Category Archives: Apprentice VC

Blocking time for (planned) chance encounters

I wrote this before about how I am trying to manage my time.

I always get asked as I have transitioned to VC from a product guy, how I feel about VC life. I think most folks are surprised when I tell them it is all good but managing my time is hard. Why? It is easy to get busy with all the stuff we do. Meeting companies, helping portfolio companies, fund management stuff, meeting LP’s and just spending enough time with your own team helping each other improve our craft.

I am not complaining but just highlighting that if I am not careful – I can easily fill up my day and then wonder where my time went.

Regardless, I still feel it is important to meet new people. Recently I was contacted to provide a referral for a former employee of mine. The person asking for the referral also requested a coffee to chat more. I have made time for these coffees and used my trusty admin Evie, Evie is well trained and knows that coffee meetings are 45 mins at a specific location I like, had it all set up in a few emails.

Yesterday I had that coffee. I am glad I did.

I actually got to meet the guy who helped lead the acquistion of Path and who ran the transitional Path engineering team. There were lots of interesting things I learned but not all I can share. Some small tidbits – the transition team was mostly all Koreans who moved to Jakarta, they all eventually moved back, there is one Indonesian engineer still working on Path, and Path is basically dying a slow death.

We enjoyed our chat given my Yahoo/Koprol experience and it reminded me that the “culture of busy” will keep these fun meetings from happening.

Have fun out there!


Updated :: Valuation

Updated the post with some new info.

His latest book :: Narrative and Numbers: The Value of Stories in Business (Columbia Business School Publishing)

Also this is his main web page with all the courses ::

Private company valuation is a tough craft – part art, science, gut feel and negotiations.

Came across this the other day:

I love the Prof so figured this was going to be good. And it is.

That lead me to a few more docs.

But this one looks like a gold mine:


Hacking the Fish Tank

DarkTrace never ceases to amaze.

Check this report ::

Read #6:

Technological innovations keep businesses dynamic and pro table, their employees productive and creative, and their premises exciting and modern. A North American casino recently installed a high-tech sh tank as a new attraction, with advanced sensors that automatically regulate temperature, salinity, and feeding schedules.

To ensure these communications remained separate from the commercial network, the casino con gured the tank to use an individual VPN to isolate the tank’s data. However, as soon as Darktrace was installed, it identi ed anomalous data transfers from the sh tank to a rare external destination.

Anomalous activity detected:

  • Transfer of 10GB outside the network
  • No other company device had communicated with this external location
  • No other company device was sending a comparable amount of outbound data
  • Communications took place on a protocol normally associated with audio and video

The tank’s communication patterns included sporadic communications with company devices, but that activity was in line with similarly con gured IoT devices. The external data transfers, however, were deemed highly unusual by Darktrace’s AI algorithms.

The data was being transferred to a device in Finland where an attacker had managed to gain control over the tank. This was a clear case of data ex ltration, but far more subtle than typical attempts at data theft.

By targeting an unconventional device that had recently been introduced into the network, the attack managed to evade the casino’s traditional security tools. Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System detected the threat because the technology does not make assumptions about where threats will arise. It detected a subtle anomaly that indicated a much larger threat, and it aided the casino in remediating the vulnerability. The incident demonstrates the need to have complete visibility of every user and device – including internet-connected sh tanks.

Always be apprenticing…

Our firm, SeedPlus, hosted an afternoon of discussion or brainstorming the other day. About 4 hours of a guided but mostly an agenda free afternoon. 

It was humbling, informative and eye opening to say the least. We had other VC’s in the room, entrepreneurs who have exited, entrepreneurs looking to start another journey and some folks in executive roles from some large SEA companies.

We asked questions, they asked each other questions and they asked us questions. What I realized, and what I find so amazing about learning to be a VC, is there is just so much to learn with so many people to glean it from.

Looking at this wiki ::

By developing similar performance to other practitioners, an apprentice will come to understand the tacit (informally taught) duties of the position. In the process of creating this awareness, the learner also affect their environment; as they are accepted by master practitioners, their specific talents and contributions within the field are taken into account and integrated into the overall practice.

During this meeting I was experiencing a 360 degree session of learning – from other VC’s, my partners, entrepreneurs and execs. I realize that this access is one of a kind and I have to respect the position this affords me. I am basically apprenticing from multiple facets all at once.

I still need to grok how best to use this but one thing I increasingly feel is that there is no going back. The journey to become a great VC will be long but given the chance to associate with folks greater than me is infinitely rewarding.

I sometimes feel our society is letting people down by creating single paths to supposedly doing well in life. Go to good school and then try to get a good job. It won’t work for everyone and wasn’t what happened to me. If along the way our kids could apprentice more we might be able to foster crafts and continue to create good employment.

As someone with a few kids, I worry a lot about this and continue to think about where this is all going.

Maybe the “future of work” or how one prepares for the future of work is a topic for SP Brainstorm #2.