The Monster In Your Head

Jerry-colonnaI've written before about CEO coaches. I'm a big fan of the work they do and how they can help entrepreneurs work on things that are holding them back from being the best leaders they can be. There are a bunch of CEO coaches I can recommend. But my favorite CEO coach is my former partner at Flatiron Partners Jerry Colonna.

Jerry is a special person. He's had three careers before the age of 50. He's been a hugely successful journalist, venture capitalist, and now CEO coach. At his core he is a "people person." When Jerry and I started Flatiron, I was all about the technology and the deal. Jerry taught me to focus on the people, not only who they are and what they've done, but what makes them tick.

And now Jerry has a blog. He's tried blogging before but has never stuck with it in the past. I hope that's not the case this time because a morning dose of Jerry would be good for all of us.

He calls it The Monster In Your Head. As Cameron, founder of Blogrollr, said to me yesterday "that's a great name for a blog". Yes it is. I suggest you all check it out, not just today but on a regular basis.

Enhanced by Zemanta

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. reece

    now Jerry just needs to get Disqus going…

    1. fredwilson

      i know, i was going to write that in the post, but thought it might come offas shameless promotion of a portfolio company

      1. terrycojones

        Yes, that would be totally out of character!

        1. jerrycolonna

          I know I need Disqus, and a Twitter plug in, and a real RSS feeder…work in progress. Thanks for the patience.

          1. Mark Essel

            That’s one down! Glad to make your acquaintance Jerry

          2. Marilyn Byrd

            Just finished reading your first few blog entries. I like it. Would love to add it as a feed. Good luck with this. There is wisdom here for many.

        2. markslater


        3. fredwilson

          i really do hold myself back!

          1. Mark Essel

            I believe you. I think we mention your portfolio’s at least as much as you do. And most of us don’t hold any shares-> we talk about them because we honestly think they build excellent tools/games.

  2. jerrycolonna

    “Before the age of 50?!?” Sheesh!I’m only 47!Thanks for the kind words, buddy. The core of everything I’ve ever done is connecting with people. Now I’ve built a career around doing the thing I was born to do.

    1. fredwilson

      i know you are only 47, but “before the age of 47” didn’t have the same ringto it

  3. andrerib

    Partners from whom we can learn are the best we can ever have.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s for sure

      1. jerrycolonna

        Just for the record, Fred was (and remains) one of the smartest VCs I’ve ever worked with. He taught me volumes about how to understand an investment’s potential and, more important, how to actually realize that return.

  4. kidmercury

    inspirational, and a people person…..two great signs of a potential blog star

    1. fredwilson

      he could totally kill it if he wants to

    2. jerrycolonna

      You’re too kind. I just hope I can keep it going. I don’t how you guys do this and not lose your minds…Hmmm, that could a good post.

      1. Mark Essel

        One of the best ways for me to wake up is exercise and writing a post to clear my minds cache. Almost always there’s a number of posts or other articles or ideas that are bouncing around in my head and need a quick exit. Posts can be as light or as heavy as you like.

      2. fredwilson

        you have to be obsessed about itmy brother in law jerry wrote about that earlier this week…

  5. Vladimir Vukicevic

    Thank you for passing along this gem Fred. So far I’ve really enjoyed Jerry’s posts. Does he have a sliding scale for the coaching?

    1. fredwilson

      from the “coaching” page on his blog:*How much does it cost?*My rates vary, depending on the work involved. That said I’ve never letprice be an impediment to working with a client.

      1. Vladimir Vukicevic

        Thanks Fred – I should have seen that on his site. The blog definitely offers an insight into Jerry’s potential coaching approach.

  6. Eric Friedman

    Excellent writing so far – looking forward to more from Jerry. Subscribed.

  7. paulmunsch

    Thanks for the recommendation Fred. Jerry, I look forward to reading more.

