Audio Of The Week: Michael Moritz on Studio 1.0

This is almost a year old, but most of it is still very relevant.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Ensuring our lives on this earth is relevant by giving selflessly our time to others by volunteering.We provide our time with our employees with the Salvation Army on serving Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to those in need. It is very rewarding giving and not expecting anything in return. Not taking selfies to brag about what you should be doing by giving back to the community you receive so much from. To whom much is given much is expected.Plan now to volunteer with your family, coworkers or employees.You don’t need to be religious or even a Christian to partner with a community organization in your area.Thanks for the platform Fred.

    1. Twain Twain

      Thanks for reminding us to volunteer. Family friends of ours are part of the Salvation Army. They’re in their 70s and they’ve been helping those in need for over forty years.Salt of the earth folks.

  2. Matt Zagaja

    Going to make my own recommendation: the most recent episode of StartUp which featured Jerry Colonna.

    1. jason wright

      I’ll give it a go, buy he’d better not mention the potter and kiln story again 🙂

  3. LE

    Trait of really great leader (if you go with the Jobs model) might be “Mercurial, unpredictable, creative, belittling. Most importantly hire talented people that want to ‘make daddy happy’ and ‘not have daddy yell at them'”. Intermittent reinforcement. Honestly it takes a special person (with past psychological damage most likely) to want to play in that environment and not bolt. Even Moritz wasn’t good enough ie “in favor out of favor” with Jobs.Moritz says “I don’t think anyone understands the emotional consequences of being put up for adoption” as some kind of justification for behavior. Oh please. True liberal thinking (don’t know his political views either just speculating). No accountability, just explain every action away by some past psychological harm and don’t take personal responsibility for anything.

    1. Twain Twain

      Clearly, his use of “obsessive” and leadership is different from our interpretations of it. Each of us has different internal drivers. Like Jobs / Gates / Chesky / Kalanick we seek one form or other of validation. It’s simply that their drivers for validation are N-fold that of the regular person on the street.Here’s some interesting research: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…*…Moritz is right on this: the person we are at 20 evolves.

      1. LE

        Part of that is also that they are getting reinforced and supercharged by the success of what they are doing. So you rise to the occasion and you truly are able to do things that you wouldn’t be doing if what you were doing wasn’t going somewhere. You become smarter you become more aggressive and opportunistic.Non business examples: Prior to managing Bernie Sanders campaign Jeff Weaver started a comic book store. No to far you can go with that and not to exciting as well. Likewise Corey Lewandowski has a similar “non top shelf” career prior to working for Donald Trump. Nothing to suggest he could manage a Presidential campaign to the degree that he was able to do.

        1. Twain Twain

          That’s why EVERYTHING IS ABOUT PEOPLE.We put ourselves where we can learn from and with the best people and it supercharges what we can do.Why do you suppose I hang out here regularly? Or why I joined Meetup and go to events?

          1. LE

            Or why I joined Meetup and go to events?Yes and to do that you have to enjoy being with people. Because you have to kiss a great deal of frogs to find a prince (in any situation). What I call 100 things. Meaning if you are not all into the approach you probably won’t get anything out of it.David Geffen attributes much of his success to the fact that he was able to go to clubs everynight and schmooze. I know know a funeral director that spent nights going to events meeting people just so they would call him when a family member died. Ditto for lawyers and so on. You have to enjoy being around people to get the benefit that you refer to! (Good that you are doing this does take effort which people might not recognize).

  4. LE

    I don’t get the reverence for being obsessed with your company. This is to me like saying “shows up for work everyday”. What person building any company, even the local pizzeria is not obsessed with their company? If we were talking about some manager at the postal service I’d be impressed. But someone starting and running a business? Of course you have to be obsessed with that as the be all and end all. What am I missing? Are there people out there in the startup world that aren’t living and breathing what they are doing every day? And thinking about it 24×7?About “arrogance” (he didn’t answer the question): “ok to be arrogant they mellow out” like Bill Gates did, he did and so on. Hence “be arrogant”. If you aren’t arrogant you probably aren’t going to be able to break enough eggs to make an omelette. Goes back to the old saw “nice guys finish last”.

