Video Of The Week: Talking VC With Mark Suster

Mark asked me to come on his TV show before leaving LA and I did that last week. It is an hour long broad ranging conversation about the venture capital and startup business.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

    1. fredwilson

      i really dislike shaving so the stubbly thing is pretty common. i usually shave before public things but i forgot this time

      1. William Mougayar

        I dislike shaving too because I have a tough beard on soft skin, so I often bleed, but less if I space them out. I shave every 2-4 days if I can. I rarely shave on successive days. What is your reason?

        1. pointsnfigures

          Try an old single edge blade. I switched a couple of years ago and like it a lot better

          1. William Mougayar

            I remember my Dad using those. They are sharper than a machete.

          2. John Revay

            Dollar Shave club

          3. Matt A. Myers

            More cheaper razors means more shaving, no? 😛

          4. JLM

            .I remember being in Korea in the early 70s — middle of winter — shaving in a mountain stream with a helmet full of soapy cold water and a single edge razor just like that.There were single edge and double edge razors in the day.If it had been a combat zone, I would have received a Purple Heart as I cut myself about ten times.I wouldn’t use that razor without a blade.Do you use it to shave your head?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. pointsnfigures

            I can, and have. Not all the time. I use it to shave my face. Closer, gentler, and cheaper. It does take about 5 min more time.

          6. Matt A. Myers

            Hm. Probably doesn’t pull out the hair as much before cutting it?

        2. fredwilson

          it’s time i don’t want to spend

          1. LE

            Same here. The other thing about shaving is that you can’t rush it without getting bad results or a bad outcome. So there is no way to speed it up like you can with other things (like showering or even brushing your teeth).

          2. PhilipSugar

            Totally the same.

      2. JimHirshfield

        You look relaxed.Welcome back to the east coast.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Hopefully he keeps up the yoga. We can recommend him some good instructors. 🙂

        2. LE

          You missed this: “the stubbly thing is pretty common”.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Missed? How so?

          2. LE

            An opportunity to make a joke.

      3. John Revay

        Thought you looked a little like Howard Lindzon sporting the stubbly look.Thought it was a west coast thing.

  1. William Mougayar

    I watched it earlier in the week and enjoyed it. Curious, when did you start recommending a 12 months runway raise for a seed round? And when do you break that rule?

    1. fredwilson

      i believe i’ve been recommending that for as long as i’ve been getting asked that question. we don’t make the decision on how much runway a company decides to raise. so we don’t break the rule per se. the founders make that call not us.

      1. William Mougayar

        That’s a longer discussion, but if you gave a certain valuation, then you limit their raise potential, unless they want to get diluted further.Dilution, raise $ and valuation are intricately related, in addition to the psychology of how bad you want a particular deal.

        1. Richard

          There seems to be a lot of discussion on the potential effects of the poorly performing large A/Seed raise on future valuations , but little on using dilution to tamper / hedge against a large Seed/A round.

          1. William Mougayar

            Right. It’s good for the VC, as it limits their potential downside, but they have the option to double-down on the way up.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Raising funds takes a fair amount of dedicated attention/time, why is it better to have someone focusing on that after say only 6-9 months, vs. having full attention on project for 12-15 months or longer?Is there something inherent in the process that makes it valuable (as opposed to the end result), like forcing accurate gathering of information (and implementing such systems), and presenting the best new holistic view and roadmap?Just curious what specific values are gained during that process, vs. someone with a longer runway. Thanks!

        1. fredwilson

          it’s about keeping everyone on a short leash

          1. awaldstein

            The tension between a short leash and not having the runway to make smart business decisions is as grey a broad stroke as they get.

          2. JLM

            .It is a dangerous clash between the interests of an entrepreneur and a funder. It could not possibly be clearer.It is like a chicken taking counsel from a guy named Col Sanders.There is a bubble about to burst out there and the days of easy money will be a memory shortly. Get as much as you can for as long as you can.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. fredwilson

            “a chicken taking counsel from Colonel Sanders”that’s fantasticreminds me of this from the Grimster

          4. awaldstein

            at one point i was fine with sleeping with someone that can go either way.honestly at this stage in my career, i demand the leeway. if i don’t get it, i just walk away.

