Transitioning Broader (Notes from March 16 to March 22, 2020)

I've been thinking of a transfer. WP pro? Off-site? Drive some different traffic, engagement.

But everywhere I look, it seems they focus on a very specific niche. Well, that'd bore me if I had to do multiple niches or pick a single to do first.

There's a weird balance I can find between bouncing between options. Finance. Data. Products. Strategy. Read some startups here. Read funding notes here. Research there.

I think we'll go with Webflow and try to let this be simple, easy and straightforward. Focus on the platform template and let them do the rest. Should speed up the site, also.

Why am I writing this and letting you know? Likely because I'm at an impasse personally and professionally. Got stuck professionally in consulting and contracting. When the work doesn't seem like it can lead to further opportunities directly, we seek out others. How do we transition? What do we transition to?

I've overseen many projects in my time, some products, some features. If we're looking for a broader sense - forest among the trees birds-eye view, maybe a few programs in my day. The designation wasn't that in title, but it's arguable. Finding the differences between product + project + program management has been interesting to read through literature in what I'd define as each. And even more interesting is going through the roles / titles in job opportunities among different companies. Loose definitions that encompass quite a bit.

I'm reading No Rules Rules. Co-writers Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, and Erin Meyer, author of Culture Map among others, dive into the transparency laid out at Netflix. Somewhat woven between stories and employee accounts is a framework for how to create this culture. It's not for everyone, but it certainly entices to see how efficient an organization can be when employees feel emboldened and autonomous. It's exciting, and leaves room to run. Processes and the chain of command are what hinder action so commonly throughout business. So far, the book is a fresh take on that. I'd consider checking it out! Otherwise, hope you enjoy the notes.

