"Did you learn anything useful in VC?"

It’s been more than a year and a half since I left Bessemer to join Pinterest (not to mention blogged!). Since then, I’ve taken quite a few meetings and phone calls from junior VCs or MBAs asking about my transition from VC to operating. By far, the most common question I get from this bunch is something along the lines of “Did you learn anything actually useful in VC?”


1. You learn how to ask the right questions. Anyone can ask questions. But learning how to ask the right questions — to use questions as a mechanism to uncover the hidden truth in a company’s business model, or the trade-off’s in an engineer’s architecture, that comes with training. VCs spend a huge amount of their time asking questions, and thus learn the craft of asking the right questions. This skill has been enormously valuable to me as I transitioned to Pinterest.

2. You learn how to read people. In my first performance review at Bessemer, people judgment was one of my weaknesses. I’d now say it’s one of my strengths. As a VC, you’re constantly meeting founders and building your pattern recognition for reading people. This skillset is particularly useful when you’re in a business or corporate development role, but as with asking the right questions, it’s one of those horizontal skills that will serve you anywhere.

3. You learn how to learn. In VC, you’re constantly ramping up in a new area. Each company you evaluate brings with it its own ecosystem that you need to understand. Similarly, trends in the tech ecosystem turnover so quickly, that if you ever stop adapting and learning, you’ll quickly become a dinosaur and won’t know a Snapchat when you meet one. That drive to constantly learn will help you adapt to new environments and challenges.

There’s a flipside to these three though:

1. In startups, you’ve got to answer the questions. One thing I learned early on at Pinterest is that my muscle for asking questions was a lot stronger than my muscle for answering them. As with asking questions, there’s an art to answering questions well. It’s been good to exercise this skill.

2. You don’t learn how to read an organization. VC firms tend to be smaller partnerships. Although Bessemer was about 45 people when I left, I was never in an office with more than ten people. As Pinterest has grown from 30-odd people when I joined to more than 200, I’ve had to learn how to navigate a company. People who have come from larger companies definitely have a leg up in this regard.

3. You’re not specialized. VCs rarely specialize. Sure – I knew the e-commerce ecosystem cold, met with countless consumer companies, and quite a few adtech companies, but that doesn’t compare to spending several years working at Google. But you’ve got to start somewhere…

Good luck!

Rugby TannerGonzalez Announcement

From Rugby TannerGonzalez:Tanner Gonzalez  unveiled its  “Rugby Tanner Gonzalez”  designs for the 2013 Holiday Season.   The theme comes on preparation of a new partnership with a new professional rugby league which will be announced in 2014.

The Hispanic Luxury Brand hopes to capitalize on the rich history and tradition of the Rugby game and it’s vibrant colors and classic styling.   “Obviously,  I have a passion for the sport and finding inspiration for a classic look that I can adopt was a natural fit” comments Tanner.

The basic design is simple and classic and will be available on the company website –www.tannergonzalez.com the company will be an official licensee for the new league which has 8 representative territories. Tanner Gonzalez will design the teams casual wear and logos.

The company announced that “Rugby TannerGonzalez” will be a line with specific classic designs and colors for a classic casual look.   It has a specific logo for the line which will represent the line.



What is a business model and how does it differ from a business plan?

Taking a business class to graduate high school and falling behind. Can anyone please help me understand this. Thanks!

Chosen Answer:

A business model is a framework for creating economic, social, and/or other forms of value. It is basically how the business makes money — e.g. advertising based model, sponsorship model, subscription model

A business plan is your roadmap on how to implement your business model. It is a document describing what the business is all about, what the business model is, what’s the value proposition, how to reach customers, how to market the business, how to recoup the investment, etc
by: imisidro
on: 11th March 09

Best Private Equity Careers in Firm

I am often asked what is the best career in private equity? This is a pretty subjective question so I cannot give a definitive answer on what the absolute best job in private equity is, but I can give you an idea that you may not have considered. Professionals looking to work for a PE firm often overlook a career as a service provider to a PE firm.

A service provider career may be even more rewarding than working at a PE firm which can be highly stressful and competitive with low job security at some firms. Service providers on the other hand work on a less demanding work schedule sometimes while still getting the opportunity to work closely with PE firms and management. There are many different careers as a service provider to buyout or venture capital firms.

Ways in which you can pursue a career as a service provider to private equity firms:

  • Auditors and Accounting Services: in this capacity you can serve buyout firms by auditing the firm and its portfolio companies. Additionally, PE firms need up-to-date accounting services and may out source this work to a third party accounting firm.
  • Fund Administration Services: A fund administrator will take over some of the more consuming responsibilities of managing a firm, allowing the PE management to manage the portfolio.
  • Marketing and Sales Consultants: A large private equity firm may hire in house marketers but many of the small to mid level firms will rely on third party fund marketers and sales consultants to help raise capital for the fund from investors.
  • Compliance Services: Compliance specialists are becoming more necessary as firms must meet more rigorous government regulations in the recent financial overhaul.
  • IT Consultants & Technology Services: These consultants will help with software and technology that is crucial for portfolio management and managing a PE firm, even just setting up the company website.
  • Attorneys and Law Services: A lot of money in a PE firm means that often there is litigation and PE firms will use legal consultants and attorneys to help in legal matters.


In each of these service provider roles it is valuable to have some training in private equity.

But… many pri


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