You need to be best in class in some aspect for your business to stand apart
When Carter and I were starting M13, we knew the world didn’t need just another venture capital firm - and frankly the idea of building one wasn’t that interesting to us either. Starting a platform, with an approach that’s designed to evolve venture capital? That’s really exciting. We have to walk the walk, but the opportunity to have a different value prop for our companies and for the people joining our platform is something that energizes me every day.
Working with my brother has been one of the most rewarding parts of M13, and it’s all about trust. On top of that, we both motivate each other to be better and do bigger things. It’s usually unspoken, but I definitely don’t take that for granted.
One transformative experience, for me, was discovering that although we’d built VeeV into a successful brand, there wasn’t a lot of interest from buyers right away. It was a great reminder that a successful company doesn’t necessarily mean a successful exit it’s more complicated than that.
It wasn’t until the last three or four years of VeeV that I realized investing in industry relationships and being able to efficiently connect the dots was just as important as building a stand-out product. It was actually this process of “leaving breadcrumbs" going to industry conferences, listening to others’ impressions of VeeV, and making the time to connect that led to our acquisition, in the end.
It’s so easy to get stuck in the day-to-day, even the hour-to-hour. But one of the biggest things we’re focused on prioritizing is picking our heads up, looking at the big picture, then sharing those insights with our partner companies. When you’re able to connect the dots and to do it much more efficiently that translates into better, faster decisions for your business. And at the end of the day, it’s that accumulation of small differences, saved hours, and 1% betters that compound to create massive impact.
The best advice I’ve ever gotten is “(once you’ve been lucky enough to make some money) prioritize your time over your money time is the one thing we all have in common.”
In this new, bespoke world, you need to be best in class at something for your business to stand apart. Sure, you may need good accounting, but it’s not what drives the bus. So the way we see it is, if there’s a way to outsource that, to put it on set-and-repeat and focus on what you do differently or best, that’s where the opportunity lies to create real value for your business and that’s exactly what we created our platform of productized knowledge to do.
To me, the most exceptional founders won’t be denied, yet are also aware of the gaps in their skills or knowledge.
Simplify first, don’t add. We live in this world where everyone is trying to do more things and add more things to their plate. Nobody is really asking themselves “how can I subtract one thing and try to do what’s on the plate better?” We need more pruning!