    1. Richard

      He should have said “Obsessed on the things that move the needle”ps getting a break and having some luck early in your career is like saving for retirement, both take advantage of the miracle of compound interest.

      1. LE

        Luck papers over a great deal of errors and tends to keep the boat floating.A bit later he says:”I am not sure I am a good investor because we keep making mistakes”. Even though he’s running Sequoia Capital. Right. What is a good investor then in venture capital?And I don’t think he’s kidding or doing british humor. I think it’s pc humble bragging.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      > What am I missing?Read my post here today.

  5. Vendita Auto

    Thanks, always interesting to hear from people with his provenance. Soooo easy to snipe at from ranks & puerile.

    1. jason wright

      is making people cry the measure of psycho analytical progress?

  6. sigmaalgebra

    Early in the interview, Moritz talks about good leaders being “obsessed”. Soon he says that he is not “a psychologist or psychiatrist”. Then, soon, again he is talking about a good leader being obsessed.There is a problem with what Moritz says here. I explain:A point: When you want to look at something, e.g., leadership, closely, examine it, understand it, and find the exceptionally good, you want a clear view of whatever you are looking at and don’t want your view of the situation cluttered up, mixed up, clouded, obscured, etc. with a lot of other stuff.For an example of finding the exceptionally good, in academics, from the early grades on, there are a lot of measurements, evaluations, etc. So there are grades, honors, graded term papers, honors papers, grade point averages, Master’s theses, Ph.D. qualifying exams, Ph.D. dissertations, peer-reviewed publications, citation indices, research grants, etc. So, in such academics, the measurements and evaluations are relatively easy to see without being cluttered, obscured, clouded, etc. So, among various fields and activities, e.g., parenting, sports, art, business leadership, in academics it is relatively easy to identify the exceptionally good.Some expertise. I spent a lot of time in academics, including some of high end US research academics. I got a Ph.D., and so did my wife and brother; so that was three Ph.D. degrees in my family. I also taught at three well known research universities and, thus, saw a lot more in the exceptionally good and the rest in academics.In academics, it’s fairly common and easy to conclude that at least at first cut obsession works relatively well and that among the exceptionally good in academics there are too many obsessive people.Then, a little more examination can suggest that, really, obsessive behavior is not good, not in academics, and not for being exceptionally good in academics. In particular, making straight As in high school and college is not very good background for doing well in Ph.D. work in graduate school. E.g., buried in D. Knuth, The TeXBook on word processing for relatively mathematical material is the remarkThe traditional way is to put off all creative aspects until the last part of graduate school. For seventeen or more years, a student is taught examsmanship, then suddenly after passing enough exams in graduate school he’s told to do something original. So, here Knuth is suggesting, and I agree, that all that excellent work in examsmanship can be a long way from doing “something original”.Application: When hiring, if are looking at a straight A student, also check that they are not also trembling in fear of their own shadow.Maybe a large fraction of brilliant students are straight A students, but a large fraction of straight A students are anxiety cases and, maybe, also brilliant.Exercise: Draw an appropriate Venn diagram.An obsessive student in a Ph.D. program, say, head down, shoulder to the wheel, ear to the ground, nose to the grindstone, who spends five years writing a 500 page dissertation with 10 footnotes per page, is not a good bet for doing well in an academic research career.Lesson: In academics, when looking for the exceptionally good, actually obsessive work is not the right stuff, is not very effective.Why? Really obsessive behavior is mostly not a sign of high promise but an illness, commonly eventually debilitating, from some uncontrolled irrational sources. The clinical psychology (CP) community regards obsessive behavior as an anxiety disease where the anxiety is not justified.Obsessive 101. The CP community says that obsessive behavior is a person thinking about something way too much without ability to stop. A close cousin is compulsive behavior doing something way too much without ability to stop. The two commonly go together as obsessive/compulsive disorder (OCD), and that is usually regarded as part of neurotic behavior. Neurotic behavior is regarded as usually from anxiety.Some expert opinion holds that the cause of OCD is genetic, that is, nature instead of nurture. Compulsive behavior is not limited to humans. In fact, some domestic dogs show compulsive behavior.Neurotic behavior includes hysterical (over reacting to situations), paranoid (a danger, conspiracy, or enemy detector with false alarm rate way too high), OCD, psychopathic passive (socially seriously maladjusted and isolated from society and reality).The neurotic behavior commonly causes serious practical problems in life and, then, stress. With too much stress too long, an expected result is depression. The depression can make the practical situation worse, result in more stress, make the depression worse, and lead to clinical depression which is dangerous — can be fatal.Perfectionism can be a mild version of OCD.Moritz has been financially successful but not because of what he does understand about obsessive behavior but in spite of it.Bottom line: In his leaders, Moritz doesn’t want OCD or obsessive behavior.For leaders? Commonly a good leader needs to have good judgment, certainly nothing like out of control thinking, over a wide range of topics. Good leadership can use hard work, intelligence, experience, etc. but not obsessive behavior.We also need to know such things in selecting a POTUS. My view is that Trump is a good leader and Hillary, a very sick psychopath, e.g., pathological liar, e.g., as she put it in her 1994 speech about “super-predators”, without conscience or empathy, e.g., as in her laughter at getting off the 41 year old man who raped and seriously injured a 12 year old girl.Sorry, Mike. It’s time you learned these little lessons. It’s a lot better to learn these things here than in your portfolio.The literature on leadership and also the one on neurotic behavior is huge. For the second, a good start is:David Shapiro, Neurotic Styles, ISBN 0-465-09502-X.which is relatively easy reading. Yes, the book is old, but so is neurotic behavior.For more,Leon Salzman, Treatment of the Obsessive Personality, ISBN 0-87668-881-4.which is not easy reading.

