Azure

Azure Capital. Dinner with Mike Kwatinetz and others of Azure Capital tonight — I knew of Mike while at Microsoft but this will be first in-person meeting. Really like some of their investments — hope we can work together.

Torvalds on Patents

Torvalds on Patents. Couldn’t agree more — LWN: Re: large page patch. I refuse to look at patent material when startups try to present their patent portfolio to us. In fact, any startup that leads their presentation to us with “we have this bank of patents” I view with great suspicion — I suspect they are simply seeding the world with info about their patent so that they can claim knowing infringement later.

Layoffs

Layoffs. They suck. Sometimes unavoidable in today’s capital markets but I am renewing my commitment to work like crazy to avoid them. The best way to avoid them is to keep headcount down down down early.

Biz plans

Business Plans. Saw a great business plan presentation this week. Crisp, to the point, fact based, clear demonstration of the distinctive assets of the company. Little in the way of hyperbole about the market, the product architecture. I think some companies must forget that, as a vc, I’ve seen literally thousands of plans and presentations (and thousands more in my life pre-vc). My patience for fluff is gone.

Please please hone your plans and presentations. Tell us about the key people on the team and why they are winners. Tell us about the real customer and product progress you’ve made so far, not what you wish will happen. Be honest about what you don’t know — be honest about the risks and unknowns in your plan, and tell us how you will adapt if plans don’t come true. Be a skinflint in your plans and needs. Focus wins — be clear about your focus.

Now I’d love to hear from folks about how I can be a better prospective investor, from the viewpoint of a startup…