The Maternal Instinct

It’s Mothers Day, a time to celebrate motherhood and moms. I woke up thinking about the maternal instinct and it’s effect on business.

I was talking to a friend last night about the challenges of working on troubled or failed investments. We were debating whether it is even worth the time to try and save a troubled investment versus moving on and focusing on a new one. This is the endless debate in venture capital. It can be applied to managing people as well. Should you work to develop a talented employee who is struggling or just move on and find someone new for the role?

As we were debating the point on whether to fight for a troubled investment or just move on, the Gotham Gal walked by. And I turned to my friend and said “she never gives up on any of her investments and she has 10x the number that I do.” I’ve cautioned her many times that she can’t fix every company, every CEO, every business plan. But she just keeps trying. It’s why I love her so much.

There is something about the maternal instinct. It’s a powerful thing. It is about protecting and caring for someone or something. It is innate in women and they do bring it with them into the world of business. This is one of many reasons why gender diversity in a team is important. Men and women bring different perspectives and instincts to a situation. Debating it out and finding common ground can be quite valuable.

Surely there is a limit to the maternal instinct in business. You can’t make every hire work. You can’t make every project work. You can’t make every investment work. That’s what I frequently tell the Gotham Gal. But that doesn’t stop her from trying. And I understand why.

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there. You care for us and we love you for it.

#life lessons#management

Comments (Archived):

  1. Tom Labus

    There is usually someone with “mom instinct” at good companies. It can be the receptionist or anybody. But after awhile, you notice that she supports and nurtures just about everybody. This makes everyone feel good.

    1. awaldstein

      I don’t know that that is true.Been working out of a WeWorks in Sant Monica on a project for a few months off and on and gender, age diversity is everywhere and super healthy. Dog diversity as well!There is no sense of a family integration into this mix and gender diversity has nothing to do with an integration of mothers and family influence into the workforce.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Try The Culver City one is packed with pretty cool people

        1. awaldstein

          Besides amazing sucky accoustics are decent work environment.So smart–a good 15% higher costs that they get away with as they are all month to month so no lease which is a huge boon to startups.

        2. LE

          These businesses are very interesting to me. I just wonder about the long term use of space like this and if there will enough of a constant stream of dreamers to keep it profitable in coming years. They are getting a good dollar for just a desk in an open space with noise and no privacy.

          1. JLM

            .It is getting very crowded because their is not much of a barrier to entry. There is a precursor to this — the executive suite business.Regus Executive SuitesThis is a great opportunity for a convergence model in which an accelerator/incubator sponsors one of these and some number of the occupants are in the accelerator/incubator.It is a good way to repurpose challenged space.I am looking at toying with such a deal in an old grocery store — lots of A/C, tall ceilings, good restrooms/utilities, lots of parking.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. LE

            A woman LCSW who rents an office from me used to pay a Regus competitor something like $1000 per month for a small office. She had been there for 10 years and I guess they just jacked it up. I get +- $750 from her (a bit less but she pays a portion of the utilities) and that’s without any support services which she didn’t need anyway. The room is maybe 10×12. I put her name on a nice sign out the door and also a hanging sign in the front. Lots of extra work though having multiple tenants vs. one per office. Maybe the deal with this is you give free rent to one person who handles all of the paperwork and leasing in exchange for a free office.This is a great opportunity for a convergence model in which an accelerator/incubator sponsors one of these and some number of the occupants are in the accelerator/incubator.Yeah that’s the ticket I was thinking that actually as well.

          3. awaldstein

            Go work in one. This is not a flash but a piece of urban life. They are not all open spaces but a mixture.Brilliant at the least.

          4. Donna Brewington White

            It’s more than dreamers.

          5. LE

            I know it’s more than just dreamers. But my point is w/o the dreamers the business model falls apart. Same as a convenience store needs to typically sell lottery tickets and cigarettes in order to make money and pay the rent.

          6. Donna Brewington White

            Go hang out at a coworking site.

          7. pointsnfigures

            there are private offices in many co-work spaces. some people prefer the open interaction

        3. Donna Brewington White

          Too much orange for me. Can you believe that actually made a difference?

          1. pointsnfigures

            Ha, a happy color too. Wonder how many others are like that. Grind uses an even more vibrant shade of orange.

