Yet Another (ex-)VC Blog

Cloud computing, entrepreneurship, and venture capital

4 startup equity and employment agreement gotchas

leave a comment »

  1. Convertible debt should count in total shares outstanding b/c it almost *always* converts.
  2. Properly-written double triggers give meaningful downstream protection.
  3. Divide by 5-10 what the VC swears he won’t sell the company for less than.
  4. Have written proof of preference structure, and you’ll be taken care of upon exit.

via Chris Zaharias CEO of SearchQuant | LinkedIn.

Written by John Gannon

October 18, 2014 at 8:52 am

How publishers can avoid the race to the bottom

leave a comment »

The number of page views will continue to grow exponentially, but ad budgets might grow at 10 percent per year at best. When you marry those two things, CPMs can only go down. Advertising is no longer going to be a high-value product. For publishers, that means you have to figure out how to drive your long-term relationships to get your audience to buy higher-margin projects from you.

via How Gigaom Built a Media Business Around Free Content | Mediashift | PBS.

Written by John Gannon

October 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Why today could be the day for your startup

leave a comment »

I left my job at Cisco expecting that it might take six months to start a company. Two and a half years and more than a half-dozen serious start-up explorations later, I started BloomReach. There were plenty of reasons for the long run up. Markets that turned south. Teams that did not gel. Ideas that sucked. Prototypes that I hated. I tried to keep the bar high, believing that if I was going to pour my life into something, it had to work.

- Raj De Datta, CEO and Co-founder of Bloomreach (from ‘Entrepreneurs don’t interview, they commit.’)

If you are starting a company your first team, target market segment, or product idea may not stick.

You’ll need to pivot your product, target market segment, or team (OK, maybe all 3 at once).

So clearly financial runway (personal and company) is important.

What you may not realize is that runway, even if it’s just a tiny landing strip, generates a ton of option value.

The best part? Doesn’t matter if you have 12 months or 12 weeks or 12 days of runway left to take advantage of it.

Today could be the day.

Another great reason to stick with the struggle

Written by John Gannon

October 13, 2014 at 11:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Lead with content…even when you’re tiny

leave a comment »

If you’re a small business that doesn’t have the resources for content creators, editors, and whatever else is needed to run those operations, I say do what I did in 2006 when I had the wine show: Take hours away from staffing, strategizing, selling, and all the other things you’re doing, and put one, two, three hours into becoming a media company. I really do believe that this practice has, and will continue to have, an enormous upside to the future of business.

via How Small Businesses Can Compete With Fortune 500s | LinkedIn.

Written by John Gannon

October 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm

How startup founders create fans for life

leave a comment »


The story: Friend of mine was working at a startup that was recently acquired. She hadn’t reached her one year cliff and was let go by the acquirer after the transaction completed.

Nonetheless the founding team took care of her, most likely through accelerated cliff vesting. Now she’s gone on to launch her own business using some of that seed capital.

Maybe not surprisingly one of the best VC’s in the business, Fred Wilson, says accelerated cliff vesting is the right thing to do in this kind of situation:

I believe that the cliff should not apply if the sale happens in the first year of employment. When you sell a company, you want everyone to get to go to the “pay window” as JLM calls it. And so the cliff should not apply in a sale event.

Founders who take care of people – when they don’t really have to – make fans for life.


Written by John Gannon

September 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

How to get on a busy person’s calendar

leave a comment »

Let’s say you have the attention of someone who agrees to meet or do a phone call with you, but they’re just too busy to set it up right now.

The wrong thing to do in most cases is to wait some number of weeks or months to reconnect with the person and set up a meeting.

If you have the person’s attention, you should see if there is a way you can get on their calendar right then and there, even if the actual meeting or call will take place weeks or months out.

Here’s an example of how this might work in practice:

You: “Hi _____, I’m an MBA student who is tracking the Big Data market sector. I have come across some interesting companies looking for funding and was wondering if you might be interested in meeting me to discuss them during the 1st week of December. Also have some interest in working in VC and would love to discuss that career path as well. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks.”

Reply: “Hi Mary – thanks for the note. I would love to chat but I’m swamped for next month or so. Can you email me in the New Year and see if we can set up a time to speak? Thanks.”

You: “Hi _____ – would love to talk to you in the New Year. Would it be OK if we penciled in Feb 1 10-1030a Pacific for a phone chat and then change/move if needed? Thanks and please let me know if that works for you.”

Reply: “Hi Mary – sure, may have to reschedule it but let’s get it on calendar. I’ve copied my assistant who can get the logistics set up.”

Give it a try. It works.

Written by John Gannon

September 22, 2014 at 11:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Where to find friends these days

leave a comment »

People these days are flocking to conferences, ideas festivals and cruises that are really about building friendships, even if they don’t admit it explicitly. The goal of these intensity retreats would be to spark bonds between disparate individuals who, in the outside world, would be completely unlikely to know each other. The benefits of that social bridging, while unplannable, would ripple out in ways long and far-reaching.

via There Are Social and Political Benefits to Having Friends –

Written by John Gannon

September 20, 2014 at 8:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,576 other followers

%d bloggers like this: