Rules I Like

Behind successes there are usually cultures.  Cultures are often based on unwritten rules.  Here are a few I like:
Hat tip to Venture Beat:

Sequoia Capital’s $100 rule — If partners at the big-name venture capital firm arrive late to a meeting with an entrepreneur, even by a minute, they have to donate $100 to charity. Entrepreneur Noah Kagan confirms this with partner Michael Moritz.

I hear that the Tampa Bay Lightning have a their team logo printed on the floor of their dressing room. Anyone who walks on it has to pay $150 (or thereabouts)…I’m not sure where the money goes and I don’t really care.  It’s about respect.

I like these rules.

Bottom Up Financing

Last year I spent a lot of time talking about bottom up marketing.  Looks like we are starting to see a lot of bottom up financing too.  Consider my mesh partner Rob Hyndman – a technology lawyer who sees a lot of companies and ideas well before any VC.  So now he’s put out a call to Toronto angels, and with the fallout from the disintegration of the Toronto venture group, his timing couldn’t be better.

You know a smart VC really ought to partner with Rob.  In the meantime, bottom’s up.

Hey Entrepreneur, Reach Out for Help

I’ve talked about it before, but recognizing when you need guidance is vital – in my opinion this is especially true for entrepreneurs who frequently bear the responsibility of making decisions that affect the rest of the team.

Every few months I find myself wrestling with an important business decision – on what will have impacts long into the future. At times like these I find I am rarely standing on solid ground with respect to making an informed decision. When you think about it, this is not surprising. FreshBooks exists in a fast moving space…relatively speaking, technologies and markets turn on a dime on the web. I like that about what we do, but it also means that I find myself trying to solve problems that have either never been solved before, or have only been solved by a small number of people. Gaining access to those people so you can ask them questions about their experiences is priceless, but not always possible – that’s why I collect advisors and try to cultivate long standing relationships with other entrepreneurs.

If you surround yourself with great people, the trick then becomes swallowing your pride and laying yourself bare and revealing that you don’t know the answer. You may have some ideas, but really what you have are questions. If you have the courage to ask those questions, you’ll find that your advisors can steer you in the right direction. It’s been my experience that the best advisors won’t tell you where to go, but they will keep you from going in the wrong direction, and that’s at least half the battle.

So swallow that pride, and turn to someone you think might help – it might even be your competitor. I’m betting you’ll be amazed at how you will be received.