Thursday, August 13, 2009

The clash of the different geometries ...

Miscommunication is a big issue. I would dare say that it’s kind of a minefield that is our own creation .. It begins a second after we make the first contact with a person and comes to an end with an impressive explosion...

Our biggest mistake is that, for no good reason, we almost always assume complete alignment in both sides’ expectations without trying to pick our partner’s brain in order to figure out what his expectations from us are. There is one thing, however, that we are in complete alignment with our partner on – he also doesn’t miss an opportunity to widen this expectation gap…. And there is no one out there to alert us of the coming clash.

There are many sources of miscommunications and they are mostly related to our different personalities. Squared personalities are likely to mis-communicate with liberal ones, and aggressive personalities will find hard time aligning expectations with passive ones. But this is easy to identify – we all know squared from liberal, and aggressive from passive.

But, what if they are very different, only they cannot realize it. Imagine to yourself that there is a kind of a personality gap that exists but that we are not aware of. Nobody has ever traced it, warned about it, investigated it…NOT EVEN FREUD!!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduced you to a new type of personality that we all share: The FULL CIRCLE versus the HALF CIRCLE personalities!!

Note - A behavioral guidance – when you read the coming analysis try to figure out which of the two personalities describe you best and at the same time try to figure out who your partner in life is. If you discover that you are of different types – as the Bono sings “we are one but we are not the same” – then you should be very happy because you may have just discovered the root-cause for many of your differences! If, on the other hand, you are of the same type, then I’m sorry but I can’t help you understand why your relationships look like shit…

So here we go…

We human are divided into two. Some of us are the ‘full-circle’ types, a self contained person that feels totally natural to be by himself. Yes, he needs a partner, yes he wants a partner, and yes he is in constant search for a partner. Absolutely! all true! ... BUT, until he has found his dream partner, he CAN survive without one. And, once he has found one, he wishes to continue living his life, shoulder to shoulder with his - hopefully full circle - partner.

The other side of humanity is comprised of the “half-a-circle” types – (no, its not full circles that got damaged during the delivery) - … Yes, they need a partner, yes, they want a partner badly, yes, they are in constant, almost religious, search for a partner… and yes it’s on the same scale as matters of national security for them to find their partner because they just cannot live without one. And once they have found the miserable creature, THEY DO NOT LET GO! They will move to almost physically integrate with their victim in order to create a one happy circle... and don’t give them this bullshit of living shoulder to shoulder! The Halves aren’t willing to compromise on anything less than starring one at the other from a zero distance for the rest of their lives. Nothing less intimate will satisfy their urge to integrate with another half and create a whole.

An interesting observation between the two types relates to the decision to let go of a partner. The full circle will naturally let go relatively quickly from a partner he lost chemistry with. The ‘half-a-circle’ types, on the other hand, will redefine the definition of ‘having a mutual chemistry with their partners’ to be – ‘im hanging on to this B..ST..RD, , until I can safely replace him with a proper upgrade’.

Imagine to yourself the unbelievable dance taking place when a “half-a-circle” and a “full-circle” are trying to make one each other his partner, not being aware of their different geometries: the Half joyfully makes two steps forward, way pass the comfort zone of the Full, who find this unexpected invasion to his personal zone a bit too intimidating. So he fixes this zone-invasion-problem by making a gentle step backward. Only problem is that by that he took the Half out of his comfort zone.... the Half is sure that the Full was making an innocent wrong move and kindly compensate with another step forward, the Full begins to be irritated and make another, bigger step backward.. the Half begins to suspect that there is nothing innocent about what is going on here and his next step is not gentle at all.. the Full.. the Half.. the Full and the half are pissed of off each other. They know why but for lack of proper terminology, they cannot properly explain their agony and they turn to the wrong places! If only they knew that one is a Half and the other is Full it could have saved them …

There is no single conclusion to this assay but there are a few action items:

1. Learn who you are
2. Learn who your partner is
3. Realize there is a difference..
3. Respect that difference!

actually, one conclusion: Live and let live.


