10 Key Insights on Startups from Brian Watson

Brian Watson, an associate at venture firm Union Square Ventures, just put up a great post called Post Money Evaluations about his two year experience working one of the tops firms in the country. Here are 10 key insights on startups from his post:

  1. VC is about story recognition. Remember the anecdotes (and how they’re resolved), because history often repeats itself.
  2. Raising money is a trade-off between valuation and control.
  3. Your reputation is everything. Only make an investment if you are committed for the long term.
  4. Operating a company is a balance between doing the right thing (strategy) and doing it right (execution).
  5. Good company culture is when the team feels accountable to each other, implicitly and explicitly.
  6. Being selective — doing less—keeps you focused.
  7. Once you have a core product, the goals should be growth, monetization, and happiness.
  8. When you’re interviewing someone, ask what they don’t/didn’t like at their current/previous job. It gives them a chance to go off on a rant, which can teach you about them and provide insight on whether or not they’re a good fit.
  9. A culture of collaboration is better than a culture of consensus. Get buy-in from the team, use proactive communication, set clear KPIs, and maintain a sense of alignment.
  10. Running a network is like urban planning for the internet. It’s a social engineering problem, not an electrical engineering one.

Go read Brian’s post if you haven’t done so yet as it provides a wealth of information.

What else? What are some other key insights from Brian’s post?

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