  2. Asim Aslam

    People might throw you some stuff about how it should be moneyball and you should play the game by the numbers but there’s something to be said for the integrity and character of your investors, when they’re all in with the founder and have that never say die mentality.Nobody wants to be seen as a lost cause, nobody wants to be the write off in someone’s portfolio. You’re going to do everything in your power to make it succeed; blood sweat and tears. If that business fails though, the entrepreneur may go on to do something else incredibly successful based on those learnings and they’ll come looking for the investors who stuck by them.At the end of the day, its not about the money, there’s always money to be made. It’s about who we are as people and how we treat others. It’s about character and integrity.

    1. LE

      Time factor. Balanced with reputation which is important is return to your partners which is also important. As such not producing results [1] means you get no more money (in theory) going forward.[1] By “not producing results” I mean spending your time on the wrong things or on better or new investment opportunities. Quality and doing the right thing only gets you so far.

  3. William Mougayar

    Well said. I think GG “cares” for her investments in a maternal sense, something that is not as natural for a man perhaps. Instinct and intuition work well together for women, and that’s a very good thing.

  4. awaldstein

    Without diversity the world would only be as each of us imagine it.What a narrow incomplete and too easily understood picture that is.

    1. JLM

      .Agreeing with you, I add the following.Diversity for the sake of diversity is tokenism. It is not real.Where diversity is important is when a CEO, or other leader, is able to tap into the experiences, ideas, knowledge of people who have had different lives. This is, decidedly, not tokenism.When the Army had the draft, you had the most diverse imaginable soldiers in your unit. I had South Boston skinheads and black kids from the Delta. I had a college professor, PhD in English, who I made my company clerk.One night he caught me reading Kipling while I was on CQ (Charge of Quarters which means you stay up all night babysitting the barracks).I had over 400 soldiers in a unit that was supposed to be 186. The VN war was just about over and they were all awaiting discharge in the next 6 months and I was on the same post as the discharge station — so they gave them to me. I was about 26 years old.He asked me, “YOU read Kipling?”I said, “Yes.”We talked Kipling for a few hours and thereafter whenever I was on CQ, we would have a chat. I feel like I got at least 9 semester hours in that year.I still have the set of Kipling. [Third and fourth shelves from the bottom in the pic, left of the fireplace.]I still recall those chats and when I read Kipling, I remember that professor’s voice and teaching.It is the ideas that diversity brings, not the skin tones, that are important.No CEO ever knows more than 40% of what his team or his customers know. That’s why one has to trade in the marketplace of ideas.When good ideas wrestle, great ideas come forth.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. JimHirshfield

        Agreed. Tolkeinism is a bad hobbit, to be avoided at all costs.

        1. JLM

          .Hahaha, glad I wasn’t drinking coffee when I read that. You goose!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. Twain Twain

          Sir Wordsmith … LOL.

      2. LE

        Diversity for the sake of diversity is tokenismHow do you feel about putting Tubman on a 20 spot? To me it’s all PC bullshit. Why would anyone care about that? Meaning specifically what does it do for anyone for a person of their race to appear on currency? Who cares? To me it’s just the equivalent of a greeting card friend.

        1. JLM

          .The Obama administration has apparently been working on a scheme to diversify all public recognition. They recently named an Arleigh Burke class destroyer after Carl M Levin — liberal Congressman, who never served in the Navy.Navy ships, of this kind, are typically named after US Navy war heroes or Medal of Honor recipients, Marine Corps vets.The Sec Navy, Ray Mabus, published a guideline in 2012 for the naming of warships — “The Policies and Practices of the US Navy for Naming the Vessels of the Navy.”This Levin naming violated his Congressionally approved practice.If the Obama administration wants to tinker with the money, then they should just have more than one face on each denomination. Other countries do that.There is nothing traditional or sacred to this administration. They just think they are the cleverest fellas in the room. No Squid is going to fall in love with the Levin. Sorry.Ironically, Harriet Tubman was a Republican and a notorious gun toter proving the Obama admin is not nearly as smart as they think they are.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. RayHightower

          .LE: Yes, it could appear to be PCBS until you examine Harriet Tubman’s achievements.Tubman was a Christian preacher, a fierce leader, and (as JLM shared) she carried a gun. After she escaped slavery, she returned to slave-holding territories to rescue more slaves. Why did she risk her life and freedom for others? Because she was a leader. Like any leader of character, she took care of her team and thereby won their loyalty. Tubman’s skills and character would make here a formidable CEO today.For these reasons, Tubman deserves recognition, and the twenty dollar bill is appropriate. Great to know she’s replacing the cowardly slaveholder that was on the twenty before her.