Friday, January 23, 2009

'Made in....Earth'

One of the very few drawbacks of being ‘Made on Earth’ is that we live in a 24 hour cycle… it's not a coincidence that our internal cycle matches one-to-one with that of Mother Earth... We adapted ourselves, generations after generations to be powered by a 17 hour battery that needs 7 or so hours to recharge (with severe power falls after heavy lunch…). I even know a few people that are powered by a 7 hour battery that needs 17 hours to recharge. And this is not the entire bad news, it's even more problematic when you calculate how many hours out of the 24 hour frame are wasted on running the daily self-maintenance (we have to: sleep, eat, clean up, dress up, the t o i l e t s...), leaving a ridiculously low number of hours a day for the ‘real thing’ whatever it may be. It's true, that we have all learned to enjoy that maintenance part of our lives, and some of us claim vigorously that this IS the real thing (especially the sleep and eat part..), but let's face reality here, we are not a master piece for efficiency and automation.

It could have been worse you know, we could have been 'Made on Jupiter' for an example...can you imagine how it would have been to condense the whole daily drill (wake up, brush teeth, a little bit of toilet, get dressed, toasted bagel and coffee , drive to work, work a little bit, lunch, work a bit, drive back home, be with the kids, shower the kids, tell the kids a story, take the kids to bed, fall asleep with the kids in bed, wake up in the middle of the night feeling like a rag...) every 9.8 hours...? If you wake up a bit too late, you can just as well stay in bed and wait for the next day …

… On the other hand, had we been ‘made in Venus’ (ignore the temperature issue for the argument’s sake), we would have evolved to own a fine battery capable of providing this nice round number of 2800 hour (wire speed, non-blocking) daily operation. This of course would have had a striking effect both on our body, which would have to support such a long activity with a much stronger heart and muscles, and on our brain … and with our new BBB (Battery, Body and Brain) humanity could have been at an entirely different place now!

But lets go back to our planet for a second. Many of us, me included, have a larger battery than the others…and some of us (again me included) a much much larger one, maybe a 30 to 40 hour battery. On Earth this doesn’t help a bit. Au contraire! It’s purely bad luck! We, the Extended-Battery-Types, are still bound by the very rigid rules of Mom (Earth) that turns off the lights way too early for our taste, forcing us to bed in the middle of the action... Lacking a decent alternative - and reducing the spinning speed of Earth could definitely do the job - and in order to avoid this artificial Forced-Shut-Down, many of the Extended-Battery-Types will try to exhaust their battery by releasing energy - doing more things and faster, or be in more than one place at one time. This behavior is NOT welcomed by the Poor-Battery-Types… they will call the Extended by names, ‘restless’ ‘immature’, ‘childish’ to name a few, and by letters, ‘ADD’, ‘ADHD’ (attention deficit hyperactivity something…). But getting even with my school teachers is not the main purpose of my research here (just a side-benefit) and so…

...And so, evolution shmevolution... this 24 hour thing may be working on average but doesn't really fit a good part of us! Lets assume that there was a way to control the pace of the rotation of Earth. We could put it on High (meaning an 18 hour daily rotation), on Medium (meaning a 24 hour rotation) or on Slow – I wish I wish I wish (a 36 hour rotation). This would definitely have an effect on our productivity as a Globe, but even more clearly, this would have a major reviving effect on some of us and a devastating affect on others… Although this is only theoretical, I bet that it would have caused a real debate among different parties who would furiously advocate why we should set the speed of Earth on High, Medium or Slow…

My only conclusion here is that each one of us has his own battery and internal clock, and this is true for individuals just as it is true for organizations. If we follow our own pace and not what is expected by others with different batteries, and if we let those around us follow their pace and not ours… we may get away from changing the speed of Earth and still reach similar results…

By the way, just a strange thought (for a change), this also means that one day when aliens will visit us, they will probably come from a very large, slow rotating star… and they will not only be much smarter than us. They will also be much, much bigger (I mean m u c h!), which is a splendid news for you girls, but kind of an irritating thought for the male side…


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shy Venture Partners

Take a look at some of the names we VCs give to our funds. We cannot be blamed for treating this issue lightly… lots of different names but still a common theme – we go after the romantic-slash-heroic-slash-aggressive-slash-assertive impact.. We can associate ourselves with shiny, shiny stars (Polaris, Norwest, Gemini and Star Ventures), with real BIG and old trees (Sequoias or Eucalyptus go well here).. with sexy locations (Highland, Carmel, Valhalla, Menlo) or other unique qualities that not surely mean much but definitely sound good – Accel, Benchmark, Genesis.....

One VC I kind of know personally went as far as naming itself after a tiny, tasty, red fruit, that is hidden – so the story tells – behind big leaves, a search for sweetness that resembles the VC process in identifying winners.... so hidden is that Pitango fruit that not too many people know its even there…

One fund has simply listed the names of its partners.. they call themselves Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, or in short - KPCB. By the way, same initials can also apply to Kalish, Peres, Crocker and Beracha… although I admit that the original version sounds somewhat better..

