the points I’ll share below. Musk’s delivery isn’t stellar. He’s self-conscious and fidgety. But at the end, his audience cheers. For a battery. That’s because Musk does five things right that you should emulate in every pitch you ever make to anybody. And you should do them in this order: #1: Name the enemy Musk’s villain: fossil fuels Never start a pitch by talking about yourself, your team, your product, or your total addressable market. Instead, start by naming the thing that’s getting in the way of your customer’s happiness. Do that by painting an emotionally resonant picture of how your customer is struggling, who/what is to blame, and why. When Musk shows this image of burning fossil fuels, you can practically hear Darth Vader’s ominous breath. #2: Answer “Why now?” The Keeling Curve: growth of atmospheric CO2 concentration Audiences — particularly investors — are skeptical. They’re thinking, “People have lived this way for a long time — are they really going to change now?” Musk handles this objection by showing that we’re at a critical point in the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration: If we don’t act now, things quickly get much, much worse. When Musk says, “We should collectively do something about this,” his audience howls in support. #3: Show the promised land before explaining how you’ll get there Before saying anything about batteries, Musk describes his version of happily-ever-after: a civilization powered by “this handy fusion reactor in the sky, called the Sun.” Showing the enemy’s defeat before explaining how you’ll make it happen can feel wrong for novice presenters — like blurting out the punchline before you’ve told a joke. But when an audience knows where you’re headed, they’re much more likely to buckle in for the ride. #4: Identify obstacles—then explain how you’ll overcome them Now that you’ve shared your vision of the future, (a) lay out the obstacles to achieving it and (b) show how your company/product/service will overcome each one. (There had better be some big, nasty obstacles — otherwise who needs what you’re selling?) Musk addresses three obstacles to a solar-powered world: (i) The amount of energy produced by solar panels varies throughout the day and night (thus the need for batteries): (ii) Most people think the land area required for batteries to store enough energy to rid U.S. of fossil fuels would be really huge (but according to Musk, it’s that tiny red dot in Texas): (iii) Musk says that currently available batteries “suck” in seven specific ways: Current battery technology: not ready for your living room By this point, Musk’s audience is practically salivating for the Powerwall product video, which will explain how Powerwall does not suck in each of those seven ways. But make no mistake: the fancy graphics and dramatic music only work because Musk has set up the Powerwall not as a battery, but as the salvation of mankind. #5: Present evidence that you’re not just blowing hot air Look, Mom: No grid! Again: audiences are skeptical. So you must give them evidence that the future you’ve laid out is, indeed, attainable. Musk does that by letting his audience in on a secret: Powerwall batteries have been supplying the energy for the auditorium in which he’s speaking. As proof, he zooms in on the meter above, which registers zero power from the grid. For early- stage companies and products, demos like this can serve as evidence, though results from early (or beta) customers are more compelling. Least persuasive— but better than nothing — are testimonials from potential customers explaining why they would buy.

Indian Premier League

By Puskar (Raj)

5 mins

Text

IPL Cricket India BCCI

The Indian Premier League is a professional men's Twenty20 cricket league, contested by ten teams based out of ten Indian cities. The league was founded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in 2007. Tournament format Currently, with ten teams, the round-robin format was scrapped and two virtual groups of five were introduced similar to the 2011 season in the league phase. After the league stage, the top four teams will qualify for the playoffs. The top two teams from the league phase will play against each other in the first Qualifying match, with the winner going straight to the IPL final and the loser getting another chance to qualify for the IPL final by playing the second Qualifying match. Meanwhile, the third and fourth place teams from the league phase play against each other in an eliminator match and the winner from that match will play the loser from the first Qualifying match. The winner of the second Qualifying match will move onto the final to play the winner of the first Qualifying match in the IPL Final match, where the winner will be crowned the Indian Premier League champions. Match rules IPL games utilise television timeouts and hence there is no time limit in which teams must complete their innings. However, a penalty may be imposed if the umpires find teams misusing this privilege. Each team is given a two-and-a-half-minute "strategic timeout" during each innings; one must be taken by the bowling team between the ends of the 6th and 9th overs, and one by the batting team between the ends of the 13th and 16th overs.[39] Since the 2018 season, the Umpire Decision Review System is being used in all IPL matches, allowing each team one chance to review an on-field umpire's decision per innings.

