Video Of The Week: Generational Change In VC Firms

A couple weeks ago my partner Andy and I talked about generational change in a VC firm in a conversation moderated by our longtime investor Lindel Eakman. I blogged a bit about generational change prior to that conversation.

Here is the video of that conversation:

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    To paraphrase…Andy brings the humanity to USVNice

  2. William Mougayar

    I think the more interesting evolution will be the next one, 5-10 years from now…The current one was very smooth but mostly expected.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, we have work to do on that

      1. Richard

        Let’s hope her initials are I.P.O.

      1. Girish Mehta

        There’s a reference in this article …(see this portion – Leone tells Axis: “In 1996, Don Valentine met with Michael Moritz and me….)…

  3. pointsnfigures

    I think at the 18:00 mark, Lindel asks a very poignant question about communicating changes to LPs. Gonna assume that when USV raised their 1,2,3 funds, the LPs were investing in Fred and Brad. No different than when a fund invests in a seed stage startup. Team matters. It will be interesting to see what the next fund raise is like-especially if USV adds another partner.Communicating to entrepreneurs you are invested in is a different matter.

    1. LE

      the LPs were investing in Fred and BradOne way around this issue would be to make the LP’s think that the new partners are smarter than the original partners. [1] Give them credit and talk them up in a positive revelatory way.Here is an example that I just thought of to illustrate this technique.. [2] Paul Graham on Sam Altman.“Honestly, Sam is, along with Steve Jobs, the founder I refer to most when I’m advising startups. On questions of design, I ask ‘What would Steve do?’ but on questions of strategy or ambition I ask ‘What would Sama do?’”…Impossible for me to understand how he can be compared to Jobs but that is what Graham (in what seems like a Trump exaggeration) has done.[1] And in theory they should be. Because when you hire (in this context) your idea of ‘smart’ is someone who tells you something that you don’t know or think.[2] I say technique because there is nothing preventing someone from doing this even when it’s only loosely true.

      1. Semil Shah

        I look at someone like David Sze here, who invested in and then recruited Reid Hoffman to Greylock, who then brought in his network and also an investment in a little company called Airbnb.

        1. LE

          Great example.

    2. PhilipSugar

      You know life is a journey. When people first invest (and that can be in a fund or in an enterprise product) they really have to buy into the person.As the firm grows that becomes less important and it is more buying into the firm.I left out one important point on Fred’s excellent post on employee retention. The biggest thing I think that is important is that people feel like they are growing at a company. This is through training (I believe in having people go to one conference or class a year), and mentorship.That’s where you can really leave a legacy. A VC firm is a bit different in that you have discrete funds so it definitely is possible to walk away without hurting any of those people that trusted you in the beginning. You can’t really do that with products.It would seem to be a shame to me to lose the institutional knowledge, traditions, and culture that has been built. But as I said, you can walk away and not hurt anybody and that means that there really is no obligation to continue.

  4. Pete Griffiths

    So you’re in LA for a while? If you feel like some local knowledge feel free to reach out. 🙂

  5. jason wright

    It was very forward thinking of you not to have named the firm Wilson Burnham.The great challenge is to not build an institution.

  6. LE

    This was great. Very good and very interesting video.

  7. Lawrence Brass

    I know this is a stupid comment, but I know some people that move their hands a lot when they talk. In this video I noticed Fred gestures with his feet while talking, which I think I haven’t noticed before. That is being very expressive. 🙂

    1. JimHirshfield

      Indeed, he has a leg up on others

      1. Lawrence Brass

        *laughs*… surely, way up.

  8. David Semeria

    Wow, it looks like I missed a lot of memos. Can’t see you with you feet up in Florida, though.

  9. Paul Azous

    Its all about the people behind the business that also really matters. A good leader is worth a lot.Paul Azous,

  10. george

    Those are some really Big Shoes to fill at USV…It will be interesting to see how your succession plans really play out…