So It happens that we VCs are not shy.. and we choose our names according to our egos/claimed added value.. Whether close to reality or not, one must admit that these names also sound not bad at all – you wouldn’t like to raise money from ‘Petach Tikava Ventures’, ‘Tiny Bush Ventures’ or ‘I Am High Ventures'. Would you?


Monday, May 07, 2007

Choosing a Board of Friends

I want to talk a little bit about the board of directors of a company.

It all begins because you have a dream. You want to be the commander of a spaceship, just like Captain Jean-Luc Picard. You want to design and build the kind of a spaceship that has never been seen before, and you want to take your ship with the help of your loyal crew (this exact team that you actually haven’t started recruiting yet..) to a place “where no man has ever gone before… ( at least not voluntarily..)” .

You know what you need to do, because you are a one hell of a person. It’s really not complicated…All you’ve got to do is:

1. Raise money to build ship (and it comes together with a board member, for free..)

i. Build team of ship designers and builders
ii. Design ship (report to and consult with your director)
iii. Build the damn ship..
iv. Consult, report, discuss open issues with your one-man-board
v. Solve expected problems..
vi. Solve unexpected problems (consult with Director #1)

2. Raise more money – this time for team building and equipment: you will need low calorie food, red and blue laser weapons, atomic fuel, cool black flights vest, tiny communication buttons you put on the cool flight vests, Oxygen, entertainment to employees…) (Director #2 joined in)

i. Continue building team –you know.. Science Officer Data, Strategic Operations Officer Commander Worf, Chief Engineer La Forge, Chief of Security Tash, Chief Medical Officer Beverly.
ii. Launch the God-Damn ship…
iii. Consult, report, discuss the issues with your two-man-board
iv. Solve expected problems in flying ‘this-thing-that-doesn’t-look-like-a-ship-yet’ for the 1st time..
v. Solve unexpected problems in flying the ship for the 1st time ..
vi. Solve some more unexpected and apparently insolvable problems…
vii. Get ready to raise more money (consult with Directors #1 and 2 )

3. Raise more money – (welcome Director 3 and 4 ) -you need more of everything (the whole list… plus some value-size packages of Valium pills)

i. Things are going slower than expected (and that’s the good news..),
ii. You lost 18 months because you were going the wrong direction…
iii. You and your amazing team discover new facts which require building new functionalities,.. or changing course,.. or changing mission..
iv. You still need to solve same unexpected problems mentioned in paragraph 2.a.i.1.a.i above..

4. Raise more money…you are not there yet.. although you are getting there.. slowly.. very..(Director..)

So, you suddenly find yourself, 2 or 3 years down the road with a new creation… and NO, its not the ship.. it’s something that, frankly, wasn’t on your ‘to-do’ list, but its very much there right now and its not going away any time soon: “WELCOME TO YOUR OWN BOARD OF DIRECTORS”… please try to enjoy the ride.. and don’t look for emergency exits…because on THIS ship there aren’t any …

There are many types of boards: one of them is the functioning board… an even worthier kind is the ‘Fun ‘nd Functioning board’. And then there are the rest of them … with one common denominator grouping them all together: These are the ‘Neither Functioning Nor Fun boards’. At that stage of your adventure you begin to realize the importance of ‘Fun ‘nd Functioning board’.. either because you are so lucky and smart to have already built one, or because you are neither lucky nor smart…

So there you are, flying your space-ship ten thousand light-years away from home, with your tired but very loyal and still motivated crew around you, together fighting the bad creatures, overcoming challenges and dealing with uncertainties... and you need help, a lot of it: you need moral help, you need faith, you need resources and you need a calm group of people that will help you analyze the situation and make the right decisions fast (as opposed to slow decisions, or no decisions, slow..). This is where you begin to realize that matters such as ‘brand name’, ‘contact list’, and even the so called ‘experience in the relevant space’, although important, …. are absolutely not sufficient in choosing your board members, and, frankly, not even mandatory.

