Listening

Rebecca’s Blog — great tips on how to really listen, and a great set of links. One of my business partners, Jon Roberts, is a great listener — he constantly reminds me “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

The Power Lunch — how soon people forget

The Powering Up of the Power Lunch — here we are, still indicting and prosecuting executives who have abused privilege during the last go-go surge of capitalism, and yet some people are already back to their old ways — living a very privileged life. Maybe it is their own money they are spending, but I would imagine that a lot of people look at the power lunches and other trappings of power and don’t feel warmly toward these folks.

QFC and the food bank

This time of year I really appreciate QFC’s support of the needy — they make it incredibly easy to pick up a prepackaged $5 or $10 bag of groceries for the local foodbank. Every time I am in the store I grab one of these bags, it is a great and easy way to provide some help.

Have an Agenda

Great counsel here — The Sells SpoutThe idea is, no matter what projects you work on, no matter what groups you go to, no matter what tasks you’re into that day, to have an underlying agenda that pushes you forward and drives your decisions. Somewhat a corollary of one of my favorite quotes by Socrates — An unexamined life is not worth living.

Jawad Khaki

Congrats Jawad on your national award.

I remember vividly my first business trip with Jawad. We were down at 3Com. In the middle of the meeting, he excused himself, pulled his prayer mat out of a bag, oriented himself in the conference room, performed his devotions, and then rejoined the meeting. I was so impressed with this — someone who had such confidence in and commitment to their values. I have been a huge fan of Jawad’s ever since.

Hunger at Thanksgiving.

Hunger at Thanksgiving. I heard from friends back in Marion that 1000 free meals were served yesterday from just one church for the holiday. Multiply this by the number of active churches, organizations, shelters, etc, and that is a pretty phenomenal number of meals for a town with a population of 35,000, in a county with a population of 66,000.

It is saddening that so many people need help — but I am glad there are so many people back in Marion who are helping out.

When I stopped at QFC this am, i bought one of their pre-packaged bags of groceries for the food bank. Something I intend to do every trip to the market from now on.

HBR Article

HBR Article

Good article on corporate social responsibility in the HBR this month. Unfortunately the web site won’t let you read it, you have to buy it or buy a copy of the mag. Worth reading tho.

Ignition Values

Ignition Values

I’ve spent a lot of time recently with some of my partners talking about the values for our little company. I’m kind of proud of the statement we have come up with. I thought I’d share.

Our Mission: To help outstanding entrepreneurs build the world?s greatest technology companies

Our Values: To achieve this we will?
Act with integrity
. Treat team members with respect
. Earn and retain entrepreneurs? trust
. Stay true to what we promise investors
Maintain commitment
. Support our team members
. Cultivate long term entrepreneur relationships
. Build durable investments with superior returns
Keep learning
. Develop a culture of continuous team learning
. Engage constructively with every interaction
. Foster continuous improvement across investments
Stay focused
. Keep the team tightly knit with clear expertise
. Help entrepreneurs with their top priorities
. Always drive for outstanding results

Our Goal: To be the best VC to invest in and work with in North America

Icebergs

Icebergs

L brought home a paper last week on the “Iceberg” analogy for teams. How just a little bit of an iceberg peeks above the water, but it has a whole huge structure supporting its exposed surface, and how that whole structure is necessary for the top of the iceberg to achieve its height. And in teams — every player is important and contributes to the success of the team, even the players on the bench.

I love the Iceberg analogy for teams. Let me extend it!

Life is long. During our lives we will get to be on literally thousands of teams. Sports teams. Teams working on a lab problem or school project. Teams working on projects at church. Working as part of a community group. Working as a member of a nonprofit board. At the workplace as part of a project team. As part of a special project taskforce. A family working together on housework, on vacation planning, on holiday preparations, on the everyday tasks of housekeeping. For fun as part of a choir or stage production.

Literally your entire life will be spent as part of teams. There are very few truly solitary endeavors in life.

Our position on each of these teams will be different. Sometimes we will be a leader because of our experience and competence in the subject area. Sometimes we will be a learner because of relative inexperience. Sometimes we will get the public spotlight as the face of the team. Sometimes we will toil away in relative obscurity. And most often we will be doing all these each day — part of one team in the morning at work, a different in the afternoon, yet another in the evening at home or in the community.

We will all get to experience the full range of roles. Some of these roles will be amazingly gratifying. Some will be less fulfilling. But no on is on top of the iceberg their whole life, we will all get our turn on the top and on the bottom.

The true measure of our self worth is not where we are in the iceberg. We are going to be in different places at different times in our lives.

The true measure of our self worth is how we comport ourselves as we fulfill our role. When we are at the top — do we express humility and thankfulness, do we try to teach others the way up, do we show understanding and compassion for those in other roles? When we are at the bottom — do we seek to understand the strengths of those above, do we seek to learn from them, do we strive hard knowing that the other roles will be strengthened if we work our hardest?

Emotionally it feels better to be at the top. But in the words of someone I once worked with, “Success is a lousy teacher”. I probably have learned the most in my life from some of my time spent elsewhere in the iceberg.