Choose your partners carefully, especially your board and fellow founders.
Since this will be a long journey, you’ll need to find people who are truly aligned with your vision, knowing that when things get rough, you’ll be able to count on them to be part of the solution and not add to the burden. What’s more, you’ll need people who aren’t like you, to ensure diversity of opinion and productive brainstorming.
Fund raising is, of course, critical to the success of any company. The best advice I’ve ever received in that regard is to “raise when you can and not when you need.”
And a close second concerns management: “drive people to take decisions and let them learn from their mistakes.”
When I had to sign the documents for our first funding round, I was in the middle of a three-week backpacking trip with my family. I left the desert, went home to clean up, and met the lawyer to sign the documents. I then drove straight back into the wilderness to continue the hike.
I love mountains, preferably ones where it’s difficult to breathe. Being up there gives me some precious peace and quiet and helps put things in perspective. A long, silent walk allows you to think deeply about the future. Many times I’ve come down from a mountain with a new idea or a fresh understanding which has changed our products or processes.
We believe in giving people a lot of responsibility. We’re constantly asking them to come up with and implement new ideas. That culture can be summed up in three words: agility, accountability, and adventure.