          5. LE

            People that are younger are better able to deal with the stress and uncertainty of not having that leeway. Plus they aren’t particularly experienced in the area of knowing what they are able to demand or negotiate for, in a subtle nuanced way that is. Anyone can try to be a hard ass but being a hard ass requires the finesse of knowing where the limits are. It’s a seat of the pants thing.

          6. Matt A. Myers

            If they’re able to see what you’re doing and trust that things will be executed in the right way, without being rushed – and they value that – then why not. If they’ve been an entrepreneur too I imagine they can have compassion that it takes a long long time to get good moment on a ball moving uphill on a teeter-totter.

          7. awaldstein

            Change understanding for compassion and I agree.Here’s the rub Matt.You are raising funds for something yoga related I think.And the Yoga market is what $20-40B a year in the states cross everything, cross multiple channels?You can show understanding regardless of your pedigree.I would hand you a handful of markers in front of a wall sized whiteboard and spend a hour and have you draw out the market for me from your point of view. And where you are playing in it and why.That’s exactly the litmus test that was fostered on me the first few raises and big gigs and it is a fair one.

          8. Matt A. Myers

            I’d love to do that. 🙂 Perhaps I should practice doing that.

          9. awaldstein

            You just really need to understand your market and sell your idea against your ability to execute in, around, or through that market.We all need a plan–thank you @JLM:disqus We really do.Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the face–thank you Mike TysonWhat carries through is a core understanding of your value and a internalized understanding of the market you are selling into.Simple–no?

          10. Donna Brewington White

            This is good. And what @jlm:disqus has been impressing on me in our coaching sessions.

          11. awaldstein

            JLM is a maven.

          12. Donna Brewington White

            Interesting choice of metaphor. But the relationship probably warrants it.

          13. LE

            There is a bubble about to burst out there and the days of easy money will be a memory shortly.I think you need to firm up that prediction a bit.What is the exact, or roughly estimated, time frame that it will burst?What is the exact way that we will know the burst has happened? (This isn’t pregnancy). What will be the demarcation point?

          14. PhilipSugar

            You must be thinking of Kentucky today. Colonel Sanders was in fact a Kentucky Colonel.

          15. John Revay


          16. awaldstein

            #smartstartup is something that every #leanstartup isn’t all the time.

          17. LE

            having the runway to make smart business decisionsAgree. Along the same lines I have observed many people in the traditional business world (and in life in general) never loose that cheapness that prevents them from spending money. [1] So they end up making stupid business or life decisions (not spending money when they should) even when they don’t need to do so anymore in order to hold on to as many of the marbles that they can.[1] It becomes a perversion of the reward system. They get pleasure from not spending money. And each time they save a buck or don’t spend their brain chemistry gets pinged with reward chemicals that say “good job!”.

          18. Donna Brewington White

            That is a very real tension. Not enough funding or the fear of not enough can be debilitating. Although short leash probably means enough for survival but needing to be very judicious.But would ample resources potentially allow much larger perspective and vision? While still managing resources judiciously.I wonder how much of this is due to maturity, experience and discipline and the typical age/experience level of founders. A more seasoned business leader may be able to self-discipline and not need as short a leash.

          19. awaldstein

            Here’s the rub Donna.We all need gates to step through, coaches to help us get there and checks and balances. And trusted partners to hash out decisions with.If you don’t trust your CEO at a level above the fold, don’t fund them. And equally it is not the VC’s job to manage them at that level.And I like step funding as well. If you’ve done it and have experience you understand that you spend resources differently at each phase of growth and to me board meetings were that mirror to be real to what is happening. And reallocate appropriately.What I object to is language that implies that capital is like an allowance that you earn in pieces.Simply not a reality I”m interested in playing in. And not a healthy way to build a market.

          20. Matt A. Myers

            So to motivate and incentivize for focus and working hard/quickly.

          21. JLM

            .The truth and an insight into a VC’s motivations. Well said.Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          22. PhilipSugar

            One question on this as it seemed to spark a bunch of discussion.When you say raise seed for 12 months, is this assuming that if you hit milestones you have commitment from the seed investors to fund the Series A? If so I see the logic. Because then what you are saying is as long as you build what you say you will you have more than two years to prove it works before going out into the marketplace to raise money.However if you have to go out into the marketplace to raise money after 12 months I don’t see it.