Talking about mandatory: personal chemistry cannot be replaced with anything unless you are the masochist type (happens); you want your board to talk the same language, to trust you and share your vision and to be ready to do whatever is required to get there; you want your board to be calm and not hysterical; to be supportive and not judgmental; to be quick and responsive and not tedious, to have big balls and not to vanish when the going gets tough;

In short, you really want the individuals on your board to become a one coherent, unified, functioning, mentally durable, and positive small team of friends.. (by the way, the Pitango partners are known for being not only that, but also spontaneous, and good-looking with a great sense of humor…). And you expect this group of friends to be your primary resource of energy, mental support, attention and patience, advise and guidance and..ah yes, to be able to put as much money as required to pull that thing off the ground. In times, you would also expect them to be there and help you hear the truth..

You want and you want and you want….. so what to do? Bottom line is that selecting and then managing your board is a very serious aspect of your business. You must be aware of it and you must take ownership on doing that. No one, except for you, can or should, build the composition of your board, and no one except for you should manage it.

I asked one of my more experienced CEOs, Israel Mazin, the founder of Optier, to give his input on the issue and here is what he came with:

1. “ Take partners/board members that you have chemistry with and have the same vision for the company.
2. Have experienced board members in the company space.
3. The CEO needs to lead the board and be the coordinator between the board members and try to build a board consensus around the moves he is planning.
4. He must keep the board members informed and updated all the time (good and bad news).
5. He should make sure he has behind him strong, big, rich and experienced VCs”.

A few more tips in choosing your board:

Keep your board small! it takes less time listening to what 5 distinguish board members have to say about the same all-ready-agreed-upon-non-important-matter than to listen to 9 distinguished...

Conduct due diligence on your potential investor – talk with others he invested in. one question that is worth asking is “Is he the 1st director you choose to call with bad news or is he the ‘I just-want-the-good-news’ guy”..

The philosophy of the fund behind your board member is not less important (issues like – backing and supporting portfolio companies in tough times; ability to support the more aggressive vision of creating a big company). Make sure that you know what it is and that it suits your attitude.

Size, size, size… matters, matters, matters! If you want to go big, make sure your board members (and the funds they are representing) can support it, both vision and resource wise.

Build a small core group of board members that begin from day one, and add to them along the way other investors that will join that core group and will accept its way of working. Do not! Do not make this pity-full and miserable mistake that does happen every once in a while, of not getting along too well with your board of directors and then falling in love with the new investor/board member, hoping that he will save you from your misery. 1st of all, he will not! 2nd, you piss your entire board, and 3rd, you didn’t solve the problem.

1st director on board is the most important one… so call: 1800-my-1st-board member.. Or u can also try my office number 09-9718121.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Crossroads to Better Places

A crossroad is a decision point… a decision point is an opportunity to make a change… which in turn, is a chance to improve things… and ‘improving things’ is a humanity mission statement… Not true?

So, if this is basically true, why are we all so afraid of crossroads? So scared that when we reach one, we only want to be past it, even at the cost of making a wrong decision… Apparently, people feel much safer when their destiny is not in their hands. There is a good feeling in driving between two concrete walls that take you somewhere… not-sure-where… doesn’t- matter-where…….

What is a Crossroad

... A crossroad is usually a state of mind – a result of your decision that a change is a smart move and the timing is right. Unlike driving on the highway, a crossroad in real life is custom made; you just need to ask for one and it’s there…. Only thing… if you are not sensitive enough to get yourself to the right state of mind in time, you will either- (the better option) - hit a wall one day, or in the worst case, just drift into a very long side road that leads, at best, to an ok destination… which may be perfectly fine for some of us, all depending on our “life hunger”.

A serial entrepreneur, that I respect a lot, told me once that he was really upset with his previous investors, because they did not stop funding him when they should have, and it caused him to waste 3 irreplaceable years of his life. This is a good example of how both sides were not strong enough to create a crossroad. They preferred to put in even more money, time, and most importantly, opportunity cost (the cost of not being able to do other things because you are busy doing this) for the ‘luxury’ of postponing the inevitable. I guess it was convenient not to call the change, because together with the blessed change, comes also the fear of uncertainty (for him) and the admittance of failure (for both)…

The Chosen Ones…

So rare are those among us that reach the realization that they are actually in a crossroad without the urge to fight it, ignore it or delay it. Quite the contrary, they say to themselves “Hey, I have just reached a place where major roads cross each other…I can choose to continue straight ahead, but I can also choose to continue left-ahead or right-ahead.. OR EVEN BACK-AHEAD.... This place is a gift, a place where time stops for me… Now let’s sit down and relax.... Have a couple of drinks... Enjoy the moment (and make sure it lasts more than just a moment)!...weigh the opportunities and make good decisions” (and going straight ahead just because of the inertia is NOT considered one).

The Rest of Us..

