Over the past 6 months working at a venture capital firm, I have developed a pet peeve – not having readily access to data for our portfolio companies. This is especially coming through the woodwork as we put together our end of year financials, report, valuations, and a host of other things that we need portfolio company data for.
So note to others and note to myself – include relevant information (financial information, headcount, burn rate, cash on hand, and other key metrics specific to your company) in board decks and updates to your investors and your team. It will be a help to the VC (well the VC Analyst at least =) and it will free up some of their time tracking down this information so that they can help you!
When conversation is flowing during a discussion or brainstorming session sometimes ideas or comments get interrupted because someone else has an idea or comment that builds off of the discussion. In this situation, should the latter person wait until the person has completed his/her thought or jump in right there?
My tendency is to wait until the person speaking for a few key reasons:
1. To listen to the person’s complete thought. I find that most times I learn more about what the person is saying if him/her finishes the statement.
2. The person speaking may be getting to whatever you jump in with, and I feel no need to steal their thunder.
3. When I put myself in the other person’s shoes, being the speaker when someone interrupts (which I’ve been in before), I do not usually appreciate when someone interrupts me in the middle of explaining an idea, providing feedback, etc. It seems a bit disrespectful to the other person.
I have thought about my experiences in these situations and find that there is no right answer for all situations. How someone reacts is a function of their personality, the people they are with, and other situation-specific details. For instance, in a brainstorming session with some close friends it may make sense to jump back and forth throwing ideas on the table, whereas in a board meeting when someone is reporting on technology development it may be better suited to share any feedback after the person has finished his/her update.
It is an exercise in patience to wait until someone has finished speaking before reacting. Each case may be different, and sometimes an interruption may be appropriate!