The “Oh Shit” Board Meeting

I was at a gathering of most of Canada’s VC fund managers a few weeks ago in Vancouver. One of the fund managers talked about something I have seen firsthand. He referred to it as the “oh shit” board meeting.

This meeting is typically the first meeting after the funding round has closed. No longer having to sell and spin, the management team can speak candidly about what’s going well and more often, what’s not.

Fundraising is a delicate balancing act. Investors generally discount your projections, which creates a temptation to inflate them (and the discount because companies inflate. It’s a vicious circle). But, they can get upset when you miss your projections. What do you do?

If you create realistic projections, you run the risk of investors still discounting them, assuming you’re not a high growth business, and passing. If you pump up your forecasts, then you run the risk of inflating expectations and not meeting them. Continue reading The “Oh Shit” Board Meeting

The two keys to a great meeting

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No one likes meetings, yet we always seem to be in them. Given this reality, how do we get the most out of them?

The blogosphere is littered with thoughts on this topic. I won’t reinvent them here. However, as a surivor of years of meetings, I have distilled that pain into two keys to a great meeting: Continue reading The two keys to a great meeting

Should founders get Stock Options?

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Founders often ask me whether they should be asking for stock options in their own company. Some of them feel sheepish for asking. Some feel entitled. There’s no one right way to think about founder incentive compensation, but here’s how I have approached it over the years.

The Early Days

Anyone can start a company. And in the beginning, what you have is not even a company yet. I see startups having three distinct phases: Continue reading Should founders get Stock Options?