Someone told me once “I have made my choices... and I’m not changing them”... Well, this is one way to look at it… the well known “I’m-satisfied-with-where-I-am-because-this-is-where-I-am-STUCK” approach…. And let me add to this line of thinking – “and I’m willing to eat a considerable amount of shit and still make myself believe things are perfect … because the alternative is to look for the next crossroad, or, God forbid, to create a crossroad OF MY OWN...” And my answer to that person would be –“ would you have made the same exact decision again now without any hesitations? Or would you like to sleep on it for a day or two, if you only could…

One Question to Ask

The big question that we should never stop asking ourselves, on a constant basis, is:

Is the future fixed for us…unchangeable and tied to decisions we have made a long time ago when our mind and other parts of our body were busy in more important stuff??

Let’s be blunt, we have made the most crucial decisions that are going to have a major impact on our lives when we were extremely young, absolutely inexperienced, very naive, and had no clue what it means to be what we decided we want to be, where we want do it, and with who..….. and I’m talking major decisions like - what we are going to do over the next 40 years; or choosing our partners in business; or who we wish to live with for the next three-quarters of a century...

Now tell me, is it 15%, 10% or less? ...I mean, the chances that we have made the best and most optimal decision for us when we took the first step toward a certain direction and since then never looked back?

It took me 10 seconds to decide I want to study law (knowing that I do not wish to actually practice law) and 10 years to get the hell out of there… and I was planning this crossroad that will take me elsewhere for 6.5 years (in my 3.5 years in University I can’t recall thinking much….) I feel that I am very lucky, and relative to the rest of us, also quite fast….

The way I see it, the decision to go straight ahead – stay the course – can’t be put in automatic mode, simply because the consequences of making a wrong-straight-ahead-decision are just as dramatic as a wrong-left/right-decision and the likelihood of falling asleep while walking straight ahead are by far, higher!!. The only way to make the straight-ahead-decision correct, is TO MAKE THAT DECISION.

For me, there is only one decision maker, my intuition. And this intuition of mine has very few, very basic activation rules:

1. Work with your intuition; put fear behind.

2. Intuition is the bottom line of our entire experience until today – we must learn to trust it.

3. Fear is the substitute of the intuition that we still haven’t gained… and the one that we will never gain if we allow fear to get in our way…

4. The best way to optimize our intuition is to use it, to do, to act, to make decisions and to learn from good moves as well as from bad ones

To do’ means also to decide not to take any action. ‘Not taking any action’ just because fear stops us from doing something our intuition tells us is right, means not to live right……..

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Magnificent Crisis..

We all have our lifestyle – I have mine. I like my lifestyle a lot.. As a matter of fact, also other people like my lifestyle .. :-) – so it must be a good thing.. this lifestyle of mine.

I have a T-shirt which best describes my lifestyle. It says– ‘Work hard, party harder’…. I do work hard (just for the record) and while I’m not a party animal, I’m a many-things-addict .. and just-doing-nothing is not one of them..

I was really proud of my lifestyle, when I recently discovered that my precious, restless, life style has a mental definition… it’s called The Middle Age Crisis…... God forbid…..

You know, it’s that weakness that follows the realization that this no-big-hit person that is staring at you, is actually looking in the mirror...

So after you get over the immediate trauma, the next phase is the determination that something must be done and NOW! 'I must look young and good again', you think to yourself .. and the fact that you actually never looked too good... is not really relevant!

So the next step after the joyful purchasing phase – the latest road or mountain bicycles, dry-fit clothing, cool footware, and cutting edge survival gear – is the necessary evil... working out, running, biking, swimming, mountain climbing, triathlon, surfing… everything goes.. as long as $15,000 later, I will look 3,650 days younger...

It feels like everybody around me is in this crisis now – it’s the next big thing.. real trendy! As a matter of fact, I don’t believe there is anyone among people I know that looks 40 (except for my mother..). People either look under 39, or above 60 – nothing in between…

… There is one thing for sure – it’s a wonderful crisis that I have no intention of solving…unless I’m promised another real worthy crisis in return..

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Risk mitigation - the rules of crossing deserts

Being involved in a start-up sounds extremely romantic…well, everything that is not realistic is romantic…Our business is to find the crossing point between romantic and economic…

For me, founding or investing in a start-up is as romantic as committing to join a very, very long and dangerous mission to explore a legendary land that happens to be exactly on the other side of a hostile, unexplored desert. It gets even more complicated than that because this promised land, if it exists at all, will allow only a few to pass through its gates and, since the demand for miracles and other romantic rewards is always more than the supply… there are other 'brave' teams trying to do just that... cross the same desert for the NO-promise that one of the teams may... maybe... get in.