  • Adena Hefets, Co-founder at Divvy Homes (20min VC 3/13/20)
  • Early stage fintech investor at DFJ and original team at Square Capital
  • Started Square Capital, the lending platform on their business - talented, dedicated group that was very successful internal
  • multiB within Square itself, by now - thinking of what she wanted to do after
  • Started in P/E at TPG, as well - they wanted her to go to business school initially, but felt weird doing that without doing anything
  • Fintech - not as much innovation as she'd like to see - which industries that should be changing the most
  • Inflection points in the market like housing
  • Perspective as being everything - time as operator/ee at Square gave her insight to grow super fast
  • As an investor, she saw the forest of overall landscape - as founder, takes a lot to scale company
  • Believes she'd be a better investor now than before
  • "Growth is challenging" - may need to think distribution channels or what it means to develop one
  • Having a hard time prioritizing what product builds we have - to understand depth, have to see and work out a solution
  • Here are the 5 Prioritizations and which allows me to go down 1 product build
  • Unit economics - finance/p/e run by Jim Coulter and value-investing
  • Company's ability to cash flow and unit economics for product (make more than you spend on each user/customer)
  • Level of deploying too much capital and trying to find optimal spend for seeking new customers
  • $X to acquire the next customers (paid vs blended) - Divvy gets quite a bit of organic distribution channels
  • 3 addictions for founder of a company - paid marketing, over hiring (most people want to build out a team right away), lower pricing
  • Growing and successful company shouldn't be indicated by how many employees - no hires and 10x revenue better
  • Lower prices by 10-20% for incremental growth - careful in discipline for value of product and being worth your price
  • She had an easy fundraise - her support prepared her very well and lucky
  • Debt raising compared to equity raising is far harder for diligence - home tap
  • Her investment bankers that she approached had no interest
  • She is far more devoted to execution focused while her cofounder is culture, feeling and empathetic for the company
  • Tough that people may expect females to be overly empathetic when she's focused on customers and owning how/who you are
  • Pushing people hard - don't really have "yes people" - instead, "how have you thought about x, y, z?" and "does it deviate from what we've done?"
  • TPG - inv committee would always have red tape - if you took exact opposite, how's that look?
  • Evicted by Matthew Desmond - challenges with rent & housing in US - don't want to be at Divvy
  • Persistence is strength - as a group, run through walls
  • Weakness can be patience
  • First check into Divvy was Max Levchin, incubated by HVF and Eric Wu at Nextdoor as a mentor
  • Hard role to hire for - (In valley may be VP of Sales) but for her, COO role
  • Jack of all trades - understand finance, marketing spend and other like HVAC in her business
  • 100k homes in next 5 years for large amount of Americans (where the largest REIT is 80k)
  • Toni Shneider, Partner at True Ventures (20min VC 3/16/20)
  • Portfolio of early-stage investments includes Peloton, Hashicorp, Fitbit, Automattic,
  • CEO of Automattic for 8 years helping Wordpress get to top 10 global internet sites
  • VP of Yahoo after acquisition of former CEO post at Oddpost
  • Up and down on Sand Hill road for 1999 with Uplister and then Oddpost
  • Phil and John had asked him if he was interested in venture as they were going out to new fund
  • He said yes to both True Ventures and CEO of Automattic after being asked
  • Founder friendly and coaching investors/VC's instead of bosses
  • Collaborative, where everyone is working closely, sharing credit/blame
  • Being an investor and operator while at Automattic
  • Helped that Automattic was distributed because he could respond to emails/texts/Slack
  • True designed for partners to pursue deals, co's in their own way - could multi-task
  • Qualities of a great CEO and founder at companies - having seen wildly talented founders
  • Driven, generous, creative and optimistic - sales wizards
  • Love to focus deeply or obsessively (mentioned Blue Bottle Coffee - origin, experience of café, smell, prep and feel of cup - 10 years)
  • Changing as investor - originally s/w eng, product mindset & overestimate product importance / idea
  • He's missed some deals, definitely
  • Instagram pass very early before they pivoted there - sometimes the timing is off and that's okay
  • Focus on doing a great job for those that he makes a deal on
  • Remote teams - where do people go wrong?
  • If you work on something that can be done remotely - it should be a win because people can work how they want
  • Fewer distractions with other stuff
  • Centralized companies that don't trust the remote model instead of going all-in from the get-go
  • Salesperson that has to deal with geographies and sales should be in that area but you can have some centralized teams
  • True had 3 very large exits - Ring (LA) to Amazon, Duo Security (NYC) to Cisco and Peleton (Ann Arbor) IPO - all built outside of SV
  • Bay Area is fantastic but it's possible outside of that - 25% SV, half in the US and another quarter outside of that
  • Pros/cons of distributed
  • Pros: access to global talent pool, happy employees
  • Cons: how to build relationship/trust without an in-person connection, so far
  • If remote, need to figure out a way to be together (Automattic is once or twice a year together)
  • Favorite book - Their Eyes Were Watching, then Jim Collins' Good to Great, also Predictably Irrational
  • Time allocation for a portfolio - super responsive when they need him, half with existing portfolio and half for new
  • Zero inbox person by end of week
  • Biggest challenge at True Ventures - de-carbonization because it's a completely new area and that it's not a good place for VC
  • Best board member so far - one for him was Ellen Pao from Project Include
  • Most recently investment and why he said yes?
  • PiaVita - med diagnostics platform for vets - impressed by founders - wanted to work with them
  • Sam Parr, CEO of The Hustle (webinar on cold email 3/19)
  • Crafting a message for cold email - AIDA
  • A: Attention - interesting or curious - subject line and aligning the value add there
  • I: Interest - interesting facts or use cases
  • Hustle Con to CEO, for instance, interest that people at conf are avid learners and hustlers
  • "Hate Salesforce" in reply to a tweet - hate the upload feature, for instance & you've an answer
  • D: Desire - Show them how life/task is better with your product
  • Do it by hand, sew dresses faster. X got a better
  • A: Action - single specific action from this point - tell them what's next. Signup or make a scale.

I want to include how awesome The Hustle and their Facebook group Trends is. If you're looking for ideas or new solutions to improve business/create a hell of a network or simply reach out to knowledgable people, it's worth it. Yes, I posted an affiliate link - yes, it's still worth its weight. Try it for $1.