We Need Both Networks and Communities

By Henry Mintzberg HBR

5 mins

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Change Management Communication Leadership Community Networking Culture

If you want to understand the difference between a network and a community, ask your Facebook friends to help paint your house. Social media certainly connects us to whoever is on the other end of the line, and so extends our social networks in amazing ways. But this can come at the expense of deeper personal relationships. When it feels like we’re up-to-date on our friends’ lives through Facebook or Instagram, we may become less likely to call them, much less meet up. Networks connect; communities care. Marshall McLuhan wrote famously about the “global village,” created by new information technologies. But what kind of a village is this? In the traditional village, you chatted with your neighbor at the local market, face-to-face: this was the heart of community. When that neighbor’s barn burned down, you may all have pitched in to help rebuild it. Is crowdfunding in this global village quite the same? Like those fantasy-ridden love affairs on the internet, the communication remains untouched, and untouchable. A century or two ago, the word community “seemed to connote a specific group of people, from a particular patch of earth, who knew and judged and kept an eye on one another, who shared habits and history and memories, and could at times be persuaded to act as a whole on behalf of a part.” In contrast, the word has now become fashionable to describe what are really networks, as in the “business community”—”people with common interests [but] not common values, history, or memory.” Does this matter for managing in the digital age, even for dealing with our global problems? It sure does. In a 2012 New York Times column, Thomas Friedman reported asking an Egyptian friend about the protest movements in that country: “Facebook really helped people to communicate, but not to collaborate,” he replied. Friedman added that “at their worst, [social media sites] can become addictive substitutes for real action.” That is why, while the larger social movements, as in Cairo’s Tahrir Square or on Wall Street, may raise consciousness about the need for renewal in society, it is the smaller social initiatives, usually developed by small groups in communities, that do much of the renewing. At the organizational level, as I have written frequently, effective companies function as communities of human beings, not collections of human resources. Of course, all companies need robust networks, to communicate among their parts as well as to connect to the outside world. And this applies especially to their managers: networking and communicating, even for its own sake let alone for decision-making, is a major component of every manager’s job. But far more crucial is the need for collaboration, and that requires a strong sense of community in the organization. We tend to make a great fuss about leadership these days, but communityship is more important. The great leaders create, enhance, and support a sense of community in their organizations, and that requires hands-on management. Hence managers have get beyond their individual leadership, to recognize the collective nature of effective enterprise. Especially for operating around the globe, electronic communication has become essential. But the heart of enterprise remains rooted in personal collaborative relationships, albeit networked by the new information technologies. Thus, in localities and organizations, across societies and around the globe, beware of “networked individualism“ where people communicate readily while struggling to collaborate. The new digital technologies, wonderful as they are in enhancing communication, can have a negative effect on collaboration unless they are carefully managed. An electronic device puts us in touch with a keyboard, that’s all.

Coke Studio

By Puskar (Raj)

3 mins

Text

Music Song

Coke Studio is a Pakistani television program and international music franchise which features studio-recorded music performances by established and emerging artists. It is the longest-running annual television music show in Pakistan, running annually since 2008. ________________________________________________________________________________ This is really a fantastic show. It presents music in a different and peaceful way. This is the coke studio of Pakistan. But since all Indian and all people of the world loving it. I think it spread the music of Sufi and Pakistan to all over the world. _____________________________________________________________________________ India has Bollywood. So, they promote most songs on T-Series by featuring Bollywood movies. But Pakistan's cook studio represents the music and musicians in a different way. Coke studio is now popular on not only in Pakistan but also in India and all over the world. But I agree definitely there is no reason to compare T-Series to Coke Studio. Both have different ways to present music. Coke studio really have a different legacy. ____________________________________________________________________________ Music has the power to unite countries. And coke studio really does it. In the comment section of Coke studio's every song there is no difference of Language, country or religion. That is a big thing for all. The most viewed song of Coke studio, Afreen Afreen, sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Momina Mustehsan is loved by all people. It touches all people's hearts. When Rahat Sir sings Aisa Dekha nahi khubsoorat koyi, jism jaise Ajanta ki murat koyi, every music lover feel the song from their heart. Really Rahat sir is really a legend. He can sing different types of songs peacefully. So, this song has321 million+ views on the official YouTube Channel of Coke Studio. Atif Aslam's Tajdar-e-Haram also touched all souls. Adiba Parveen is also a great singer who sung many songs in Coke studio. Tu kuja man kuja is also a masterpiece from Coke studio. In one sentence, all songs of Coke Studio are masterpieces. Finally, all thanks to Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Saab who gave the right way to all today's singers and musicians. Lots of love of India. _________________Puskar Koley (Raj).

