Great Advice From Brad Feld

My recommendation to all of you entrepreneurs out there is to get off the negative sentiment treadmill, step up, and lead. The people working for your company are likely confused, concerned, and overwhelmed with all the noise in the system. In the near term, building your business will likely be more challenging on a number of dimensions. So what – that’s the normal cycle of business. You don’t need to be a blind optimist and spout happy talk, but you do need to have a clear sense of purpose and goals for your company. Leadership 101. When I look back at the dotcom apocalypse that was 2000 – 2002, I realize some of the best companies I’ve ever been involved in were created during that time. In the midst of this, I remember the endless stream of “the Internet is over” and “the information technology business in now a mature business and there will never be innovation again.” Yeah – whatever. Get some exercise, take a shower, eat a good breakfast, and get out there and build a great business. —Brad Feld – OK Entrepreneurs, It’s Time To Step Up

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Bryan Thatcher

    As an entrepreneur that has run a successful business that has been able to withstand 3 recessions, I have been working with this sentiment in mind for the last 20 years. All business should be run with the idea not to waste for waste sense. get out innovate, innovation is not that expensive, spend as if you are building a company that will survive and create jobs and create growth.Like all things in life if you look at your feet, you will either fall down or run into a wall. Look straight ahead and you will see where you are going. Cheer up and start talking about all the good things that are going on. I’m not saying ignore the markets, but don’t focus on the negative.Cheers

  2. K T Cat

    Great post!

  3. Steven Kane

    Amen.Those who wish to kill themselves, please do so now – and quietly OK? The rest of us are trying to get some work done.

  4. Seth Lieberman

    Exactly the right sentiment. To be sure everyone will be impacted to some degree by the economic turmoil. The only question is what are you going to do about your company, your clients and your world to protect from the downside and try and capture some future upside. I view the current crisis as perhaps the greatest opportunity in 5-7 years to acquire assets on the cheap. Of course things will get better eventually, so now is the time to start too look at what’s for sale, what can you strategically add to your company for pennies instead of dollars, who are key hires that can be plucked from those less fortunate. It’s time to sow the fields, not run for the hills IMHO.

  5. aarondelcohen

    Fred:this is all well and good, but first time entrepreneurs really need to make sure they act on this swiftly and not 6 to 12 months from now. As companies grow, it’s very difficult to maintain their high standards for team members. Every company wonders about whether one person is committed or really adding value.Labor is the highest and most variable costs in most early stage companies. The advice coming from Conway and Sequoia is really good although it’s never fun to hear. Brad’s advice is totally correct, but he very well knows that executing on this advice is challenging. I strongly encourage investors to be highly empathetic, but nevertheless firm with their portfolio companies that acting swiftly is critical. We are rapidly approaching Xmas and I’ve known many entrepreneurs who have carried large payrolls in November and December because they didn’t like the idea of doing something “so close to the holidays.” In 2000, I was one of those entrepreneurs. What’s worse, the sage advice of my investors fell on my inexperienced ears.Act methodically, but swiftly in October in terms of all budget cuts — particularly payroll.

    1. fredwilson

      I agree. I’ve been posting a lot of stuff in the past couple days. My head and my advice is the sum of all of it

  6. Banet

    The vast majority of startups are led by their founders. Founders, by definition, are very creative people. These founders are not, unfortunately, always very good leaders.Is it possible to be a founder and CEO and yet somehow delegate the “leading” to someone else in the organization?http://www.FlashlightWorthy…Recommending books so good, they’ll take your mind off the current market chaos. 😉

    1. fredwilson

      Yes, it happens all the timeWe have several examples of that in our portfolio right nowIt takes a strong partnership to make it work

  7. Michael F. Martin

    First sign of a bottom I’ve seen.

  8. Hayk

    “Confused things/times kindle mind for great inventions” – Leonardo Da VinciEntrepreneurs who keep on going and innovating notwithstanding what happens around them are going to carry on with their initiatives with eventual profitable.

  9. Sanjath

    Thank god for posting this. I have been sick of hearing the gloom talk day-in and day-out. After nearly a decade of so many advancements (OK you can can call it change) in so many different things, people still talk as if the great depression of 1930s is here!. When I look at the gold price (and it’s demand) I shake my head in disbelief that as a civilization we haven’t changed any thing we are always driven by fear. Tell me how useful is gold in a real life scenario!! We dont mind the fact that our decisions based on most popular talking heads will result in exactly the same thing!! there by elevating them to demi-god status!

  10. Sanjath

    In the above comment it should’ve been “… after nearly century from great depression..”

  11. ingilizce eğitim seti

    heer up and start talking about all the good things that are going on. I’m not saying ignore the markets, but don’t focus on the negative.

  12. leafar

    Just coming out the shower. Great day.It’s not about the cheerleader anymore !”Save the technology/innovation, save the world “