The bad news, most of the teams won’t make it. The good news, there is a big graveyard very close by with plenty of room for everybody….

So, when I’m meeting with young and eager entrepreneurs looking for money, I cannot escape the thought that these guys are actually trying to pull me into to joining them on such a trip... The second thought that strikes me immediately afterwards is “are they aware of this desert thing or do they think it’s actually a day trip across Central Park....?” I’m a bit reluctant to jump in on the opportunity to go on the next desert trip because I have been through similar deserts enough times and much fewer times on the other side… and getting stuck in this desert thing is not romantic at all (and definitely not economic…). I know!

So although my default position is that I'm perfectly OK with staying on this side of the desert (after all THIS IS the Promised Land...) I will definitely join some trips, when I think that the opportunity, people and timing are right. But I have learned my lessons and keep learning them every day - after all a VC has a distributed soul, and my miserable soul is distributed among multiple deserts as we speak…

Here are my rules and realizations for crossing deserts:

A. Challenges. On each venture there are a given number of unknowns – which we like to call ‘challenges’ … the external challenges, those that we cannot influence but if we are fairly good, we CAN predict (a good example would be the whole issue of standardization in a certain market), and internal challenges, those that we can influence and we better predict... (e.g., development risks).

The higher the number of the external challenges, the more we-better-think-twice about this whole if the need is not clear, the market timing and size are a big question, and we are in the cloud regarding the technology direction that the market will adopt, then, maybe we better stay where we are for a while or just go kite surfing…

B. Resources. The longer the route is, the more resources required and the less likely we will be able to make it. Also, in each worthy desert there are a few Oasis’s where we can equip ourselves with food, water, and money from later stage investors!

So what we want to do is, first of all, plan on a SHORT route, the kind of route that will get us to a real milestone quickly. And second, understand from day one what resources are required along the way – between one oasis to another AND ‘til breakeven.

Also, we really do not want to zigzag our entire way to nowhere-land… Unfortunately, zigzagging is inevitable- at least in the beginning. But, if we gather the right intelligence, create the right plan and more than anything, stay tuned to noises from the desert/market and act on them immediately, we are less likely to zigzag and increase our chances to get ‘there’, or at least somewhere, with our planned resources.

C. Edge. We can do everything right and still come in last (or second, same thing...). So apparently, it’s not enough to do it right. We also must do it better than the others.. (The bad news - these others all have the same line of thinking...). This means that we must do everything possible in order to build an edge, and this edge is all about people and the resources required in order to get them. It’s clear that in our adventure we want the best navigators, the best technician and the best cook… and we need them from the start! It should be the same in a start-up:

1. Take enough money at earlier stages to exercise the right plan (and yes, its more dilutive to take money in the beginning.. painfull, i know..) .

2. Bring the best people you can get from day one! (and try to bring only those that are better than you... we shouldnt have a problem here ;))

3. Build the right Board. Choose your investors carefully (Pitango may be a good place to start…), not only brand quality-wise but mainly personal chemistry-wise – they are going to constitute your Board and you want to have a Board that talks the same language.

D. Resource allocation Optimization. Since the challenge is multi-dimensional - both against time/resources and against competition, we need to use all our resources carefully. We don’t want to waste them when it’s useless to, and we do not want to spare them when its time to hit the gas.

The one resource I find people most sensitive about is their equity stake in the company. Hitting the gas means spending money, which means raising additional money, which means dilution, which means “less money in my pocket at the Exit…”. This is true… but we must compare it to the alternatives. …It’s like those gold miners that get stuck in the desert with a pile of gold and will not give some of it for water…the gold is precious only once you are on the other side of the desert but it won’t help you get there– the water will …

E. The ability to go back. Tactically it’s shorter, less resource consuming and safer to stop… think… and then go back a few steps… but mentally, it is so difficult. People prefer to correct a little bit to the right and then again and again…. The ability to go back will increase our chances to move forward in the right direction.

There are times when we want to go back. Period…and the sooner the better.

F. the What-were-we-thinking test. We all make wrong moves all the time. There is one kind of wrong moves that I can live without - the one that when I look backward I say – “what the hell was I thinking then...”

So, before making a decision to go on another desert trip, I try to envision myself a few years later, looking back on my decision…