          23. fredwilson

            We have never in our 12 year history not followed a seed with another round. Not once. That said, I would never commit to do that in writing

          24. PhilipSugar

            Yes, I knew that. It is a really, really important point you should make. Because the majority (from what I’ve seen) of seed round investors cannot/will not/might not if the economy changes, follow on.I understand you would never commit in writing for many reasons, but actions speak louder than words.

        2. William Mougayar

          Fred explains that in the video- it’s also about making the right decisions and focusing on the right things. with more money, you think you can do more things, but maybe that’s not the right things.

          1. awaldstein

            of course nothing is right till after its proven so.under budgeting and single focus short leash campaigns are great for top down control and a nightmare from an operational perspective if couched to tightly.

          2. William Mougayar

            it depends. if it’s the first money in, and it enables you to finally do what you’ve been constrained in doing previously, then all that matters is that you can show good progress in those 12 months. VCs that put you on a short leash are ready to give you more money and increase the length of the leash, as soon as you show that you have done well initially.

          3. awaldstein

            Reminds me of one of my favorite poems from William Carlos Williams:”so much depends upona red wheel barrowglazed with rain waterbeside the white chickens”Says kinda the same thing.

          4. awaldstein

            Have to say William, that this language speaks to the funders being in control, that capital much more so than the execution of the idea in an entrepreneurs efforts are where the true value lie.I think of this as much more of a partnership than something that sounds like a loan from a bank.We all need checks and balances, we all need a reporting structure. We do reach a point that we longer need a parent nor do we want to build the future based on the approvals of others. The most important thing for the entrepreneur is to carefully preserve some control cause if things ain’t perfect, which they never are, you need a longer leash not a tighter collar.

          5. LE

            that capital much more so than the execution of the idea in an entrepreneurs efforts are where the true value lie.You have to keep in mind that many of the people making the funding or money decisions have never gotten involved in the nitty gritty of actually spending that money and making something happen. Consequently they simply don’t have the feel to even understand what it is all about on an intuitive level. To them it’s one big mashup.Imagine if you had a restaurant and the money guy didn’t understand enough to know that you don’t save money by hiring a chef based on price. While that is an outrageous example decisions in business involve many factors and are complex. And it’s not possible for someone not in the thick to have a reasonable feel many times for where money should or should not be spent. So what they will do is just issue a broad “spend less” … often with unfortunate results.

          6. PhilipSugar

            You are on fire today. Many great comments. This was my favorite.

          7. awaldstein

            Thanks!Raising funds through public or private sources, and executing against budgets to build brands and markets is the sum total of my career.It’s a wonderful thing when it works.Been super fortunate and it’s fun to share what I’ve learned.

          8. PhilipSugar

            I think too many people have not experienced what its like when it doesn’t work out. The favorite part of the comment was the last paragraph: cause if things ain’t perfect…..

          9. LE

            As a general rule, I hate people who try to manage by numbers as the incentive to try and get things done. It flies against the creative process.

          10. awaldstein

            I did M & A for a public company, reporting into the CEO and Board and they just kicked me up and down on numbers.What i did was recruit the CFO to be my partner, ran the numbers from A to Z, then said–trust me regardless.They did for a long while.

          11. LE

            It’s possible also that that at least part of the pressure [1] is designed to be faux in a way and force the “child” to really think before they do something that might get “daddy” angry. What i did was recruit the CFO to be my partner, ran the numbers from A to Z, then said–trust me regardless.That’s a scary bet to make especially when you are working for someone else and you only have to be wrong one time to loose all credibility!What’s funny is that when negotiating for people they almost never tell me their true budget (which is fine doesn’t bother me). They give some number that is roughly 80% to 50% of what they want to spend (arbitrary to illustrate a point). That false number is based on two things I have found. One, the short leash. Two, they aren’t even aware themselves of what they want to spend until they are actually confronted with a real decision.Same psychology goes when someone is selling something and stating a “minimum offer”. Or an asking price.[1] The “short leash” that Fred talks about that is.

