Own Your Own Success

Title: Own Your Own Success
Date: 2013-05-01
Speaker: Kate Mitchell (Scale Venture)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Stanford is not a trade school. It is a school that teaches you how to think.
The Internet thing worked out.
If you are interested in building a startup the Silicon Valley Bank has some incredible resources. They have a program called the Entrepreneur Services Group. (http://www.svb.com/esg/)
Am I a horizontal or vertical person? Do I build cathedrals or hit golf balls? Neither is good or bad. Vertical is a speciality (engineering or Google’s search engine). Horizontally is bringing things together, conscious, pattern recognition, judgement, moving things forward. Knowing that about yourself early in is really helpful.
Understand not just what your strengths and weaknesses are. Embrace that you can’t be everything. The best people in any function figure out how to complement themselves with others whose strengths are the same as your weaknesses.
Your mentor can be a composite of people.
Mentors help you understand what you’re doing well and what you’re not.
Having champions for your career is really important–particularly early on.
Make it easy for somebody to give you feedback. It is incredibly valuable. Ask for it repeatedly. It is usually helpful.
Keep as wide an aperture as possible. You don’t know what is going to happen to you or around you. To become too narrow too early is a negative.
When you are interviewing for your first job the opportunity to learn is important. Think about whether you’re going to learn from the people you’re talking to. Look for an opportunity where you can distinguish yourself. Choose something where you’ll earn a little bit less if you think you can learn more.
Two phases of an investment: one, can you get the product to work? Two, can you get the product to market?
First investment decision is which markets do they think is ready to take off.
To make the returns they need they need to invest in not just a company that is dominant in a sector but a sector that has a tailwind behind it.
The initial tests of sales and marketing doesn’t take a lot of capital. You can do it online.
Scaling takes a lot of capital.
V.C.s want a company that can be one, two, or three in its sector. That is how you build a big company.
Venture capital is small. It is 0.2% of assets invested in the markets.
Venture backed companies generate 21% of GDP and 61,000,000 private sector jobs.
Venture capital is shrinking. Venture industry is down eighty percent from the peak in 2000.
Venture capitalists like exits just doesn’t like it when it is their own.
Not every successful company needs to be venture backed.
Entrepreneurs need thick skin to pitch.
The biggest challenge to get venture backing is if your opportunity is big enough. Is the market large enough? Is it a winning solution (doesn’t mean it has to be the best technology)? The best technology doesn’t always win.
The user and the buyer are sometimes two different people.
To get in front of a venture capitalist you need an introduction.
Be optimistic but realistic. Confident–not cocky.
You don’t need to start out as an entrepreneur.
Think about whether you’re an entrepreneur or a wantrepreneur. You have to decide if you really have it in you.
You have to own your own success.
Aim high and aim wide.
Speaking up matters.
Make a deposit into the karma bank. They best way to get help is to give it.
Making investments is a very hard thing to do. It is a high risk business.