The goal of this page is not to virtue signal but to be clear about how I like to work and what I value so that it’s easier to figure out if we want to work together! If you read this page and feel like you want to work with me, please send me an email!
Here are some ways I like to engage with companies and VC funds:
For venture funds
- Conducting retrospectives on current portfolio & fund strategy in addition to loss analysis on anti-portfolio
- For corporate venture funds, what do good strategic investments look like? Are there other ways to achieve these strategic returns besides investment?
- Who are the right co-investment partners given fund strategy? What does the competitive landscape of funds look like?
- What is primary value proposition to founders taking investment? Is the value proposition differentiated sufficiently?
- What is the ideal process for making new/follow on investments? How can the current process be improved?
- Scoping new investment thesis & areas of interest, including building a pipeline of companies and taking the thesis to market (via marketing efforts)
- Defining comprehensive KPIs to measure fund performance (including things like D&I metrics)
- What is your product wedge (your competitive advantage)?
- Product strategy (particularly in consumer, creator, video, and SaaS businesses)
- How to build a sustainable, user-driven product organization (including how to best employ retrospectives)
- How to balance the needs of a sales team and other functions as you scale your product and product organization
Fundraising & investor management
- What is the fundraising story you are trying to tell prospective investors? My focus is generally on pre-seed through Series A fundraising.
- Building a target investor list - who is a fit and why?
- How to engage strategic investors and what you can expect of them
- After closing your round, how to engage investors and keep them up to date on your progress
Recruiting & culture
- How can you build a culture that is both sustainable and a competitive advantage as you grow
- “Culture as a product” you define, set goals around, etc.
- Evaluating recruiting candidates and building an interview process (in particular for product management hiring)
How I Work
I thrive amidst chaos. In my career, this manifests in a love for the earliest stages of companies and products. At home, it manifests in a love for my kids. When I was younger, I loved trying to organize and structure as much as was possible to the point of rigidity. I still have a natural inclination towards doing this, but I have developed better systems to embrace and engage with chaos vs. trying to change its underlying nature. For example, I believe Loose Coordination > Tight Synchronization. As a result, I look for ways to enable loose coordination and clear prioritization as a means of dealing with complexity and chaos. Sometimes this means “saying no” to distracting projects, sometimes it means juggling new ones, sometimes it means abstracting and distilling similar challenges into one simple, focused vision of the future.
I love helping others “level up” and fully relish the emotional journey that is building products and a company. This means celebrating successes, learning from failures, measuring progress along the way and generally reflecting on not just the work that the team is doing, but how and why they are doing that work. Having been a PM at various stages of company, this is something deeply engrained in my ideal product development process. To use a sportsball analogy, you have to love the act of practice, not just love the act of winning.
I’m an introvert (Myers Briggs INTJ) and believe deeply in maker’s time and the “headphone rule.” Generally, this means I favor asynchronous, written communication where possible and empowering teams to do their best work on their own terms (giving people ownership and responsibility are key to doing this). This means respecting different work styles - too often introverts in the workplace can be overwhelmed by a constant barrage of meetings and demands coming their way, which can make prioritization and focus difficult. For this reason, I’m bullish about the shift to remote-first work that has accelerated in 2020. But don’t worry, I still believe in the power of collaboration that comes with small teams (5-7 people) co-locating to solve tough problems. There is nothing more magic than that process.
“Be human” is a core value of how I build products and work with teams - human centered design principles are great for building products, but they’re also a great way to approach growing a team and thinking about engaging investors. Putting oneself in another person’s shoes is a great way to better understands how their motivations might differ. Having lived inside of startups, bigger companies and in the shoes of a VC, I have a firsthand perspective on how many of these folks operate in their day-to-day and try to bring this perspective to my interactions with each.
I live for the “why”. The psychology behind products and human decision-making is fascinating (and this one of my favorite Wikipedia pages). Humans are complex animals but boiling things down to their simplest elements in the product design process is really enjoyable for me. I’m always asking myself “why” a user is engaging with any new product I try and what other substitutes they might be considering. This is probably why I’ve gravitated toward consumer technology investing as I think it’s one of the most difficult and challenging things I could possibly be doing to flex my “product psychology” muscle.
One final note: I broke into tech because I cold emailed people I thought were smart and they took meetings with me. Like anyone, I’m busy, but I believe in the value of a good cold email and of being accessible to the next generation of folks who wants to work in tech. So if I can help somehow, please reach out and let me know how! I try to get back to everyone that writes me personal emails, but my inbox is more a to-do list for other people than the one I want to create for myself, so I try to spend less time on email and more time working on things I am excited about. If you haven’t heard from me, don’t assume the worst - just ping me again (Twitter is usually the best place)! I find that 90% of people don’t do this - be part of the 10% who do it. I will get back to you!