          12. Matt A. Myers

            To know what you’re willing to pay for something you need to know how many resources you have available, what your priorities are, and how valuable that asset is to you now vs. long-term or in future vs. weighing against other possibilities.You also need a pressure, that impetus or incentive to invest – or you have no reason to put that mental energy into a more complex decision.

          13. awaldstein

            I’m at peace with my decisions, good or bad.I learned business not from mentors of VC but as a direct report to a handful of the most brilliant and challenging people imaginable early i the valley.I early learned that I would find a different way but I learned enormous amounts from them. Primarily above all the tricks and tips that without founded self confidence, you’ve got nothing.That’s what I carry forward.

          14. Matt A. Myers

            Absolutely. If you’re putting energy into creativity and implementation, that energy isn’t directed towards growth – though that creativity and implementation then (and hopefully) leads to efficiencies which inherently leads to faster growth without more energy – and that value is created for the long term.

          15. Matt A. Myers

            If you have $100k per month for 12 months ($1.2mm) vs. $100k per month for 24 months … you still have the same capital to work with, and you still should have the same priorities. If you haven’t figured out your priorities to focus on then I don’t think you should be raising money. Certain things and priorities can be known, and others will have to evolve to be known as you build and scale a company – not having the money for the unknown of what might be a valid and very good/valuable expense to have after 12 months.A good question for entrepreneurs/teams/founders to ask themselves is: If I only had half the money I have now, what would I do?

          16. JLM

            .Very astute observation but really at some point, we should be able to run our businesses lean regardless of how much money we have on hand.Wait until you have massive positive cash flow — then you can really screw things up.We rarely make mistakes when we are broke.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. pointsnfigures

    This was a very good interview with some basic building block points. Core to startup businesses, and VC.

  3. Mario Cantin

    Mark has made this interview of you into more of a biography. It’s good to “mix it up”. That was very informative in a multi-faceted way.It was particularly interesting for me as you and I are close to being the same age, and I was drawing a parallel in my mind about our respective paths at various junctions in time.The best way to put it is that, financially at least, you took the elevator and I took the stairs — a stark reminder…

    1. fredwilson

      they lead to the same place eventually

  4. Tom Labus

    Looks great. Welcome back to NYC and some snow this aftrernoon.

    1. JLM

      .It will be 82F with a slight chance of snow in the ATX today. Sunscreen will be the order of the day.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Tom Labus

        You’re a cruel man, Jeff

        1. JLM

          .Tommy –It is one of my worst flaws — weather cruelty. But then again, there is August.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. John Revay

    I saw this 3 min clip come across one of my feeds earlier this week.Favor – can you list ownership give-up (dilution) at each one of the stagesre: Seed round – $ 1M (should last 12 months) – is it 10% at this round.I recall you once this general MBA Mondays post – where you talked about simple metricsRounds / Dilution / head countIt would be great to get that again.

    1. fredwilson

      my general guidance is:don’t dilute more than 20% and less that 10% each time you raise money raise 12 months in the seedraise 18 months in the A&Braise 24 in the C and beyond

      1. William Mougayar

        So suppose you seed raise 1M on 4M (that’s the first 20%), then suppose you need 2M for the next 18 months after that, at 10% dilution, the startup needs to be valued at 18M. Is going from 4M to 18M in 12 months realistic?

        1. fredwilson

          well you might have to give up 20% for that $2mmthat’s why there is a range in my guidance

        2. awaldstein

          why not?forget premium and think about revenue based startups.first million is a kpi for market fit raised at 4m. 12 monthns later you are running towards 3.5+ with contracts in a wide open market.not such stretch to me.

          1. William Mougayar

            easier said than done ;)what if the first 12 months don’t have a revenue expectation.

          2. awaldstein

            I know, I’m biased, as I like revenue as there is nothing more pure than a transaction to understand engagement.Here’s where I come out on all of this:The biggest wins as an investor come when you can invest in the possibilities pre revenue in a broad based model for certain.And for many models transactions aren’t part of that–Freemium for example.But we build stuff in phases and in each phase past MVP, the only thing that matters is market touch points.Raising capital is pure sales of the future and it is your job as the entrepreneur to build to and articulate and prove those touch points ahead of need.Be it revenue or Rai stones ;)If you can’t quantify success at each stage you can’t sell who you are and should think hard about whether you understand what you are doing.