          1. JLM

            .I was with you all the way to the last sentence. Harriet Tubman is a great American story. She needs no qualifiers to recommend her for honor by being on our currency. She was a Republican in the time when Lincoln was the standard bearer of the Republican party. Her greatness requires no explanation. Three sentences are more than enough.The history of slavery in the US is a wound and a slur against our goodness.Many of the FF were slave owners. They were men of their times and they were, nevertheless, WRONG. Slavery was never right. It was wrong.Unfortunately, it was part of our history and there is probably a good to be done by reminding us about that. To remind us when we crossed the lines of righteousness but also to remind us that we redeemed ourselves when we finally understood the gravity of the wrong we had perpetuated.It might be interesting to research the history of the Irish, a hundred years before the advent of black slavery in the Colonies. Cromwell stole Ireland and killed and imprisoned and “transported” the Irish wholesale to the Colonies — where they were literally worked to death in the tobacco fields — and Barbados, Antigua, Montserrat, and Jamaica.As an Irishman, I am appalled by this recently revealed history. There is a reason this has been hidden until about 30 years ago. There are several excellent books on the matter.Irishmen and women were taken into slavery by the English at the point of a sword. It was either transportation or death.Let’s join in honoring the goodness, leadership, audacity of Harriett Tubman as an examplar for a life well lived without simultaneously feeling required to denigrate Jackson.Her greatness is not dependent upon his flaws. He, too, is part of our history.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Traditions can be important, e.g., as a source of strength in a family, community, or country. Our founding fathers are also an important special case. What was it, Fiddler on the Roof that sang about Tradition?Thus, destroying good, established traditions is a powerful way to weaken the US for anyone who wants to do that and is in a position to do so.

          3. Mariah Lichtenstern

            Three sentences would have sufficed.

          4. LE

            Hi Ray, not doubting her achievements. But by that token they might have reviewed the achievements of others and not responded (what seemed like) quickly to social pressure to make a change. That would seem to be a fairer way to approach this (if at all) in my opinion. Maybe when these decisions are made they shouldn’t be permanent anyway. They should be for a set time period allowing another person to also be honored.

        3. Donna Brewington White

          Diversity for the sake of diversity is not ideal, but it is better than an utter lack of diversity.And I think you are missing the point about featuring Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.https://www.washingtonpost….

          1. LE

            To be honest I have a hard time relating to the benefit of this other than lip service. I see it as almost the opposite in a way. It gives those in charge a get out of jail card against doing something significant. Hard to give examples of this but it’s a manipulation technique kind of like a husband doing a job around the house he likes to avoid a job he doesn’t like. Then he can say “see I do help around here” (as he rides the new law mower).Separately (and I’ve mentioned this before) Azie Taylor Morton was one of my customers in the 80’s. I noticed somehow someway that the signature on work orders was similar to that on currency. No clue how I put that together. I dealt with her actually very classy lady. I have to tell you in all honesty that up to that point I had never met an older black woman like Azie. At least in the city that I lived.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Maybe you’re right about motives/motivations, maybe not.I know that in managing change sometimes I will settle for small or incremental changes that move the situation in a certain direction rather than the wholesale change I desire.

  5. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    >> … a troubled investment …A clear definition for purposes of comments will prove useful.A) troubled equals will probably go under because of complete collapse of proposition / team / hypothesisB) troubled equals – funding problems because growth rather than business model was unwisely emphasisedC) troubled equals legislative fightsD) troubled equals little chance of big exitIf I want an investor I don’t want only a fair weather friend (so praise to GG), I also want a dose of reality (no rose tinted glasses, flogging dead horses).As far as I am concerned a company that can legitimately trade, and has a team in place prepared to try deserves some loyalty from investors (because they are for real)Otherwise investors can walk without a problem – but shouldn’t try and walk away with something – leave that for people who are committed. This is what limited liability should cover – a fair crack.

    1. JLM

      .I fear that the best source of loyalty that a founder can hope for is attained by using part of the investment proceeds to purchase a mutt that is primarily Labrador.Go to Lab Rescue and get one for less than $300 with shots and neutered.I find the black ones the best of all though I adore the yellow and chocolate ones also.Investors are, unfortunately, primarily loyal to their money. Step on the toes of an investor’s money and you will be updating your resume.Sad but true.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. LE

        I guess people don’t fully understand what the saying “it’s just business” means. In politics the saying is “if you want a friend in Washington get a dog”. Or ditto for Hollywood. What I am wondering is what the impact social media has had or will be on this saying. Now that dirty laundry is more easily laid out. With respect to business reputation means something depending on the business. Otoh the market is now worldwide instead of just your shitty small town (so there are always new marks that can be found).

