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Tech Need Not Be Anti-Democratic

Today, the Wall Street Journal published a long article about how Tech companies are working to fight off activist investors.  The article is here.  The most popular tactics – undercutting shareholder democracy by granting founders stock with super-rights – are being promoted by luminaries such as VC investor Marc Andreessen, who said in April

Public companies are being basically forced by pressure from activists and their investors to give back huge amounts of cash instead of investing it in their business

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Once each quarter, I have lunch with students that took my VC Law class last summer. Today was the day for that lunch for this summer.  It is an opportunity for my former students to get together with one another and with me, and an opportunity for me to answer questions and provide some advice to them; in essence, to do some mentoring.

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Just Like a Barber Shop

I had a coach when I was in high school who had a particular phrase he loved to repeat.  Our drills often had two people compete directly against one another, with the winner of the competition taking on the next challenger, and the next, until someone was able to beat him.  Then that new winner would take on challengers.  The coach would watch the head-to-head competition and, when one had bested the other, yell at the top of his lungs “Next!  Just like a barber shop.”  He was making the point that there was no time to celebrate a victory or to rest – there was always the next competition requiring attention.

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Two-Way Teaching

When education works best, both the teacher and the student learn.  That is what is happening in my Venture Capital Law class this week.  This evening, I taught my students how a VC fund prospects for investments, does due diligence on potential investments, and negotiates a term sheet.  My students taught me about how entrepreneurial groups found companies and raise money in South Korea.  I found it quite enlightening.

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A Very Busy Week

As I wrote yesterday, I am teaching a version of my Venture Capital Law class this week.  The first session was today – all about how to create a VC fund, how to raise money for it, and the securities law issues involved.  Tomorrow will be finding investments and conducting due diligence.  Wednesday will be all about making the investments, building companies, and getting profits.

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Back to School

The preparation is all complete, and tomorrow I begin teaching my intensive three-day class in Venture Capital.  Instead of a full semester, I have organized the material into three days – organizing a fund and getting money; finding and making investments; and nurturing companies and getting to exits.  It will be a tiring three days for me and for my students.

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Power of Shared Experience

I had a very nice meeting this afternoon with my cancer surgeon.  He is working to improve the experience of patients at the Stanford Cancer Center and wanted to get my perspective as a former patient of what they do well and where they need to improve.  He wanted the benefits of shared experience.

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