      2. John Revay

        I was fortunate enough to make it to the MBA- Monday live event that Fred did at USV a few years ago.He was working the painted White board in the room like a mad professor….and talked about dilution/rounds etc.I think the math he ended up with at the end of the day (prior to a liquidating event) was:Founders – 20%Employees (option, early hires etc) – 40%Investors – 40%

      3. awaldstein

        right out of a raise i’m working on now.the 20%/12 month rule is a great one across any situation.had this discussion with @wmoug:disqus and this came out as well.

      4. Patrick Browne

        as a founder who is bootstrapping and solely focused on building a product and proving that what i am building will work before raising any outside capital, this is an incredibly helpful guide…honestly (and maybe embarrassingly?), i had no idea what a rule of thumb would be for amount of capital to raise & how much of the company to sell in exchange for the capital when the time is right to raise that first round… thanks!

  6. jerrycolonna

    I love this conversation…especially the whole dialogue about the ways in which the investor/director can be a “coach” coupled with Fred’s astute observation that that relationship is loaded, complicated. It’s relieving to me to see both of you really dive deep on the importance of understanding and working with the specific teams in front of you, understand that team’s needs and serve them (I know, it’s radical to think of the VC as a servant.) I also loved the understanding of the impact of new VCs looking to “get notches in their belt.” Conversations like these are super helpful for entrepreneurs. Thanks to you both.

    1. fredwilson

      i’m watching it right now and enjoying it!

    2. Erin

      Wow, the VC as a servant. interesting.

      1. jerrycolonna

        Just an extension of the servant leader model. Those whose egos are healthy (i.e., under control) know that they win when everyone wins. A good director knows they are obligated to put the company ahead of their self interest.

        1. Erin

          Radical. Those who are most “present” to their reactions (ie. aware of their internal state) are the leaders in the room- that’s a conversation that happens in Buddhist/spiritual/personal developement circles- I didn’t know it had made its way into the VC arena.

          1. jerrycolonna

            Well it’s been a while since I was a VC but this Buddhist ex-VC sees it that way.

          2. Erin

            What you add to the conversation is appreciated.

          3. jerrycolonna

            Thanks. I find this community to be lively, thoughtful, engaging and fun. I wish I could participate more.

  7. JLM

    .This is a great watch and there is a huge amount of accumulated wisdom in it. I enjoyed it. Thank you.I would caution that as in any discussion, it addresses things from a particular perspective and it serves that perspective to the exclusion of alternative views. Nothing wrong with that at all.Two things I would caution entrepreneurs about.A Board and a VC has a particular function — to act as fiduciaries for the shareholders and their LPs. I say this because an entrepreneur/founder/CEO has to have a certain respect and distance in the relationship.When a CEO gets fired, he is going to be fired by the Board so the notion of confiding in a Boardmember or a VC is arguably something to be considered very carefully. Don’t get paranoid just be prudent.As to money, Fred Wilson speaks the truth when he says a small pot of money keeps the entrepreneur/founder/CEO and the company on a “short leash”.Who is holding that leash? Whose interest is being served?I would counsel fundraisers to ask for and get as much as you can — not hog wild but where someone counsels 12 months, I counsel 24. A bit more not sloppy but prudent.The combination of a short leash — which means a frugal supply of money which requires the entrepreneur/founder/CEO and the company to get its kneepads on and its tin cup out and to seek money again — and a Board/VCs whose interest is not yours makes a thoughtful CEO seek to serve his and the company’s interests first and not secondarily.This is just common sense in the confrontation between adverse interests — adverse interests does not imply warfare just that the interests may diverge on some points. These two points are examples that are obvious.In 33 years of CEOing and in my coaching of CEOs today, I have seen this countless times and every time has resolved itself like the law of freakin’ gravity.One of the arguments for having a CEO coach — someone who actually has been a CEO — is the ability to confide in someone who cannot fire you when you expose your innermost thoughts. CEO coaches do not fire CEOs, Boards do. VCs like to control Boards.This is not intended in any way to suggest that a VC does not have, initially, your best interests at heart. Initially. It is what happens thereafter when that short leash is jerked up tight and you find out the greatest maxim of business — there is no substitute for money and the money makes the rules.When the fates of the entrepreneur/founder/CEO are wedded perfectly, it is a beautiful thing. When they are not, as is often the case, then you must be prepared to deal with it. Seek and follow your own counsel.Fred Wilson is perfectly honest in his utterance that he likes a “short leash” — hats off for that honesty. Consider the implications, not to argue with it but to prepare for it.One last thought, in all things related to money today consider the possibility that when the bubble bursts there will be a barren desert on the fundraising front for a year or two. We are very, very close. Be careful and do not dawdle. In every thought about money, think about bridging the desert.This is advice from a guy who was exposed to hundreds of millions of floating rate debt when the prime crested above 20%. I earned those scars and I survived only because I had a ready source of funding.BTW, I think Kentucky should invoke the Mercy Rule. Why not?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Thank you for voicing the position without bias. If only we didn’t butt heads I would consider you for a CEO coach, though I’m happy to learn from your CEO lessons abroad and in public.The “short leash” metaphor reminds me of a situation I don’t want to be in, and that situation is what the Squarespace founder said in the Small Empires episode covering his company. That was mainly that he was making bad decisions when he was stressed, and when he wasn’t as stressed that he could hire well/smartly, while not having to do everything himself.As a CEO it’s good to be in the grind but you have to be able to step back to breath, reflect, and be a leader/a guide. There’s a lot of thinking, decision making, and creativity that must occur and good decision making in my experience doesn’t happen when feeling like you must make a decision when you’re not ready; if you make a bad hire because you need someone “right away” vs. finding them in 3 months, the cost of that bad hire will far outweigh that 3 months of time.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        I’m three sessions in Matt and it’s pretty amazing. His wealth of knowledge is exhilarating. You might want to at least try an intro session.I’m assuming that you mean butting heads over non-business related issues?