    1. LE

      And an obsessive student in a Ph.D. program, say, head down, shoulder to the wheel, ear to the ground, nose to the grindstone, who writes a 500 page dissertation with 10 footnotes per page, is not a good bet for doing well in an academic research career.Does this have to do with the lack of creativity in such a person, typically?My view is that Trump is a good leader and HillaryTrump’s Achilles heal is that he is not able to control the environment as he was able to in business, in particular on the scale that he was operating at.Perhaps if he got involved in politics at a younger age he would be able to adapt. At this age though it’s pretty clear that he is not able to change enough to be a leader on a larger scale. Hillary on the other hand is like the perfectly coifed corporate manager who has made a life of walking a fine balance by pleasing multiple parties and getting away with murder. You get a mediocre, non creative, non risk taker as a result … unfortunately. The pundits loved her speech at the Al Smith dinner and panned Trumps save for a few jokes they liked. At the same time they gave credit to Hillary for hiring good joke writers and saying it showed all the right qualities that were important to them. Trump my opinion is wrote 90% of what he said (and died as a result).Neurotic behavior includes hysterical (over reacting to situations), paranoid behavior (a danger, conspiracy, or enemy detector with false alarm rate way too high), OCD, psychopathic passive behavior (socially seriously maladjusted and isolated from society and reality).As you know the DSM is an arbitrary system of qualities that can apply in varying degrees to many people “hey I do that also does that mean I am…”. Trump actually has many of those qualities in his personality. For example he definitely does over react to situations and appears to be OCD as well. The squelch is set wrong. Those qualities have actually helped him with many of the things he has excelled at. They are a result to obsessive attention to detail that goes well beyond what is normal. I am like this as well in a few ways. I see things that others don’t and it bothers me. This is both good and bad. The question with Trump is does he have the ability to see how in the Presidential race he was held back by his “condition”. My guess is at his age he is not, which is why he is now acknowledging that he will lose the race.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        I’m surprised at your unhappiness with Trump, especially apparently for no serious reasons, much more especially in the face of the well documented, really serious problems with Hillary.This is serious stuff: To me, Hillary is a serious threat to the US and the world and Trump in well set to be the best POTUS since, say, Lincoln.The Internet and even many of my posts here at AVC compare Trump and Hillary with good references.It appears that you just have some very negative feelings about Trump and that more rational words and references won’t change your feelings.

