Saturday, June 30, 2012

Followup to Advisor Post

Chris Seper, the CEO of MedCityNews, interviewed me at the Kauffman Life Sciences Venture Summit right after I came off stage - which was both exciting and a little weird.  While we talked about a number of things, one of the videos he made was about my current hot-button topic, which is "what makes a good advisor," and specifically, my hypothesis that you want "value-connectors" not "super-connectors" when it comes to introductions from your mentors.

My thoughts on this topic - which Chris summarized well in the post - are further articulated in the Do I need an Advisor post I made recently. As a startup, you want to know that when someone makes an introduction, they are taking it really seriously. Access to a "contacts list" shouldn't be based on money (at one extreme) or "sure, I'll do that for you," (at the other)  but really based on you, the startup, earning it.  You want someone who is focused, dedicated, and willing to say "no, you are not ready" when you are not ready. 

Honestly, this seems awkwardly self-promotional to me, but I really believe in this meta topic (the rise of an unqualified "Advisor class" in Silicon Valley) and it's micro topics, such as introductions.

The post is here and the you tube video is embedded below.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Do I need an advisor for my startup?

This was originally posted on the Rock Health Blog, and I've included only an excerpt here - you can find the full post here

Advisors can play a very positive role in the development of a company when deployed effectively. Over the last few years, however, we have seen a rise of the “Advisor Class” where it appears everyone is either advising, or believes they are in need of advice. During this same period, more self-service resources have become available, from movements like the Lean Startup, to thoughtful Q&A discussion boards, such as Quora, which boasts nearly 75,000 people following questions on entrepreneurship.
So, does my startup need an advisor? An advisory board? How do you manage that relationship to get the most value from it while expending the least amount of effort? You know your effort needs to be on your company, your product, and your team. Anything else should be given rigorous consideration before adding it to your plate. So how do I take on advisors without being distracted?
If you read no further, remember that your investors value ‘team’ more than you know. Often, in fact, than your idea itself. They are placing a bet on you, your team, and your collective ability to make decisions and execute. If you can enhance your team with a small number of focused advisors to fill gaps, that’s a great win for the team. Just remember, never once has an investor said “I don’t believe in the team, but they have a great advisory board.” – team first, team always.
If you choose to read on, the following post provides hints for you to weigh when considering advisors, and most importantly, how to maximize advisor relationships. It’s a framework, but not an answer. And remember, only you can truly decide if you need advisors, because after all….YOU are the CEO!

Runkeeper has made it!

It's official, RunKeeper has finally made it to the big leagues as a social network - I've got my first RK spam! Sadly, it was not a Nigerian Banker with my lost millions, but this is progress none-the-less.

(Of course, I love the Runkeeper guys. It's actually very impressive I've gone this long without getting any spam. A little tongue-and-cheek never hurt anyone. Well, except