We want to make sure that everybody in this firm respects the entrepreneur and respects the fact that they're going to be the ones who are making us the money, not vice versa.
Venture Firm Pays If Late for Meeting -- to reinforce their respect for entrepreneurs, VC firm
Andreessen Horowitz fines partners $10 for every minute they are late for a
meeting with entrepreneurs!! This is EXACTLY the kind of simple brand promise
guarantee and differentiating activity we've been emphasizing firms adopt as
part of their overall strategy. And it's what has made their firm the hottest
venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, having raised three funds worth $2.7
Must STUDY Article -- so the article for the week is Fortune's interview of Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. Venture capitalists are businesses too, and need a differentiating strategy. For them, their simple one-phrase strategy is "founders make the best CEOs" which translates to a brand promise that they will support, nurture, and educate an entrepreneur to become a successful CEO rather than be quick to bring in a hired gun. Then everything they do reinforces this belief, including their $10/minute fine -- and thus every entrepreneur is flocking to them. In an industry where quality deal flow is everything, Andreessen Horowitz gets the first look. Take 8 minutes to STUDY this interview for more great ideas about strategy (better than the P&G book!) plus a couple neat video interviews - and read how the late fine impacts culture (end of interview).
"Hot Potato" Long Email Chains -- speaking of wasting people's time being late to meetings (or conference calls as highlighted a few weeks ago), nothing wastes more time than long email chains with twenty people copied on the email when a quick conference call would resolve the issues. And because I'm on vacation this week, to save me some time, I'm reproducing BGT Partners VP of Operation, Tony Morello's, email to the 400 employees in their rapidly growing interactive media agency on how he wants these handled - what he calls "Hot Potato Them". Here it is, complete with his hot potato graphics. WARNING: some graphic language as well!
From: Tony Morello - BGT Partners
Sent: Monday, February 04, 2013 10:29 PM
Subject: Hot Potato!
Long Email Chains Wasting Time? Hot Potato Them.
We're seeing a disturbing trend internally at BGT - emails are being used as a substitute for actual conversation. When used incorrectly, emails can be a tremendous time suck. And given the amount of work we have, time is clearly not something we can afford to lose. If you've been the victim of time-wasting bullsh*t emails, we're now giving you ammo to fight back. The next time you receive an email that has been treated by the sender as a hot potato, don't continue the chain. Don't ignore it. And don't delete it. Instead, "reply all" with the following horrible, horrible graphic (we are not kidding):
When an email has been called out as a hot potato, the sender of the original
email is responsible for calling a 15 minute huddle within one hour to resolve
the problem. And that's the key - hot potato issues MUST be resolved in that
time frame. In the huddle, someone must stand up and say, "I own the potato" and
be accountable for the resolution. Then, other people must take responsibility
for taking action and supporting the person that owns the issue.
A hot potato email meets one or more of the following requirements:
- Has caused an email chain of at least 5 emails with no clear resolution and no clear ownership
- Has been sent in place of doing due diligence and collecting background information on an issue (i.e., an email sent to several people and begins, "I'm not sure who to send this to, so I'm sending this to all of you...")
- Has been sent to a group to collect information that could be collected much faster in a meeting
- Has asked you to do something that clearly has been thrown over the fence with no real thought. (AKA a CYA email)
Once the problem is resolved, the sender of the original email can "reply all" with the following:
Don't get sucked into long email chains. Hot Potato them, talk, and resolve the
problem. You can copy the Hot Potato graphics right out of this email.
A special thanks to Elly Vila Dominicis for her prodigious potato artwork.