        1. cavepainting

          what is not rational and somewhat surprising is that you do not make an attempt to understand why people feel uncomfortable about Trump and try to see the situation from another perspective.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            None of this is about me.I have tried to understand what others think.For Hillary, she is unqualified for POTUS.Proof: FBI Director Comey, in his main public statement about the FBI’s investigation into Hillary’s use of e-mail, said that she had been “extremely careless”. From a law dictionary, that is a case of “gross negligence” which is the sufficient condition for violation of section (f) of the US Espionage Act. Done.For Trump, so far I have yet to read a single statement with solid evidence with a good, primary reference where Trump has done anything significantly wrong on anything significant for being POTUS.So, I don’t understand.

    2. Vendita Auto

      “Neurotic behavior includes hysterical (over reacting to situations)” and writing a novel on a blog reply Sheldon.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        You are over reacting.I wrote only about 6000 characters which is not enough for a novel.A novel is fiction, and what I wrote is a good layman’s introduction to some very important clinical psychology. Tough to find such information in fictional literature, even novels, even novels by, say, Henry James.Exercise: Why Henry James?Commonly people believe that reading literature can provide good information about people. Well, there is more solid, important information about people in my 6000 words than in nearly any 6000 works of literature.Besides, even if literature touched on some of the symptoms, which occasionally it does, solid lessons as in my 6000 words and references are still missing.Not many people understand what I wrote, and failing to understand it can be costly. Neurotic behavior is a dangerous, often hidden, tank trap in the road of life.In particular, it appears that Moritz didn’t understand.Wanting managers who are obsessive is a grand mistake, even for people like Moritz who don’t understand obsessive.I very, very much wish that as a teenager or in my 20’s I had had such a little, so well informed and important, and so well referenced 6000 character blog post. It’s not easy for a person of that age to get that information, not even as a college psychology major.E.g., from some more material, from some more experts, anxiety disease is four times more common in women than men, and OCD women “make terrible mothers”. Men looking for a wife need to know such things. Ignorance on such things can be one heck of an effective way to destroy a family and much of otherwise a very promising life. For the content of what I wrote, we’re talking SERIOUS.Exercise: Quickly, now, find another case of 6000 words with such relatively well supported information that is so important for life?You really already knew all that content and had read the references? Really? And you believe that nearly everyone else at AVC along with Moritz also understands? Really?I did a good service, possibly to a lot of people.You need to look into your motivations for why my post so offends you.

        1. Vendita Auto

          Does not offend me, the exact opposite it made me smile : ) I am interested to know if you liked J J Ulyesses ?

  7. Twain Twain

    Re. the most successful companies have their founders as CEO throughout their mission, the data backs up Sir Michael Moritz’s comments:https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Re. China, he’s right: SV’s male leaders should go to China and learn that cultural values are different and can inform product development. Plus Chinese women are into STEM and tech investing:https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Re. outsider mentality, patience and founder obsession ….HURRAH!!! I’ve been “obsessing” (aka focusing and thinking through) and waiting patiently for SV insiders to wake up to the biases and limitations of existing AI (e.g., sexist, racist, full of blind spots, incapable of understanding Natural Language and ethics).Finally!!! This summer!!! A succession of AI research showed that existing frameworks are those terrible things and so … PRIMED FOR CHANGE & DISRUPTION!!!HURRAH!!! I made the right decision years ago NOT to copy existing frameworks and instead to chart and make a different and better path for Data+Human+Machine Intelligence.* Princeton — A Story of Discrimination and Unfairness: Implicit Bias Embedded in Language Modelshttps://www.securityweek201…*…*…HURRAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. David Semeria

    Several years ago I sent a blind email to Mike Mortiz.He replied within ten minutes.That says it all…

    1. Twain Twain

      He was obsessive about answering emails within a time frame? AND / ORYou wrote a really great email that captured his attention.

      1. David Semeria

        All I know is the vast majority of people I wrote similar emails to didn’t answer.Fred answered too, btw 🙂

      2. LE

        Back in the 90’s I got a really fast response from Tim Draper which actually led to something. I told him that my wife (at the time) thought he was good looking. It was true.We watched him together on some tech show at the time, the one with John Dvorak.The minute she said that I knew I had my hook and wrote to him the next day.

      3. LE

        David Geffen landed John Lennon as a client by sucking up to Yoko Ono. Everyone else went after John. David went through the gatekeeper. This is actually very obvious to anyone who has done any type of cold calling. I landed my first big account out of college by sucking up to the admin of the CEO.