Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars. He is a writer and speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship. He’s written a number of books as part of the Startup Revolution series and writes the blogs Feld Thoughts and Venture Deals. Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also an art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed 25 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.

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  • Excellence:
    • Honesty – Clear view of what’s going on with self and others
      • Transparency/Authenticity is overused
    • Confirmed process of learning – Hypothesis, clarity of thought around experimentation
  • Advice to a new manager:
    • Ask a lot of questions
    • REALLY LISTEN – Engage in conversations… Don’t just try to get the right answer
    • We have endless biases
      • “People defend their biases instead of questioning their biases.” –> Have a curious mind.
  • Curiosity:
    • His parents gave him positive feedback for being inquisitive… An exploration of new ideas. Brad loves to read and takes a digital sabbath every Saturday.
    • Approach new ideas with a Buddhist philosophy –> Let go of assumptions. Approach each topic with a beginner’s mind.
  • A founder who is an explorer — “Don’t get stuck as an investor by constantly asking questions. You need to want to deeply understand someone. It goes both ways. Literal answers aren’t enough.”
  • The role of the founder is “to collect people.” → Mentor side, peer side, employee side, customer side.
    • Engage with people. Create a ‘bi-directional’ connection. This has shifted over time for Brad. Think #GiveFirst
  • Life partner – Amy… They are equals. It’s important to acknowledge that. They almost split up after 10 years because Brad’s words were not matching his actions.
    • Prioritize what’s important and then follow through. If it’s important to you to spend time with your spouse, then do it.
    • Brad and Amy had to learn how to fight…
    • When their 13 year old dog died, it was devastating. Amy and Brad deal with tragedy differently. It’s important to understand that it’s OK for your spouse to deal with grief differently than you do.
  • Key Parts to building community:
    • The people in charge must be leaders
    • Must have a long term commitment –> 20 years+
    • Inclusive of anyone who wants to engage
    • Have events that engage people
  • Complex systems to how communities evolve –Complicated systems has more steps.
  • Goal setting – They tend to be too rigid. The time component can be a problem.
    • Brad prefers raid iteration. Better to have a hypothesis. If the hypothesis fails, learn it.
    • Eric Ries – Lean Startup
      • Rapid experimentation – Rapid learning is better
    • Vast majority of goals you set are not right in the future
  • Writing – “When I write, I learn.” Force yourself to write it down. Put it in public. Have an open mind to feedback.
    • “People get stuck in dogma when they don’t write things down. They don’t know why they believe in it.”
    • You can’t do this quickly. People don’t feel like they have time to think. That’s a problem.
  • The role of selling: Selling is crucial. You are selling all the time. Sales is a noble profession. Acknowledge it. Develop the skills to do it well. Everyone works in sales.
  • Here is WHY joining a Learning Leader Circle is a good idea…


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