Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Angsuman Dutta, Yeshim Deniz, Harry Trott, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Cognitive Computing , CRM

Agile Computing: Blog Feed Post

Broken VCs Aftermath

The vast majority of VCs are either neutral to the value of your business or in fact do actual harm

Venture Capital Blog on Ulitzer

Apparently (apparently!), I have said something that hit a nerve.  When I posted my thoughts on the whole issues as to whether or not the VC model was broken, I had no idea that it would be the most popular post I have ever written (and it’s not even noon on day 2).  Crazy.

Predictably, some of my VC friends showed up to the conversation to point out that 1) am angry, and 2) that the “good” VCs don’t have associates.  First, I am not angry.  It’s easy for the VCs and their ilk to cast those aspersions, but the reality is that they have a fantastic business model, and they are going to fight to the death to protect it.  Second, the venture firm that completely blew me up at my last company has no associates.  One day I will tell that story, but even firms with only partners can behave badly.

image

I certainly don’t want to over-generalize an entire industry, but I can say that the vast majority of VCs are either neutral to the value of your business or in fact do actual harm.  I would go so far as to say that 10% of VCs are net positive, 70% are neutral, and 20% actively destroy value in the firms in which the invest.  As I quipped on Hacker News, partners in VC firms tend to practice what I call seagull management: the fly in, make a lot of noise, crap all over everything, and leave.

While the title of my first post included the associates, the bulk of the content was around what was wrong with the incentive structure and funding process.  The information asymmetry which has existed between those seeking capital and those who have it make it so that those seeking it are at an extreme disadvantage.  Further, those people funding the VCs (the pension funds, fund of funds, family offices, etc), have no incentive to hold these guys accountable so long as they continue to produce out-sized returns.  With sites like The Funded and pervasiveness of blogs, it’s now easier than ever for people to share their information about their funding processes.  Interestingly, I am hoping more and more information begins to find its way to the net as to how much money VC firms are actually making, how that persists over time, and the stacking effect which comes from raising multiple funds.  Many, many, many entrepreneurs simply don’t understand this, and if they did, they would have a far different perspective on where the interests of venture firms lay, and the likelihood that their interests and the VC firm’s interests are aligned.  The more time I spend thinking about Paul Graham’s model with Y!Combinator, the more I like it – very entrepreneur friendly.

Someone asked me in a direct message on twitter “how VCs add value?”  I think first and foremost they help you make your job easier.  If that means making connections to potential business partners, or identifying and recruiting talent, or thinking through potential stumbling blocks of your model – those are all good things.  Where the VCs break down is when they start taking their hammer and smacking everything with it.  There are many VCs who are afraid to say “I don’t know.”  They want to prove to you how smart they are or justify their existence.  Worse is when they prevent you from taking an action (I don’t know, say like the sale of your company which would net the founding team lots of cash) because it doesn’t help them hit the returns they need to justify their fees to their investors.  The scale of what “lots of cash” means to a first time entrepreneur and an seasoned VC are orders of magnitude different, and that has a direct impact on what would be meaningful in your life versus what’s meaningful in theirs.

I actually speak on the topic of getting bullied by investors and board members in an interview I did with Andrew at Mixergy.  I spent an hour speaking with him about my experiences at my last funded business, and he should have it up later this week.  There are a lot of lessons in that interview which I hope will be invaluable for entrepreneurs looking to raise money, get started, or even if you have already raised money.  I made a lot of mistakes, and I would love for others to learn from them.

In an effort to share those mistakes, I am going to be launching my community book project.  The working title is “The Failing Point: Hard Earned Lessons About What Not To Do” and I will be posting an essay a week from the book that I am writing.  Each essay will be titled in such way as to finish the sentence “Under no circumstances should you…”  Here’s the first essay from the Getting Started chapter.

The book is meant as the anti - “do this and you will be a millionaire” book.  It’s a set of essays on topics related to getting started, creating a product, building your team, starting the business, raising money, driving revenue and operating the business.  They say you learn the most from your mistakes.  I hope to take the mistakes I have made (a lot of them), and those I have seen made at companies for which I worked, and put them into digestible format for the entrepreneurial community.  I don’t have all the answers or a formula for success, but I hope I can help people looking to succeed with their business.

What I am hoping to get from the community is feedback, and for people to share their own stories in the comments.  If the content resonates with you, fantastic.  If you think I am full of it, tell me.  That’s the only way it will get better.  The content will be online, free of charge, and when the book is done, I will make a hard copy available for sale.  For now, I will have a category link here to “The Failing Point", but very soon I will have a separate site built out for the content.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Brandon Watson

Brandon Watson is Director for Windows Phone 7. He specifically focuses on developers and the developer platform. He rejoined Microsoft in 2008 after nearly a decade on Wall Street and running successful start-ups. He has both an engineering degree and an economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an MBA from The Wharton School of Business, and blogs at www.manyniches.com.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...