Silicon Valley is awash with capital so it’s cheaper than ever to start a company, hire people, and test concepts. But as Kleiner Perkins partner Randy Komisar recounts in his latest book Straight Talk for Startups, it’s very difficult to compete because starting a company is ‘easy for everybody.”
Komisar and Stanford management professor Bob Sutton led a lively conversation about how to beat the odds and succeed at growing a startup company Aug. 15 before about 120 Churchill Club attendees.
Komisar’s new book, co-authored by seasoned financial operator Jantoon Reigersman, offers 101 ‘rules’ tested in the fire of success and defeat – a reflection of the collective wisdom learned from decades of funding new companies and starting and running others. Surprisingly, more companies fail from indigestion than from starvation. Raising too much money can be a curse. “Ventures are a bit like goldfish: feed them too much and they will explode,” Komisar said.
The audience honed in on Rule 13: “manage your team like a jazz band” by encouraging improvisation where everyone has to stand out and blend in, pulling their own weight as individuals while taking cues from the other members about new opportunities to contribute. All in an atmosphere of willing to take risks.
“… encouraging improvisation where everyone has to stand out and blend in…”
“People who create great businesses, those who build things from scratch are unconventional,” Komisar said. “Treating them like conventional people limits them and will cause you to miss brilliance and genius.”
Check out the conversation about the value of avoiding scaling too fast and of encouraging creative friction.