        1. Erin

          Haha if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. πŸ™ So sad.

    2. Erin

      The GG doesn’t have rose-tinted glasses. She still fires people. I’ve actually seen a few more rosy investments out of Fred than the GG.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        + 100 Credit to both of them !

        1. Erin

          Fo sho. They’re just different. She makes decisions from the gut; him from the head.

      2. ShanaC

        They are very different people., so not surprising at all

  6. Sujit Kalidas

    How often does the incremental effort on a troubled investment lead to a better outcome than expected/likely?

  7. jason wright

    companies have independent legal personality. it’s more like a marriage. divorce can happen.

  8. JimHirshfield

    Got me thinking of these lyrics…Was the only rebel child from a family meek and mildMama seemed to know what lay in storeIn spite of all my Sunday learnin’For the bad I kept on turnin’ and mama couldn’t hold me anymore.And I turned 21 in prison, doin’ life without paroleNo one could steer me right, but mama tried, mama triedMama tried to raise me better, but her pleadin’ I deniedThat leaves no one but me to blame cause mama tried.

  9. Susan Rubinsky

    A lovely post. Happy Mother’s Day to Gotham Gal.

  10. pointsnfigures

    I guess it depends on how much influence you have. When kids (companies) are little-you can have a lot of influence on what happens. When they get older, you have a lot less influence and have to use different ways. Certainly, Gotham Gal has a well developed maternal instinct but she also invests in women-where USV is investing in anyone. My bet is because she is a seed investor, she has a different relationship with founders than USV does-not better or worse, just different. A lot depends on the founders too. Sometimes they need you, sometimes they don’t want to see you. Kinda like kids.

  11. Semil Shah

    How would you (and the group here) mark a definition here, with respect to investments, between maternal instinct and parental instinct?

    1. JLM

      .If the world were fair — which it is demonstrably not — a parent would get a “do over” and be able to raise a second family after they have spent three decades raising their first one.My wife says I have a great book in me — How Not To Parent. She says, “Just write down everything you ever did and tell the readers to NOT do that.”There is a bit of hyperbole there. After all she has stuck w/ me for 37 years though she reminds me that I am a series of one year rolling options.I was a much better combat engineer company commander than I ever was a parent though it is fair to note that all of my troopers were housebroken when I met them.Parenting is like hanging onto the bull at the rodeo except rather than 8 seconds, it lasts forever.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  12. @NotScottAdams

    This is a GREAT POST and I think you may have picked up on a particular flaw in the VC model — many VCs act like they’re buying a date rather than marrying a mate.Biologically, women who wanted to have someone around for the long term challenges of raising one of the relatively few babies that they might have in a lifetime, were wise to choose their partners carefully. This means the woman’s perspective is better model for the entrepreneur’s perspective in picking a VC. Like a woman, an entrepreneur has relatively few startups that she can create and manage to a successful exit in her life. Therefore she needs to be picky about who she asks to help her. However, this is complicated because the available pool of suitors is populated by folks who don’t share the Gotham Gal’s maternal extinct.To switch metaphors, her mental image of her position in the world is one where the typical Silicon Valley VC plays the role of the high school quarterback with a rich daddy who has a line of cheerleaders (and every other good-looking girl in town who wants a date) lined up at his front door, waiting for their chance to come in and explain why they deserve to go with him to the next big dance. The quarterback with access to the necessary funds for a great evening knows that he needs a date but he also knows that if he says “NO” or “Maybe yes, if do x, y and z for me” that he will have lots of attractive options. On the other hand, each individual girl in line isn’t so lucky.Imagine the pressure on our high school nobody as she describes her attractive qualities to that quarterback when she knows that he has a very long line of would-be dance partners that are right outside his door. To be fair, not everything is in the quarterback’s favor because only a few of his choices might happen to be great dates who will give the quarterback an experience that is worth more than the portion of his dad’s money that he spends on them. In any case, the main point of this rather tortured metaphor is that the VC is mostly involved during the courting phase and the fun part of the date and isn’t looking for a long term commitment if it requires dealing with relationship issues and/or any problems that might come along.Moral of the story: The best VCs won’t be like the baby daddy who simply provided the seed capital and then looked for the exit when his date got in trouble.