  8. JordanCooper_NYC

    Exactly what does a CEO coach do? I once had a colleague suggest that if I wanted a coach, the firm would pay for it…i sort of took that to mean “you’re crazy, and we will pay for your therapy,” but then he said that a bunch of the partners at the firm had one…I still don’t know what a CEO coach does….

    1. fredwilson

      think it is as somewhere between a therapist and a mentor

      1. jerrycolonna

        Exactly right. Or think of the Tom Duvall character in The Godfather. “Godfather, it would be best if you considered carefully the consequences of these actions.”Seriously, I think my clients would say they value the fact that I can have some deeper insights into the ways people tick burnished by my experiences as a VC and entrepreneur.

        1. David Semeria

          Tom Hagen: “Do you wanna wipe EVERYONE out?” Michael Corleone: “Only my enemies.”

          1. jerrycolonna

            See? A perfect coaching moment.

          2. David Semeria

            Touchè !And remember: “Hyman Roth always made money for his partners..”

          3. jerrycolonna

            We should develop a whole new meme: Everything I learned about business I learned by watching The Godfather.

          4. David Semeria

            If you were to base your coaching on the Godfather, I promise I would fly in from Europe.Don Corleone: “I have a sentimental weakness for my children and I spoil them, as you can see. They talk when they should listen. …”

          5. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Archbishop Gilday: It seems in today’s world the power to absolve debt is greater than the power of forgiveness.

          6. David Semeria

            Michael Corleone: “That is the price you pay for the life you choose..” (GF3)Very appropriate on AVC.

          7. fredwilson

            you guys crack me up. the AVC gang is in good form today!

          8. Aviah Laor

            The Godfather is the I Ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? ‘Leave the gun, take the cannoli.’ What day of the week is it? ‘Maunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday.’ And the answer to your question is ‘Go to the mattresses.’ You’re at war. ‘It’s not personal, it’s business. It’s not personal it’s business.’ Recite that to yourself every time you feel you’re losing your nerve. I know you worry about being brave, this is your chance. Fight. Fight to the death. (from “you’ve got mail”)

          9. jerrycolonna

            Hmmm. We may have something here. The other model I use is Counselor Deanna Troi from Star Trek TNG…but she’s too damned annoying.

          10. Aviah Laor

            wasn’t Spock the ultimate for this job?

  9. Rob K

    A great executive coach is so valuable. I had wondered what happened to Jerry. Now I know. Congrats Jerry. Will you work with clients in Boston?

    1. jerrycolonna

      As long as they are not Red Sox fans…just kidding. Most of my clients use phone sessions so location isn’t really a problem. Phone, video chat, in person…whatever works.

  10. NicolasVDB

    Fred, you’re doing too good a job promoting it, Jerry’s server can’t take it:HTTP – 500 Internal Server ErrorThe page you are attempting to load returned an error.

    1. fredwilson

      it’s back now. kind of like getting slashdotted or tecchrunched, right?

      1. NicolasVDB

        the ransom of success!I see the site now, thanks. Nice to see you VC and ex-VC guys have a human side too(just kidding)

        1. jerrycolonna

          It’s just a front. A projection. Another shadow on the wall. We’re really just blood-sucking creatures of the night.

      2. kidmercury

        lol, c’mon now boss, i think it’s a bit better than being techcrunched

  11. Bob Armour

    Thanks for the referral to Jerry’s blog. His posts are spot on. Jerry- be sure to take Fred’s advice and post regularly!

  12. Andrew Warner

    By the way, here’s a clip of Jerry telling me why you guys decided to partner up:

    1. fredwilson

      “He cancelled because he had forgotten it was his daughter’s graduation from kindergarten. His daughter, by the way, is now at Wesleyan. And what moved me was, this is a guy whose values are in the same place as me. He was going to cancel a business lunch with a potential partner so that he could go to his daughter’s kindergarten graduation, and that’s the moment when I knew he was my partner.”yup, true story. makes me feel old though.

      1. jerrycolonna

        and this is really when I knew we’d great partners.