Successful Mentorship

By Cian McCarthy

7 mins

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Mentorship Mindset Relationships Engagement Community

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” – Phil Collins One of the most cited contributors to a successful mentor-mentee relationship is the establishment of a trusting connection. This is only possible when the mentor can put themselves in the shoes of their mentee, which itself is only possible when the mentee is open and vulnerable with the mentor. This involves the mentee to detail all the struggles, failures, and difficulties facing them on their journey. Both the mentees understanding of why the mentor is giving their time to help the mentee to succeed, and the mentors understanding of why the mentee is in need and why they are driven to succeed is central to the establishment of a trusting connection, and therefore central to the success of the mentor-mentee relationship moving forward. It’s no surprise then that trust, empathy, and listening skills are the 3 most sought-after qualities in a mentor. Another key factor for success is a growth mindset. “Growth mindset of mentees, that is, the extent to which mentees believe that most skills needed for being a successful entrepreneur can be developed and learned, is positively associated with the perception of the mentor as helpful (particularly in terms of being constructive and professional). In contrast, mentees with a fixed mindset, that is, the belief that successful entrepreneurs are born with certain skills that cannot be learned, tend to report that their mentor influenced the venture in a negative way.” In other words, evidence suggests that mentees’ belief that they can learn to be successful entrepreneurs makes them see more value in the mentorship they received. The same must be true for mentors, who can only believe their efforts to be of value if they believe that the mentee can learn from them. A difference in demographics, be it age, gender, or ethnicity result in higher levels of mutual learning in a mentor-mentee relationship. Whilst it may be easier to first develop a relationship with someone who is from the same area as you and supports the same football team for example, it has been reported that a difference in background and demographics has the potential to result in even more mutual learning. This is a beautiful reality and works well in the favour of Dosen and its wonderful programs where people from all corners of the globe are connected for the opportunity to learn from one another. In this instance, we like to think that our mentors and mentees can, on occasion, swap hats and reverse the roles when discussing certain topics. “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton The perspectives of mentors and mentees on what makes a good mentor are largely similar. Firstly, mentors and mentees both care greatly about building a high-quality mentoring relationship. Furthermore, evidence suggests that mentors believe that an indirect approach with probing questions may be more effective in making their mentees more successful whilst the mentees value specific information more. However, mentees who value the indirect approach more and who demand less specific advice are more satisfied with the mentorship and its effects on their efforts. As a result, we cannot stress enough how important it is for mentees to enter their mentorship with an open mindset, prepared for probing and often difficult thought-provoking questions that require deep thinking. It is in that difficulty that lies the opportunity for change and growth. The above factors for success are all within your control. The mindset with which you approach your mentor-mentee relationship, founded upon your own personal desire to better yourself or others, is the driving force that has the power to lead to transformational development. But this is only half the battle. A vehicle is required in order to mobilize this driving force, and that is where Dosen comes in - the CRM platform for Mentoring & Consulting. While most programs make little use of online tools and systems for managing the relationship between mentees and mentors, yours does. In many mentorship and consulting programs around the world, a mentee is assigned to a mentor without having the ability to review any more for selection. And in many mentorship and consulting programs around the world, mentees would rather a different matching procedure. Specifically, mentees want the opportunity to choose a mentor after talking with several potential candidates. Provided your mentorship or consulting program has access to an adequate number of mentors, all mentees will be introduced to multiple potential mentoring candidates on Dosen. This introduction takes place on the Messages section of the members account. Here, mentee and mentor can open a conversation and book an introductory call with one another in order to determine the potential for a mentorship relationship. Only when both a mentee and mentor are happy with one another is an official match created on the Matches page. "A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you." — Bob Proctor Satisfaction with a mentorship program is correlated with the frequency of interactions between mentees and mentors. Oftentimes, mentees and mentors are connected by a program via email, and little to no accountability discourages effort and frequency of interaction thereafter. Once a mentee and mentor are matched on Dosen, they are required to book a series of calls over a 3-6 month period. These calls typically take place every two