What are you most excited about teaching?
I am most excited about people working quickly and efficiently and leanly to get stuff done. I am very excited about people who are problem/solution oriented. I want this... the world could be better and I will make it so. I find that incredibly inspiring in every form. I'm also unabashed fans of the founders. I think they're awesome guys and they're getting it done, and they care so much about making the world a better place through technology. And that's interesting. It is fundamentally interesting to me.
What's your take on school and the value of learning entrepreneurship?
I am the kid of academics who don't even like know how to use smart phones. The technology couldn't be further away from what I was sort of born and raised in, and I am very much a self-learning student. I am a voracious reader. I am very aggressive in bending the ears of my mentors and I've learned a thing or two about people who know so much more than I do. I've reached the stage in my career where I feel almost who I know and what lessons they've sort of given me is far more important that what I've learned myself. But as a student, there are lessons and there are themes and there are case studies that I think you can talk through, about, you know, channel partner strategy versus going direct. I mean I've lived it now, and I think if you can kind of put it up on the board and help people understand the types of decisions they're eventually going to have to make, going into it with a little more time to think and a little less pressure, than the moment you need to make a decision, they're going to be better off. But there are so many mistakes one can make, and not every business is so new that people haven't come before you and make those mistakes already. So why not save yourself some skinned knees and take a lesson or two.
Why would learning how to grow and scale a company matter before you have a sustainable business? Are those skills relevant and valuable still?
Well I think you'd say, "Why? When I'm just trying to get a 1.0 product out the door, would I think about scale?" and there are lessons about being a manager or building culture that can help even if you're just working by yourself, working one on one. The ideas of learning to trust and delegate are the same as learning to go to peers in industry, competitors, mentors that you have and ask for advice and listen. Learning how to be a good coach, you work with vendors or partners or people you want to be able to make your product available. All those skills of getting consensus, of organizing and communicating your mission, whether they're employees or people the 1.0 days, those skills are transferable.
How do you feel teaching alongside Troy Henikoff?
I love Troy. I love Troy Henikoff. He is my mentor, he's why I'm at Jellyvision. We go way, way back and I think that we'll make a good team and we'll certainly have a lot of fun. But I don't know if there's anyone more giving or better about working through a term sheet, you know, advising start ups than Troy. I'm a huge fan.