  13. Alejandro Cosentino

    Admirable post. It’s important to remark that every men can develop a maternal instinct being gentle, careful and listening to other expressing appreaciation.

    1. JLM

      .Wow, I doubt I have ever disagreed more with an utterance in my life.My mother was one of a baseball team’s worth of Irish Catholic girls. The most fun that you can possibly imagine. They laughed more than they talked. Their mother lived to be more than 100 years old feeding off their collective energy.I think Mom used to speak directly to the Holy Ghost. She was what the Irish call “fey.” Look it up.Growing up, I’d be plotting some particular wickedness and before I got out the door, she’d say, “I hope you are not thinking about doing … insert wickedness … tonight.”No man will ever begin to touch that maternal instinct.My mother, who was in the Army in WWII, met my father in a chow line at Camp Kilmer at the end of the war. She was a stunning redhead. Three months later they were married. They were together until the day she died. Almost 60 years later.I once asked her — “Why Dad?”She said, “I knew it before I ever spoke to him. I could sense it. He was the ONE and I had been waiting for him for my whole life.”God, I miss her.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Fey – I looked it up because it seemed not to fit So I learned something (was aware of 1 and 3) but I expect you mean 2.a and/or b1. a chiefly Scottish : fated to die : doomedb : marked by a foreboding of death or calamity2a : able to see into the future : visionaryb : marked by an otherworldly air or attitudec : crazy, touched3a : excessively refined : preciousb : quaintly unconventional : campyAnyway credit to her !

        1. JLM

          .Englishmen and Americans — two peoples separated by a common language.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Lucky you and your father.

  14. vijayvenkatesh

    I am completely the same way, sometimes to a fault. While I don’t have experience on the investment side, always pains me to hear employees write off management or leadership without trying to make the relationship work, and likewise management and leadership trying once or so to get people to do their bidding, even describing “pips” as a formality, without trying to help the person turn around.Kudos to others,incl. me in my own small way, who try to take the harder path, make things work, help people see larger contexts, which will ultimately not be successful in every case, but will leave the most lasting impact on people – which is the greater path imo.

  15. JLM

    .Ask yourself this — Why would anyone want to be on my team?It is very simple — because they suspect you are going to take care of them and get the enterprise to the finish line (pay window).Taking care of people only counts when the weather is stormy. I once had a woman employee who came to work sporting a couple of shiners. The kind that there is no makeup made to hide.My assistant was tasked to get the scoop. Her BF had gone a few rounds with her. She had come in second.I called my CFO and asked how much she was making. I gave her a raise of sufficient magnitude that she could move out and get clear of that bastard. My assistant conveyed the message. She moved out in a couple of days.My CFO asked me whether we were running a charity operation? I told him, “Yes, I am. I’m the fucking CEO and I can do whatever the fuck I want and I just did. Any questions?”He was a very good CFO and I loved working with him but he had never been in a leadership position and knew next to nothing about team building.That story circulated. I denied it whenever anyone asked me about it. My denials just made the story more potent. The ROI was incalculable. Even the CFO came around, eventually.The glue that binds people into a team is loyalty. It goes up and it goes down the org chart.The people who follow us only really need us in times of peril. That’s when we earn our money with our decisionmaking, our persistence, our balls, our minds, our hearts.Never, ever give up. The future belongs to the fighters. Get in the fight.That is not a wise investment philosophy. It is, however, a good way to live your life. It will glue your team to you like Gorilla Glue. It will let you sleep at night. It will make those around you respect you. In the end, what is more important than that?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Matt Zagaja

      Well played.

    2. LE

      Good story. I’ve done things like that (even with non employee contractors) as had my dad. Donald does things like that. Many small business owners also do and you never hear those stories. Difference between being in a small (or type of business where one is king) rather than some corporate guy worried about doing the wrong thing and losing his job or just covering his own ass and not sticking around long term.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      Another keeper.

    4. Mark Essel

      Empathy gives us the ability to perceive when those close to us are in greatest need.Wisdom makes the right decision clear.Power is the strength to make a difference.You emodied all those perfectly in this case JLM. Thanks for teaching us how to win.