      2. JLM

        .Mattie, Mattie, Mattie — let me give you a free consult.When trying to get better at anything don’t seek out the counsel of people who are unwilling to challenge you and to create sufficient friction to find the character within.Many times the process is uncomfortable because you have to stretch your comfort zone. That discomfort is called growing pains.Here’s the big secret — it is in everyone and the difference between the best and the worst is really not very much. You can do it if you get the right training.The difference between Special Forces and any elite military unit is the training — and the standards to which the training is going to be tested.A CEO will never, ever operate in a safe harbor. That is the antithesis of the journey. You leave the harbor and spread your sails and ride the market winds.What you can do is make decisions in a programmed manner that ensures all the alternatives are considered, all the alternatives are costed, you seek advice of others who have done the same thing. You then make the best decision you can possibly make.It is really that simple.To those who curse the fact that they had to make decisions in difficult times and under stress — tough shit, that’s the way the world actually works. It IS a graded exercise. Use the same methodology and make the best decision you can and don’t beat yourself up.The ultimate example of this is to see who is good at soldiering which requires young officers to make decisions under very difficult conditions. Surprisingly, it is not the big studs who do well at this, it is the thoughtful people.Read a biography of LTG Troy Middleton — the guy who made the decision in WWII to hold Bastogne in the face of the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge.Arguably the best Corps Commander in the war. He was a former President of LSU and yet he was so thoughtful and sound as a commander when he told Eisenhower he could hold Bastogne long enough for the Allies to turn and pinch off the penetration, Eisenhower respected him so much he simply said: “Troy said he can hold Bastogne. Now let’s figure out what we can do.”As a CEO, you will make a myriad of decisions that you would like to do over or to reconsider. It doesn’t work that way but you can still make infinitely better decisions by using the same methodology every single time.It is discipline and it is easy to do.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. Salt Shaker

      Re: Kentucky & the Mercy Rule: Recruiting tactics by Kentucky, which has become an incubator and feeder for the NBA, damage the spirit and integrity of the college game (if there truly is such a thing any more). You can’t institute a salary cap w/ amateur sports, like w/ MLB, but schools that don’t graduate their student-athletes should be penalized by a formula that leads to a reduction in scholarships. Perhaps it’s graduation rates over a rolling 3 year period.The institution’s obligation to provide an education to student-athletes has been diminished in pursuit of the all mighty dollar, all fueled by escalating TV rights fees, illicit recruiting tactics, meddling alum, etc. Yes, athletics has become big business, but institutional integrity is important, too. Moreover, if a student-athlete opts to go pro before graduating, which certainly is their prerogative, they should have a binding obligation to reimburse the institution for tuition/fees accrued to date.Kentucky could have 5+ players in this year’s NBA draft. Admittedly, they are outliers. Nonetheless, when you stack the deck w/out any regard for institutional integrity, that should come at a price.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        The whole way through this I was trying to understand the metaphor…

