Before Homebrew, I led consumer product management at YouTube, delivering billions of playbacks a day across computers, phones, tablets and TVs. Joined Google in 2003 managing product and sales efforts for Google’s contextual advertising business. I was a founding member of the product and marketing team at Linden Lab, the creators of online virtual world
. Earlier, I was a management consultant and also spent a year at Late Night with Conan O’ Brien, broadcasting to an audience of insomniacs, truckers and college students. Grinded a BA in History from Vassar and an MBA from Stanford University (of which my parents are very proud)
I recorded a few videos on fundraising advice that you may want to check out if you are a founder:
Five Questions & Answers
1. What’s one thing you hate to see in a seed pitch deck?
Please never show me an “Exit Slide” that talks about how you’ll get bought in a few years by a competitor. Actually,
. At the beginning of your startup journey just focus on product and customers. Everything else flows from there.
2. Is the Bay Area still the best to start a career in tech?
I moved out to SF in 1998 for grad school and being in the Bay Area during this period has provided access that I never would have had otherwise. But in 2020 do I feel you MUST be in SF in order to succeed? Absolutely not. There are great hubs in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Atlanta, Austin among other US cities (not to mention the rest of the world). However you should build relationships with the Bay Area network even consider living here for a few years or working for a Silicon Valley HQ’ed company.
3. What’s a common mistake founders make in choosing a startup idea?
Not picking a problem that they care deeply about and want to spend minimally 7-10 years focused on solving. Just because you think a certain technology is cool or an idea is backable shouldn’t be the rationale for starting a company (in my opinion). At Homebrew we probably over-index on founder <> market fit and the “Why?” behind the business (why this team for this problem?).
4. What are your hobbies?
The vast majority of my time are focused on my family and my fund. Outside of that I’m trying to
I’m an evangelist for open discussions built on shared goals and good faith. Let’s talk it out, especially if you disagree or have criticism to share.
Collaboration, Not Necessarily Consensus
I believe the best leaders are collaborative but don’t necessarily seek consensus. Great products are born from tough decisions that won’t necessarily be shared by all stakeholders in the moment.
A Decision Is Often Better Than No Decision
Speed matters. Create a culture of informed decision-making, where the right people are empowered with data and authority. If you focus on quality of process, you’ll increase both the quality and velocity of your decision-making as a startup.
About this Doc
Through my various blog posts and interviews, I hope to give people a sense of what it’s like to work with me. I’ve noted a trend towards others doing the same (e.g. Luc Levesque calls this a