    5. cavepainting

      It is an amazing story. It is very true that leaders who are human and engender loyalty build more cohesive teams. It really works out in the long term. For everyone. The leader, the people and the company.One caveat though: I once knew a CEO who had a close-knit and loyal team. But the needs of the role had outgrown him and he was steering the ship in the wrong direction. And the team was so close knit that nobody said anything until it was too late. Until the ship crashed.The prerequisite of great leadership is to know the job, do it well and be constantly learning. An important part of that job is to build teams that are cohesive and loyal but can also point out where you are going wrong. Loyalty can translate to greater commitment, teamwork and the right level of debate and search that leads to the right decisions, or to minion-ship, groupthink and servility. It depends on the leader, his values and what he considers as “loyalty”.

      1. JLM

        .A few quick thoughts:A good CEO engages in periodic brainstorming with his team and thereby provides the forum to allow other ideas to compete with, challenge, refine, and improve his own.No CEO should ever go forward with a plan without getting everyone’s fingerprints on the murder weapon. Buy in.http://themusingsofthebigrehttp://themusingsofthebigrehttp://themusingsofthebigrehttp://themusingsofthebigre…A good CEO conducts an annual Anonymous Company Survey which allows him to see the back of his own head. Every time I ever did this, I learned something that I was missing. Every. Single. Time. I acted upon the blind spots immediately.A good Board of Directors mandates the creation of appropriate plans which are presented, debated, committed to writing, approved, and periodically monitored.A CEO reports to a Board. A good Board makes this a true performance assessment.A good Board has a CEO comp and performance committee and keeps score. Brutally.A good Board provides a written annual Performance Appraisal, in writing on a date certain, tied to the attainment of specific objectives in the approved plan.Good CEOs want this. It should be called for in their Employment Agreement.When I talk to Boards and CEOs who do not perform this on a date certain every year, there are always performance gaps. Always.No CEO is riding the range by himself, free of assessment accountability.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. cavepainting

          JLM,That is very true for good CEOs and good boards. But we do not see this often. When everyone including the CEO is constantly seeking the truth, the right decisions will indeed be taken. But… humans are complicated and the ego often gets in the way. I wrote more here.

          1. JLM

            .Excellent writing.I guess I am such an optimist and having been educated at a military school with a draconian honor system, I am not one to confront the reality of lying.One of the reasons I have never run for Congress is not that I could not tell an artful lie but that I don’t care enough to actually lie.On that score, I am a simpleton, in the nicest sense of the word.Of course, I have also been under sniper fire.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. Donna Brewington White

        One of the least utilized sources of feedback that I see out there is the leader’s own team. For reasons of human nature, the leader must sometimes go out of her/his way to create the safety and the space for team members to give honest feedback and input.

    6. Twain Twain

      Why? Because our emotions and perceptions inform our decision-making. EMOTIONS are BIG BUSINESS. Just ask Facebook’s Head of AI.@donnawhite:disqus @mariahlichtenstern:disqus @ShanaC:disqus @marissa_di_pasquale:disqus @erinm1:disqus @sigmaalgebra:disqus @le_on_avc:disqus @cavepainting:disqus @SixgillBlog:disqus @JimHirshfield:disqus @wmoug:disqus @ccrystle:disqus @pointsnfigures:disqus @kwiqly:disqus — SO happy the penny has finally dropped that we need to build less autistic AI.AI capable of … CARING, maybe.

  16. LE

    Great thoughts.With respect to this: β€œshe never gives up on any of her investments and she has 10x the number that I do.” It would be ironic if Joanne’s involvement in, and joy from, her investments made it less likely for her to want to travel and slow down at the point that you were interested in doing so.

  17. george

    I can understand why Gotham Gal expects a 100% success rate; it’s her attitude, mindset and commitment that drives more favorable outcomes.Yes, there is a limit to everything but if you don’t think and/or operate that way, then dreams, ideas, people and businesses are simply transposed into a commodity that trades in the percentages game. I applaud those that fight and challenge themselves to find a better solution.Happy Mothers Day to All!

