Startup CEO Coach, Culture Development Consultant, Entrepreneur, Startup Investor/Advisor
I help fast-growing tech startup founders/CEOs become great leaders and build awesome company cultures.
I was on a panel on startup culture a few months ago with John Lilly, former CEO of Mozilla, who shared his view that culture building is part poetry, part pragmatism. The poetry part would say only hire/keep people who share your values and fit the culture. Period. This is the gospel being preached by companies like Zappos, Southwest (and often, me :).
The pragmatism part would say that if there's someone with a unique set of skills that's truly hard to find, it may be worth keeping them on if you can minimize the impact on the culture.
Most of the time, people err way too far on the side of (perceived) pragmatism and keep people who don't fit the culture for too long because they underestimate the negative impact on the team of keeping someone who is a bad fit and the opportunity cost of not having someone who's a great fit, and overestimate the cost of losing that person (loss aversion). I repeatedly encounter situations with my startup CEO clients where they're scared to let someone go, and once they do, performance actually improves overall (even before they've hired a replacement).
Here is the most useful article I've seen on the subject: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/22/free-startup-docs-how-much-equity-should-advisors-get/
It's important to consider the stage you're at and the level of involvement of the advisor.
Hope that helps!
Dave was incredibly helpful. After a few minutes of providing context for what our company does he went straight into actionable advice that seemed so obvious once he said it.
He provided us with an alternative to how we onboard customers that has far greater promise than our current process. He also offered great advice on integrations we should consider. Hard to overstate how useful the call was.
I donated extra $100 to Pencils of Promise in Dave's name as a thank you.
Dave was super helpful, he was able to give us good ideas and insights around the HR software industry and provide feedback on the industry in general. He also gave us some very specific feedback about some assumptions we should test and some very cool new ideas to potentially test/build into our product roadmap. Overall a very helpful and interesting conversation. I got a ton of value and am looking forward to calling Dave again.
I've had calls with over 100 experts on Clarity. Dave is among the best of the best!
Three words to describe Dave: brilliant, humble, and kind.
Over the last decade in Silicon Valley I've met some of the smartest people in technology. During the call with Dave it was clear I was talking with someone special. He is as bright as anyone I can think of.
Consider yourself lucky to get a call with him!
I'm a huge fan of Dave's service to CEO's and Executives who are interested in improving themselves. Dave
- Gets the dynamics of a startup having been there and worked with lots of startup CEOs
- Is pragmatic, providing real and immediately valuable, not BS theory
- Is excellent at helping you get to the heart of tough issues
- Builds a deep level of trust that makes the coaching work
- Is effective at helping you overcome obstacles and achieve stretch goals
- He really wants to help - not just sell services
- Is super-smart and accomplished; can command respect of CEOs
Dave is a rare combination. He's got the intellect of a hedge fund
manager, the real-world experience as a start-up founder, and the
wisdom of a world-class coach. I was delighted to work with him. He
helped me to stay focused and develop as a leader. Working with Dave
kept me grounded and helped me to achieve my objectives while having a lot more fun at work.
Dave has been a terrific asset by helping me frame personal and professional concerns while effectively paving the way for me to find my own best solutions. I have no doubt Dave will continue to amass many more successful clients that have unlocked latent happiness and professional achievement with his guidance.
Dave specialty is in helping others achieve their full potential and be their authentic self. He is a master at guiding clients to identify what they truly want, and then coaching them on how to get to their goals. Dave has helped me achieve many of my dreams.
I've worked with Dave for more than six months. There's two parts to why I think so highly of him:
1) He's been a significant part of my success. He's helped me do a number of things that terrified me. I now have tools to prioritize the important over the urgent, to procrastinate less and to be more intentional about the way I deal with the world. It's especially cool to work with him as a startup founder since he's been in that place himself.
2) I enjoy myself a lot more. Dave has taught me ways to have fun in the midst of adversity, to deal with my staff in a more positive way and to be more in control of the amount of stress that I allow myself to feel.
These days I channel Dave whenever I face a new challenge. I would strongly recommend him
Dave's involvement provided a sustainable method and framework which I use to lead and achieve at a higher level. His integrity is gold standard. I highly recommend him.
I've worked with Dave for almost a year and his coaching has helped me tremendously in both my personal life and professional career. Dave does a great job of helping me set my goals, stretch them, and ultimately achieve them, and much more. Given his training as an executive & personal coach combined with his education and work experience, which includes starting, growing, and selling a company, Dave has a full arsenal of tools to help me achieve what is most important to me. Off the top of my head I can think of 5 or 6 daunting tasks or challenges that I came up against when starting and growing my company that Dave helped me frame in such a way that I was empowered and excited to to take them on. When we started working together, I had just left my job and was thinking about starting an online clean tech business. In less than a year, I launched a solar energy lead generation website, signed 8 of the leading residential solar providers as customers and am on track to achieving my revenue and profit objectives. During the same period, I've been living the lifestyle I want, became engaged, and got into the best shape of my life (and that's saying a lot from a former Ironman). I'd definitely recommend working with Dave if you have lifelong dreams that you want to achieve sooner rather than later.