        1. David Semeria

          Great video. Great values.

          1. jerrycolonna

            Great questions from Andrew.

  13. bijan

    I’ve never met Jerry in person but we have a few very good mutual friends so i hope to change that and meet him soon.been following him on twitter for some time now and now following this blog.

    1. kidmercury

      i kinda miss the guitar avatar…..that was more fun. now you gone all serious on us, sepia colors and stuff. but of course, so long as you’re following your heart, it’s all good.

      1. bijan

        You r so right. I need to change that pic. That was my serious 2009 phase 🙂

  14. Scott Gatz

    It really is an amazing name for a blog. I think often the stuff that holds us back is that voice in our head that says we can’t do something. I’ve got a few of my own that have clearly gotten in my way and I’ve often thought of finding a coach like Jerry. I admire people that can help someone break through (or at least workaround) those barriers.

    1. jerrycolonna

      Thanks for the compliment. I think Hugh MacLeod’s drawing is spot on, as well.

      1. fredwilson

        hugh is a genius. i was having a drink with him and he grabbed a business card and drew possibly my favorite work of art in our home in about one minute

        1. jerrycolonna

          I completely agree. His Cube Grenade (and arguably I had two done) for my business card…the Now What? graphic to define what it is I do…was brilliant. And then I commissioned the piece for The Monster. It pulled it all together for me.

  15. Jon Knight

    Thanks Fred – now there’s Another list to read through.I love it.

  16. ShanaC

    There seems to be a bit of a spiritual influence in his book choices with an emphasis on mindfulness, hmmm. Do you think Jerry recommends meditation?Good luck though!

    1. jerrycolonna

      Jerry absolutely recommends meditation. It saved his sanity.

      1. ShanaC

        *giggle* Sorry the the third person made me laugh.Any particular kind of meditation or meditational practice? Or justmeditate?

        1. fredwilson

          oh no, this disqus thread is now going into a long discussion of meditation.:)

          1. ShanaC

            🙂 We shall see. Besides, don’t you do yoga?

          2. fredwilson

            used toi’ve fallen out of that habiti’d like to get back to it

        2. jerrycolonna

          [wink} just meditate. or try yoga. anything that allows you to see what the Buddhist call the Chattering Monkey Mind. For me, meditation helps me realize that my mind (and importantly my thoughts) are not the sum total of my existence (as much as my ego would loooove it to be).It’s often said we practice meditation (or yoga) not for what happens on the cushion (or the mat) but what happens off it. I highly recommend Jack Kornfield’s recording: Meditation for Beginners

          1. ShanaC

            I forgot to say thank you for your recommendations.

          2. jerrycolonna

            You’re welcome. I’ just finished Pema Chodron’s latest book, Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears…which reminds me that recommend nearly everything she’s written or recorded. I think she also has a meditation for beginners type recording on iTunes.

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Good to see/meet you here, Jerry – looking forward to getting to know you, as it were.

        1. jerrycolonna

          glad to meet you too. Fred, I’ve now dislodged you as Mayor of your own blog.

          1. David Semeria

            JLM already has that badge.

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            You guys – it’s late at night, I’m tired, yet I’m feeling strangely compelled to get The Godfather DVD box-set out. My wife’s already shaking her head and hiding away the red wine …

          3. David Semeria

            Do it Carl ! Best two films in the world. Only equaled by the BBC’s adaptation of Tinker Taylor.

          4. awaldstein

            Just rewatched the series this week. Godfather One is a perfect movie.Going to follow through with the theme and move on to the Jewish Gangsta saga “Once Upon A Time In America” next.

          5. Aviah Laor

            Well, these guys figured out how to form decent market barriers

          6. awaldstein

            :)A truly great comment Aviah.

          7. David Semeria

            Another great film. I would say it’s not a proper gangster movie, though – it’s so introspective.It’s more of an exploration of regret.

          8. awaldstein

            Well stated David.It is more of a meditation…but a telling one that sticks with me.

