Episode #291: Andy Rachleff – What Do You Uniquely Offer That People Desperately Want?

Andy Rachleff is a co-founder and Executive Chairman of Wealthfront. He had previously been the executive chairman of the company after stepping down as the CEO, but then returned to the CEO role on October 31, 2016. Rachleff co-founded Benchmark Capital in 1995 and was a general partner until 2004.  Prior to Benchmark, Rachleff was a general partner with Merrill, Pickard, Anderson & Eyre.  Andy has also joined the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business to teach a variety of courses on entrepreneurship.

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“What do you uniquely offer that people desperately want?”

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of sustaining excellence:
    • Intellectual curiosity — Pass this along to kids at the dinner table
    • Ask questions
    • “Bright people think other smart people ask questions.”
  • The leader creates the culture
  • “People model the behavior of the leader.”
  • “To be a great teacher, you have to synthesize something into small statements.  This helps you be a better leader.”
  • Magic 8 Ball statements
    • “A’s hire A’s. B’s hire C’s.”
  • Andy coined the phrase “Product market fit.”
  • “Hold a mirror up to the founder to be honest about product market fit.
    • “What do you uniquely offer that people desperately want?”
  • “People don’t listen to advice they don’t solicit.”
  • Negotiation: “Bruce Dunleavy is the best influencer I know because he never tells people what to do.  Put the gun in the other persons hand.
  • Value statement – “Give trust to get trust.”
  • Wealthfront – Deliver investment service that is completely automated
  • “It’s non-consensus.”
  • How they took their company from $0 to $12B in six years
    • It took 3 and a half years for product market fit
  • “Management is not for everyone.  People want to be led, they don’t want to be managed.”
  • “You must put the needs of others in front of yourself”
  • His superpower?
    • Dunbar’s Law — 150 people.  Creating layers of management
  • What do you do?
    • “Codifying content in documents.  Share in groups of 10.”
  • “The #1 job of CEO’s is create context for people who report to them”
    • “It needs to stick.  Codify important issues.”
  • What Andy looks for when hiring someone:
    • Track record of success. “You learn a lot from success professionally.  You learn more from failure personally.”
    • Trust your instincts – “If we don’t love someone, we don’t go forward.”
  • Life advice:
    • “Seek out experts.  Millennials mess this up.  They seek out friends, not experts.”
  • Why joining The Learning Leader Circle is a good idea
  • Use the “Get To Know You Document

“To be a great teacher, you have to synthesize something into small statements.”

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