  18. sigmaalgebra

    Fred, due to GG, you are a very lucky guy.IMHO, for boys/men, understanding girls/women is, in our modern society changed a lot from thousands of years ago while girls/women haven’t, usually a crucially important but severe and desperate struggle.We can start with the E. Fromm statement:Men and women deserve equal respect as persons but are not the same.Your observation that some of the differences have to do with maternal instinct is an obvious guess, confirmed for me at least intuitively by long observation, and likely quite correct.From women, motherhood — Mother Nature and Darwin can’t settle for less and sometimes it appears don’t ask for much more.However, at times, the girls/women totally knock the socks off boys/men. IMHO, generally, the girls/women are much better at, let’s see, to take just a few of the most obvious parts of the list, communications with facial expressions and tone of voice, eliciting supportive and protective emotions from men, perception of the emotions of others and, then, how to please them, acting, manipulating others, sympathy and empathy, verbal talent, rote memory, skills in social groups (“they do form herds!”), manual dexterity, to an astounding degree, ability to go without sleep, and, due if only to higher fraction of body fat, in some extreme situations actually endurance.Yet, boys/men commonly get a grade of D- on understanding girls/women. E.g., there is the question that too often men can’t answer: “What does she want?”. Sometimes the answer is, “What you want.”. Idiot Professor Higgins totally blew it: Eliza was a dream!On the professor’s question, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” — wanting such a result and even asking that question indicates having gone a long way too far down a dark, dangerous road into disaster. Don’t go there.There’s a LOT more to understand and, if I did understand it, would have it in Girls 101 for Dummies — Boys.But, maybe men don’t really have to understand and, instead, just (1) make enough money for financial security for the family, (2) get her pregnant, (3) unless there is no reason otherwise, go to (2), (4) help her be good as a mommy and help the kids through their growth and into their marriages, (5) be good as a grand mother. I.e., rely on maternal instinct — or, in words even a man can understand, don’t try to understand maternal instinct or how Intel can work at 14, 10, and 7 nm and, instead, just build on those situations!Men, boys, if you have not figured it out yet, about the happiest you can ever be is to have the girl/woman you love smile at you from being happy being with you. So, if only for your selfish interest, make her happy!Warning: Not all girls/women will make good life partners; instead, there are a lot of sick examples out there. In particular, if she denigrates love, home, family, marriage, and motherhood, if she is not thrilled about the prospect of motherhood, run away the fastest you can and look elsewhere. One approach: To judge her, assume that the apple fell fairly close to the tree and look at her mother, very carefully. Due to talent at acting and manipulation, there should be emphasis on carefully, e.g., as inhttps://lifehealthfullylive…the women carrying the turkey can be so bitter about being a wife and mother instead of, say, a Nobel prize winning physicist, that she wishes she had rat poison in the turkey. For more, if you have a lot of money or intend to, then have one heck of a strong pre-nup. Sorry ’bout that.

  19. Marissa_NYx

    I am a woman , a mum & a CEO. I have made amazing hires and also failed hires. I believe not only in maternal instinct but also in the course of nature : ie. in the ebb and flow of life; life moves on. I always say to my hires: we have an entry point and an exit point to every thing. So make the time you’re here the best it can be. I had a hire who couldn’t find his niche: he came on board full of promise , started well but instead of getting more confident, he crumbled under pressure, he could not complete tasks, and so on. He started to buckle, I supported him and we tried different approaches to his work, we found he was great with customers, but he didn’t want to do customer support. Most would have fired him after the first signs of stress. I hung in there and once we got to a point where he rejected doing the work he was competent at, I had no choice: time to graduate the hire. We sat down and chatted about what it means to graduate, what his dreams were and where next. In some ways, it was tough love but necessary. We hosted a farewell party and he moved on . It was the best thing for my team. It was the best for him. Life moved us forward.

    1. JLM

      .A CEO’s job in the employment compact is to provide a work environment in which an employee can be productive, to set clear objectives, to assess performance on a regular basis, to shoot straight.Employees usually fire themselves.If a periodic performance appraisal answers the following questions:1. Can I expect to be fired in the next 90 days?2. Can I expect to be fired in the next 12 months?3. Can I expect to be promoted in the next 90 days?4. Can I expect to be promoted in the next 12 months?there is little room for misalignment.I once told a manager of mine that the answer to question #1 was YES. He straightened out and became one of my best employees. Ever. To this day, he reminds me of the shock of seeing that in print.One of my greatest failings as a CEO was my constant willingness to do missionary work. I always think I can fix anything. I cannot.I had to fire a man who worked with me at two different companies who, until he went rogue, was one of the best hires I ever made. He snapped out of it but not before I fired him. To this day, there are hard feelings but my conscience is perfectly clear.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  20. cavepainting

    Hello Fred,I disagree a little bit with the theory. I have seen trigger-happy and not-very-thoughtful women executives and CEOs, as well as men who have extraordinary empathy, compassion and caring, and are frequently willing to work through a situation and find alternative solutions. And the reverse is also true.It really depends on the life experiences of individuals, their levels of self awareness and their ability to relate to people. Yes, being a Mom can bring out a deeper level of nurturing and caring qualities in women, but not everyone translates it to workplace situations. And testosterone does not always translate to non-caring qualities in men.As much as we seek diversity in gender, we also need to seek diversity in life experiences and personalities.