        1. Salt Shaker

          No metaphor, just a statement on college athletics and KY basketball in response to JLM’s last sentence. Hmmm, perhaps there’s a trans-border disconnect 🙂

      2. Dave Pinsen

        You lost me at “spirit and integrity of the college game”.

        1. Salt Shaker

          Why, cause you believe there isn’t any? I’d like to believe there still is, certainly at a fundamental level. The NCAA is a seriously dysfunctional, antiquated org, but it’s not beyond repair.

      3. JLM

        .I find the submission of the collective university and college Presidents to the NCAA to be one of the biggest head fakes in the history of mankind.The NCAA only exists because college presidents were unwilling to discipline their own employees, the coaches.Now it has almost a billion dollars in annual revenue, almost $100 million in profits and $600MM in assets.It was founded in 1906 by Teddy Roosevelt though there is a lot of folklore that has been bastardized since that time.The idea that the NCAA and colleges for that matter can use the talents and work of these student athletes for their own uncompensated business objectives is obscene. A college player’s likeness can be kidnapped and his jersey can be sold, etc.All of this to say — college athletes should be able to be paid while playing. Legally and not by boosters.I am tempted to organize a work stoppage — let the Final Four championship teams sit at half court for fifteen minutes while the cameras roll in protest.Anybody else in?Of course, I will be seizing control and paying myself $2,000,000 per year to run the deal. I am a capitalist.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Salt Shaker

          No question the NCAA has been derilict; a truly dysfunctional, antiquated org that has yet to evolve. I have no prob compensating student-athletes, it’s the right thing to do, and it should come right off the top of broadcast/cable/sat TV rights fees. Not all universities are in a position to directly compensate their student athletes. Certainly the major D-1 schools are, but a lot mid-major and lower tiered schools are not in that financial position, in part, cause the whole educational biz model is a mess (that’s a whole diff, yet related, topic.).That said, KY basketball will become an unintended embarrassment come draft day when an unprecedented number of non-graduate student-athletes are drafted. Yeah, KY is a storied program, I get that, but if I’m the school’s Chancellor (or Mark Emmert of the NCAA for that matter) I’m gonna be scratching my head a bit.The tail is wagging the dog here and schools also need to be held accountable when these “one and done” types come through their system. Scholarships are a privilege and one’s commitment to graduation should be a condition of acceptance. Sure, a student-athlete can opt out, but not without consequences, such as accrued tuition reimbursement.If KY wins a national championship it will add to Adolph Rupp’s and the program’s legacy, but IMO it does so at a cost to the university and college athletics in general.Btw, I’ve got ND in an upset.

          1. JLM

            .I will have to put the mojo on ND as they beat my beloved Tarheels in the ACC tourney.What a story — they took Carolina and Duke in two days. Wow!The coach’s story is one for the ages. Mom dying, etc.Good luck to Notre Dame. I spent a lot of time praying for them when I went to Catholic school — mostly football.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. JLM

            .Almost pulled it off. Hard to believe ND did not win. What a perfect game plan.Good call by you. That close.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Salt Shaker

            Thanks, I’m bummed though. Still don’t know why ND didn’t double down on KY’s center. He was killing them down low. This game wrecked my pool. Always next year 🙂 KY will beat WI easily.

          4. PhilipSugar

            edit your contact info out. I thought AZ could beat WI, wow lights out on the threes.

          5. Salt Shaker

            Jeez, thanks for that. Not sure how that happened. I thought going in ND was the only team that could beat KY. We’ll see, though I think KY will beat WI. They have no interior defense.