          9. Carl Rahn Griffith

            OK, David, twist my arm. Here we go – just one cheeky glass worth of GF1 beckons. You can explain to my wife, Helen, lol.Do you reckon David could handle Helen, Fred? 😉

          10. fredwilson

            i doubt it. she’s quite a handful.

          11. David Semeria

            You paint a very scary picture Carl. Hell hath no fury like a woman who doesn’t want to watch the Godfather for the 27th time…

          12. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Well, she did buy me the DVD box-set a few years ago, to replace my won out video box-set, so she only has herself to blame :-)A bigger challenge is getting her to watch Sheffield Wednesday – now that’s scary! 😉

          13. David Semeria

            Now that’s going too far.

  17. jerrycolonna

    [wink} just meditate. or try yoga. anything that allows you to see what the Buddhist call the Chattering Monkey Mind. For me, meditation helps me realize that my mind (and importantly my thoughts) are not the sum total of my existence (as much as my ego would loooove it to be).It’s often said we practice meditation (or yoga) not for what happens on the cushion (or the mat) but what happens off it. I highly recommend Jack Kornfield’s recording: Meditation for Beginners

  18. karen_e

    I’m getting kind of weepy from some of these comments. It must have been the kindergarten graduation story that put me over the edge. Jeez, guys.

    1. fredwilson

      blame it on jerry. he brings out the tears just by showing up.

      1. Aviah Laor

        you can tell by his picture

  19. slsblog

    I’m glad to hear your point of view on CEO coaches. As a young entrepreneur of a company I hope will be in the public’s eye within a few years, I have strongly considered someone like this. Quick question for you — what is the difference between a “speech coach”, or someone who can help you with every aspect of public speaking including tone of voice, pronunciation, etc, and a full-fledged CEO coach? Does the CEO coach also assist with things like tone and pronunciation, or is it strictly more of a strategic role?

    1. fredwilson

      a good coach can do it all. public speaking is largely about confidence and practice. the practice is something you’ll have to do yourself. the confidence is something a coach can help a lot with.

  20. William Mougayar

    And I always thought the Monster was Under the Bed…, ref: book by Stan Davis, 1993.

  21. Gary Whitehill

    Fred, thank you very much for this post.The inner critic is something I’ve personally struggled with throughout my entrepreneurial endeavours. Without the guidance and structure of the executive coach I was fortunate enough to be able to hire – not sure where I’d be.Three books which really helped to wrap my head around the psychology of the inner critic were:- Embracing Your Inner Critic: Turning Self-Criticism into a Creative Asset – Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life- The Moral Animal

  22. Bob Rosenschein

    Go Jerry!

  23. jerrycolonna

    The secret “evil plan” (thanks Hugh, aka @Gapingvoid) is to turn all this blogging into a book.

  24. greenskeptic

    That’s a great idea. Looking forward to the blog — you do realize there is a problem with the URL right now. Can’t imagine the traffic you’re losing, might want to check it out. “Server taking Too Long to Respond” at http://www.themonsterinyour

  25. Mark Essel

    It’s a great way to get started. But be careful, I took an easy out, put out a quick 50 page pdf, and never thought about reorganizing another (I’ve written about 270 posts after book one). I’m too busy working on a business to think about editing write now. The great part about blogging is, that you can always go back and organize your thoughts. I hope that Fred puts together a book covering some of his historic blogging (I haven’t caught up on years before 2008).oh yeah, Hugh rocks! Just met Mr. Macleod last year. I’m hoping to get some of cube grenades as soon as I can scratch together some coins.

  26. JeremiahKane

    It is interesting how the idea of an executive coach has really evolved. How a role that is common in many areas, sports and I would argue politics (under a different name), emerged so slowly in business. Something that had been done informally and intermittently, by mentors and family, becomes professionalized – driven in part by a larger shift in the economy to knowledge driven jobs at all levels of the organization.

  27. ShanaC

    Yup. Weird Public-Private issues.