  21. ShanaC

    murm on mom instinct at times.There is family you choose, and family you are born with, and sometimes they aren’t the same. Still, you will sometimes get mom-figures

  22. Mariah Lichtenstern

    Ah…but Gotham Gal is also an ENFJ, so she is probably both very intuitive about her portfolio and also a “feeler,” having a great deal of empathy. Additionally, she has built a career that supports her commitment to companies. I’m an INFJ (on the cusp of ENFJ), maternal and supportive in many ways, so I can relate to that.But I also have very low tolerance for incompetence. I will stick with something I believe in wholeheartedly, but have no problem cutting my losses if something clearly is not working whether it be a relationship or endeavor. Maybe the “I” part combined with the “J” makes me more concerned with the ends than the means, so to speak, in regard to people. I’m more concerned with humanity at large than individuals outside of my inner circle. But my mother set a good example when evicting tenants and firing employees as a Director of Nursing to help people land well on the way out.I give this anecdote to extrapolate to women in the workforce. They undoubtedly bring different sensibilities and experiences. Nevertheless, I must say, most women I know in leadership can be fierce and exacting. I’ve seen them hire and fire without batting an eye. Some exhibit “male” culture to a fault. So, while there is something to be said for maternal instinct, and the nature / nurture characteristics that inform it (which may not be as inherent as we would hope – mothers are 3X more likely to abuse children than fathers), I’d proffer that most women are far more protective at home than at work, particularly when one’s performance at work impacts home. Hence, the “Queen Bee” complex and other cases of insensitive women.

  23. Donna Brewington White

    My 15 y.o. wanted to know what a blog looked like, so I showed him AVC as part of the tour. We had just visited the Quizlet website to help him make the connection between the app that he was using tonight and an actual company made up of people. He made the connection between seeing Fred Wilson on the Quizlet team page and again at AVC. I explained what a VC does. It was a good night to be a mom and a great way to end a wonderful Mother’s Day.

  24. rene

    Perhaps if you changed the lingo from “investments” to “people”, “founders” or something more humane, that would bring out the father in you?

  25. marcoliver

    “[ ] … It is innate in women and they do bring it with them into the world of business.” Probably leads many women to the question: “What do men bring with them into the world of home?”

  26. JLM

    .I’d say you got the deep end of the gene pool, Andrew.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  27. JLM

    .Au contraire, amigo. Drink up.You should reflect on how damn lucky you are to have been brought into the world by that woman. She was not a victim. That her blood is in your veins is your greatest blessing.We have become a nation of victims.If you can shed the notion of victimhood — the world and everything in it will one day be yours. Victimhood limits us.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  28. LE

    How is it performingThat assumes of course that it’s all about investment performance and we know that that is probably not the case. (You play guitar and have no $$ ROTI on that as an extreme example). To me maternal instinct goes beyond whether there is payback or not. As such a man can operate in the same way. My Dad would help his tenants and give them advice (he would get these great thank you letters). He did that because he enjoyed doing so it made him feel good. It has zilch to do with them continuing to lease from him. There is little question that (as I see it) what GG is doing has less to do with ROI and more to do with something that just makes her feel good. Just like mom.

  29. LE

    actually I’ve had a record deal, tours, and years of paying gigs. bad example.That’s called a rationalization. I am talking about now, not then.You are telling me hope to have a new career? Or is it like me. A bit of camelot such that I feel good about programming. Because back when I first did some it put some money in my pocket? Actually it does solve some problems for me now but I also do it because quite frankly, it makes me feel good to write something that solves a problem. (I have, as you do, positive ‘secondary meaning’ from solving a problem by writing some small program that goes way beyond the benefit).

  30. LE

    The current thing isn’t going to end unless you sell or go bust. Put the idea out of your mind! This is like me dreaming that I will move to Florida and run my business from there. Man am I a buzz kill.