Chris McCann's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Learning From Others – My Conversations With a Serial-CEO, Entrepreneur, Inventor, and Venture Advisor to Kleiner Perkins

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redwood california national park Photo by JennyHuang

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton

I’m not perfect, and sometimes I think I know more than others. This is a highly fallible position to be in, even with all the experiences I have been through it is still limited and I can always learn something for everyone. Depending on what school of philosophy you look to “true knowledge” is never attainable (or at least a very difficult thing to obtain) and given this viewpoint it is an individuals goal to be open to all experiences with no prejudices and biases.

Given this, one of the toughest personal traits to develop is humility and the ability to put one’s ego aside and learn from other individuals. It’s a very easy thing to say out loud that you are humble but its a very hard thing to internally convince yourself you are truly equal to everyone and to take the time to actually learn from all people.

Without getting to philosophical I had a very humbling experience this week after having lunch with Russell Bik who has by far one of the most impressive and experienced backgrounds of anyone I’ve met before. Russell Bik, is a Cal Poly grad, serial entrepreneurial (was on the early teams of Intel and Sun Microsystems), CEO of multiple Kleiner Perkin’s portfolio companies, and a venture adviser to the Kleiner Perkin’s fund.

During lunch I forced myself to put all preconceived biases aside and attempted to suck in every bit of knowledge he shared with me. We talked about a whole range of topics such as the startup vs. corporate lifestyle, best practices of teams, advisors, negotiation, and courage.

Here are a few of the lessons I took away that I want to share with everyone:

Startup vs. Corporate Life and Career Decisions (Which I’ve wrote about before here)

  • You don’t want your only work experience to be a string of failed startups
  • It’s good to have corporate experience with a growing company
  • Of course there are always exceptions to the rule (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc)
  • The reality is most startups fail
  • You don’t want to have just corporate experience though, you need a blending of entrepreneurship and corporate
  • The downside to corporate experience is you feel like you need to play in the proper channels/bureaucracy vs. in a startup culture you get things done no matter what

Working in Teams

  • Companies are all about the right mix of team members
  • Each discipline of the team (engineering, production, business) is all equal in taking the company to realization and need to be compensated as such.

Value of MBA’s

  • There are 2 main benefits to a MBA
  • You experience what is possible and you become not afraid to attain that reality
  • Develop relationships with other Alums from that school

Grades and School

  • Grades tend to fall once you experience the real world and understand the skills needed to compete in this environment


  • Listen to people who have been there and done it before, only the ones who have actually experienced that particular situation


5 Must Read Resources before Pitching Your Company

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How do I pitch my business to investors, the media, customers, and my friends and family?

It’s a question that’s been asked many times by entrepreneurs so while I’m not a Pro at Pitching Your Business I thought it was time to share a few resources I’ve used on Pitching Your Business Idea or Company.

  1. Perfecting your Pitch by Garage Technology Ventures – This is by far the number one resource I recommend to all the Innovation Quest and Cal Poly Business Plan Competition competitors. This is a very good and comprehensive resource on what content to put in your pitch and tips for effective pitching.
  2. How to Present to Investors by Paul GrahamPaul Graham has literally seen thousands of pitches through his summer incubator Y Combinator and knows a thing or two about pitching your company.
  3. A Hierarchy of Pitches by Eric Ries – Eric is a Venture Advisor at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the premier VC firm in the world. In this article he talks about 8 key questions you need to talk about in your pitch.
  4. Pitching Your Company by Dick CostoloDick Costolo started the company FeedBurner which was bought by Google for $100 million. In this article he talks about how to prepare for your pitch and things to do while pitching.
  5. What should I send investors? Part 1: The Elevator Pitch by Venture HacksVenture Hacks is one of my favorite all around startup/entrepreneurial resources and their article about pitching is no less. In this article Venture Hacks gives a real life example of a pitch by serial entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, dissects his pitch, and shows you how to write a pitch just as good as Marc’s.

6. UPDATE: I just watched this video: Picking Hacks at Stanford by Nivi from Venture Hacks where he gave a talk on pitching startups to the students in Stanford’s business plan competition. Check it out its a great resource and good addition to the list.

Before your next pitch give these pitching resources a try, share your experiences in the comments, and add more pitching resources that you used below!


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