Businesses which fail to accomodate the real interests and priorities of their talent, fail to forge the potentially highest value part of the relationship —- the concept that the relationship is “custom made”. Everything that is custom made is perceived as better than mass manufactured. I am a bit of a sports nut and I have a pocketful of season tickets to the UT Longhorns — a professional football team which currently resides at the University of Texas. I have made more impact on relationships by the manner in which I peddle those tickets to my employees than almost any other thing. I routinely hire a professional college admissions and aid person to assist the employees who have a high school age kid getting ready to go to college. I insist that when folks travel on business, they tack on a couple of extra days and have their wives and kids join them. I am careful not to allow this to become abusive but if Dad is in Florida, why not? I force people to forego work on their birthdays, anniversaries and spouse’s birthday. I always give the company off after Thanksgiving and wherever Christmas falls in calendar —- the adjoining days. I try to give the entire HQ off during the week between Christmas and New Years but it always instigates a huge row w/ the CFO and Controller. I haven’t lost one yet. Nobody does any work anyway. I give as many folks as I can justify a car —- always a big 3-5 year old SUV so they can survive a crash. Returning from the Rio Grande Valley one night with an employee with whom I wanted to chat for a long time, he hit the concrete median and did not even bruise the bags of grapefruit I had in his car. It was 85F in the RGV when we left and 16F by the time we hit San Antone. That was a real cold front. When your eyes are open, you can find ways to make folks be and feel special.

A VC: The N+1 Theory

JLM on keeping your employee talent happy

Tags: JLM
I paid a bit of tuition to learn this technique. Look at every business and make a 4 column table. Column one —- the list of business activities required in that business (management to marketing to finance to staffing to operations) Column two —- how it was done 10 years ago Column three —- how it is done now Column four —- how it should or could be done using a more “modern” technique Identify the “low hanging fruit” —- those things which can be done easiest and with the highest short term result —- prioritize Every quarter get one area “modernized” Brainstorm each proposed modification with the entire leadership. Understand what “brainstorming” truly is —- boundless creative thinking with no judgmental friction and keeping good notes. All the changes will be explored in the brainstorming. The second anyone says anything even remotely similar to what you have already identified, give him ownership of the idea and then execute. “This was Jim’s brilliant idea.” Repeat the process every year. This is a mechanical technique like fly fishing. I can teach anyone to fly fish if they can tell the difference between 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock.

A VC: The N+1 Theory

JLM comment on AVC brainstorming innovation in a company

Tags: JLM

Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind) (via mjdelaneyfilms)

This is flippin brilliant

Mark Ronson has a new album coming out which has got me playing Version again…this is “oh My God” with Lily Alan… this version of the Kaiser Chief’s song


"I think it’s even simpler. If you need to troll post-panel in order to succeed with your idea or business, you’re already doing something wrong and you’re already clueless about how to navigate through the influence jungle. The same way big publishers don’t read through the slush pile of books that come in without an agent. If you’re not good enough to get an agent, you’re not good enough for the editor to waste her time. It’s a self-disqualifying moment.

They should paint a big red circle around the table, and any stranger who walks into it to pitch uninvited is instantly categorized as not being fundable. Sad but true.”

Reply by JLM

"Wow, it’s easy to see how VCs enjoy such a great reputation for being approachable, friendly, affable and warm folks? Fabulous folks!

Hubris much?

The most powerful people in the world are those able to extend kindness not communicate smugness. I wonder if it would be offensive if a chap noted that another chap was a homely looking bald headed guy, with big glasses and Dumbo ears? Would that offend one much? As much as smugly stepping on the toes of some earnest naif by sniffing and observing —- “…you’re already clueless…”?

Take a risk, step outside of your own insecurity and give some chump a chance to get lucky.

Oh, yeah, get over yourself!”

A VC: The Panel Pile Up

I love this comment by JLM in response to Seth Godin on Fred’s site

There are two kinds of investors: Ron Conways who try to create value by finding good people and helping them create something great, and others, who want a piece of someone else’s things. The builders and the extractors. Avoid the extractors.
Reblogged from Fred Wilson Dot VC

The elevator pitch forms everyone’s first impression of your venture. It needn’t be a single sentence, but the delivery ought to be measured in seconds not minutes - like any good TV or radio commercial.

I know it sounds a little crazy, but I’ve come to believe that a clear, compelling elevator pitch is essential to growing a business. And I’ve paid dearly for the evidence.

— David Cowan - Bessemer (via brisbourne)
Reblogged from Nic Brisbourne