          6. JLM

            .That was the only thing to question about ND’s game plan. College coaches are reluctant to use the “Hack a Shaq” defense and make the center beat them from the foul line.It requires a bit of platooning and someone — a lesser player, an expendable player — to use all their fouls.If all those points were transferred to the foul line, then maybe Towns misses a few and the game turns out differently. It is interesting to note that Towns shot 10-13 from the field and 5-6 from the line so maybe it was just his day.The other thing is that the last shot should have been a drive “to” the basket to draw a foul. No reason to shoot a long three.The ND coach squandered his time outs and didn’t have one when he needed it.ND could have won it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. Salt Shaker

            Agree 100%. The ND guard buried himself in the corner for a 3 and should have attacked the rim. KY went up 2 cause their guard went right down the middle and got fouled. 6 sec plenty of time to go end to end. They played a helluva game, though.

        2. PhilipSugar

          The obscenity is that they have “student athletes” but not “faculty coaches” Could you imagine if a coach could only make as much as the median salary of a professor????If they really wanted to “better” the community they could allow each player a maximum of two additional scholarships to provide to siblings or friends that maintained a 3.0 average. Non-cancelable. That way a really great star could graduate with two really educated friends, not go back to thugs.The worst travesty is that your scholarship can be cut on a yearly basis. Get injured??? Too bad so sad.

    3. PhilipSugar

      One of your best comments, and that says a ton.So right about different interests.Never thought about a CEO coach in that way, never used one. But you are right, there was a post by Brad Feld that talked about a CEO reaching out to him in a moment of anxiety.I agree that the bubble will burst I don’t know when. Don’t know what to do with money right now.As a Kentucky Colonel…, I respectfully disagree about the mercy rule. WVU played a dirty game to beat the MD team (where I have a house) and spouted off. They were lucky Calaperi called off the dogs.

      1. JLM

        .I am invoking Mercy Rule acknowledging fully that Kentucky has run the table and nobody in the tournament can hold their jock. Christians and lions kind of thing? Go long lions.Anyone who even hangs with UK is going to have to align their best game ever and K’s worst game. Good luck with that as the second best team in the tourney is likely UK’s second string.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. PhilipSugar

          ND gave them all they could handle and more. WVU was cocky and did in fact not be able to hold their jock.

      2. JLM

        .Find out if that CEO still has a job.Never, ever confide in a Boardmember or a VC when you are dealing with meaningful personal problems.The second you tell them you have a problem, they are calling their favorite recruiter.Seen it a bunch of times.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. PhilipSugar

          Heck, not even meaningful problems. Just a problem.

  8. Tom Labus

    That original USV fund was a huge contrarian bet.. I’m sure some investors saw it tnat way but others as an open field with no defence on the field

  9. Donna Brewington White

    Saw this earlier in the week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I commented to Mark that it was especially gratifying because the two of you have had a profound influence on my perception and understanding of the startup/tech world.It is interesting to see what different interviewers bring out in the interviewee. Your and Mark’s relationship set a very nice tone and added more richness to the exchange.So now it’s your turn to interview Mark.

  10. Donna Brewington White

    I woke up and you had already posted. There are probably some people who are thinking all is right with the world once again.I am going to have to relearn how to comment cogently while my brain is still somewhat foggy.

  11. Paul Gardiner

    whatever happened to the clinton email episode

    1. JLM

      .Downgraded to a Bronze Star and case closed.What did you expect?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Paul Gardiner

        .. a scandal or presidency for hillary.. depending on the outcome

  12. Nathan Guo

    Really loved the video and conversation. i was curious if you could expand on things new VC’s do that they shouldn’t do and things they should be doing. I can definitely understand the pressure to find a company and get a deal done. What then should be the focus? Is there a framework for thinking about how to progress?

  13. george

    More video interviews please; you really killed it on this one, great insights! Appreciate you sharing personal details of your VC journey and thanks to Mark for centering the discussion on learning and problem-solving from both sides of the table.

  14. Betty

    thank you for this share! as a wharton candidate (starting the mba program this fall) with plans to get into vc, i found this video very helpful.

    1. Sebastien Latapie

      I’m interested in pursuing a similar path, would love to talk with you

      1. Betty

        sounds good- im currently at a start up, looking to transition fully to the vc side post mba.

        1. Sebastien Latapie

          Would love to learn more – email me at [email protected]?

  15. paramendra

    Mark has a TV show? What about you? Do you?

    1. fredwilson