weeks and are each charged with the completion of specific milestones and objectives. Mentorship relationships often lack objectives. Mentees and mentors meet on occasion, only to discuss an array of disconnected issues facing the mentee with little clarity surrounding the goal of the engagement. The matching of a mentee and mentor on Dosen requires that both parties identify an overall goal for the engagement, as well as milestones towards achieving this goal. These items are then stored on the Matches page for continued reference and status updates. Approximately 64% of program administrators name mentor availability as the biggest challenge in running their program. The bottom line here is that it is up to the mentor and the mentor alone to make themselves available to their mentees. We like to think that if a mentor has opted into a mentorship program that they are in fact there to mentor. We have designed our Schedule page in such a way whereby a mentor can spend a couple of minutes setting their availability when they first log in, and leave the rest up to the mentee. We, alongside your program administrators understand that mentorship and consulting often takes place in the spare time of members. All we ask is that is that if a call is booked book a with a mentor as per their set availability, that call booking is honoured. Dosen will always operate with integrity – we require the same of our partner programs, and we require the same of our members. "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." — Winston Churchill Program induction and training is an easily overlooked component. In the absence of a centralised management tool for mentorship programs, guidelines, expectations, and processes are rarely, if ever shared with program members. Materials such as the article you are reading now are key in setting the foundations for mentorship success. The articles contained within your program materials, alongside the onboarding demo and tutorials facilitate our mentees and mentors to understand why they are involved in a mentorship program on Dosen, what the possibilities are by engaging with the program, and how to achieve these possibilities. Research has showed that there is a substantial difference in program satisfaction between programs that provide induction and training versus those that don’t. Access to induction and training, and how well mentees and mentors buy into such offerings, correlate strongly with program satisfaction, as members know what they should expect of themselves, and how to serve these expectations so as to get the most from the program. Further, program support in the form of notifications and tips during the mentorship was positively associated with satisfaction and with the frequency of interactions. Dosen is an active notifier of all mentorship activities, be it messages, calls, updates to the status of mentorship milestones, and many more, to ensure that members are always up to date. Mentor involvement in the business or project of the mentee and the assistance of mentor with preparing and reviewing important documents where relevant (business plan, pitch deck etc.) is positively associated with overall evaluation of mentor performance and with the overall satisfaction with the program. File sharing is a feature available to all members in their message conversations to facilitate adequate mentor involvement in the review and preparation of key deliverables that the mentee must address on their journey to success. “Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind." — Samuel Taylor Coleridge Studies show that an online interactive database would make it easier for mentees to identify and engage more suitable mentors and allow for improved matching. It has also been shown that mentors who actively participate in matching report greater satisfaction with the mentorship program. As a result, Dosen now offers this online interactive database. Our Directory hosts profiles of all program members and allows both mentees and mentors to identify more potential matching candidates. A sense of community is one aspect of a mentorship program that has not been critically studied by researchers, but we at Dosen believe the power of community can drive the satisfaction of members even further. A sense of belonging, shared values, and being amongst others who in one way or another overlap with your cause to share advice and grow are core ingredients in the Dosen recipe. Our Library and Directory are but two components of this community, and we have many more in the works. The ability to have data, insights and reports as a means of reflecting the input in effort and the output in value is an incredibly refreshing part of helping others and in seeing the help you receive translate into real-world results. The Dashboard section as well as the exports functions on your Dosen account facilitate this data and will allow you to see clearly the value in your mentorship. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou Much of the data throughout this article was taken from "Mentoring in Startup Ecosystems: A multi-institution empirical analysis from the perspectives of mentees, mentors and university and accelerator program administrators" by Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, PhD, and David J. Brophy, PhD, at University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Thomas Jensen of Enterprise Futures Network, Melanie Milovac, PhD at INSEAD, Co-Author Evgeny Kagan at University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and Research Team of Rachael Moreton University of Michigan.