Aug 07

Top 10 Myths of Silicon Valley

This summer I visited Russia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Mexico to see different markets and entrepreneurial perspectives. While I learned what it’s like to be a tech entrepreneur in other markets, I also realized I was frequently dispelling a lot of myths about Silicon Valley, the VC ecosystem, and the American tech industry. With the summer wrapping up, here are my top ten myths and counter-arguments from those recent travels:

Myth #1. Technology Makes It Possible to Start a Company Overnight

Technology is cheaper and more pervasive than ever. However, launching a product is just the beginning. Though you can build a product overnight, it takes about 18 months to become a market player — finding a problem worth solving, educating users, building traction, developing a viable business strategy, training a sales team, and securing long-term funding takes time. We started Meebo in 2003 and spent 18 months building entirely different products (online backup, document sharing) before we built the online instant messenger that launched in 2005.

Meebo’s story is far from unique. Twitter, PayPal, Instagram, and Pinterest were once Odeo, Confinity, Burbn, and Tote and required an average of 17 months of development to become today’s recognizable products. It always takes longer than anticipated. Though technology has become far more accessible and though there are countless 48-hour hackathons, company’s just aren’t built overnight.

Myth #2. You Only Pivot When Your Idea is Bad

A fast-paced market means there are more opportunities but it also means that the race doesn’t end once you launch. The Internet reinvents itself every two years. Even if you are successful today, technology changes so quickly that you can lose success just as quickly as you gained it. You may need to pivot proactively to stay relevant.

One of the hardest aspects of a startup is thinking long-term. There are so few resources that the bugs, meetings, and people issues tend to overshadow long-term innovation. It’s easy to seduce yourself into believing that explosive success is just one feature push away instead of surveying the market and developing a broader plan of attack for the future. Even when long-term innovation is a priority, you can conversely fall into the trap of pivoting, pivoting, pivoting until the funding runs out without giving any single pivot a long, hard, fair shot.

CEOs are defined by their long-term strategy. Is a CEO focused upon a singular vision and stubborn to a fault? Or is the CEO forever inventive, swinging on a whim between industries and praying something sticks? The average startup CEO’s tenure is only five years which means that most CEOs only get 2-3 market plays to find out.

Myth #3. Being a Founder is Glamorous

From HBO’s Silicon Valley, you’d think that being a founder entails VCs fawning over you and brogrammers over-thinking their dating odds. I haven’t seen the entire season but most of what I have seen rings true except that it omits what founders do most — hiring.

A VC once told me that most founders spend 40% of their time hiring. Looking back, that was conservative. Hiring is the cornerstone of culture. Founders dedicate absurd amounts of time to mundane interviews because they aren’t just building a team, they’re architecting a culture. During the hiring process founders tune the recruiting process, double-check how managers identify talent, articulate the organization’s values, detail how the team operates, and defend the company vision. Even once they’ve hired new team members, it takes the new folks 6-12 months to become dependable interviewers. Realistically, founders can’t loosen the reins until they’ve hired and trained the first 50 team members. Team-building takes a lot of time and as I’m sure HBO would agree, job interviews make really boring television.

Myth #4: Founders Don’t Have Bosses

Who doesn’t dream of living free of a boss by their own rules? Surely an entrepreneur gets to make the calls! Sadly, it’s just not true. My co-founder and CEO asked me for my annual self-review out of the blue and my dreams of never again penning a resume or performance review were crushed. Even outside the founding team, entrepreneurs are also accountable to the Board of Directors who determine whether the founders are fulfilling their roles.

More importantly, there’s one boss that trumps everything that no one can escape. Founders are always accountable to the market and the market is the craziest, most irrational, and unfair boss of them all. The market tells you when an earnest team member’s skillset is out of date. The market dictates when a downturn in the economy makes it difficult to give your team deserved raises. The market prefers your competitor for the most fickle reason. Even if entrepreneurs don’t have a traditional boss, they are still pawns of the market. That’s not fun.

Myth #5. The Best Product Wins

Peanut, the winner of the 2014 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma on Friday, June 20, 2014. (Rachel Simpson/For the Argus-Courier/Press Democrat)

Product design can be a formidable advantage. But if you introduce something people really want, you can get away with product murder. Twitter’s fail whale initially eclipsed its bird logo. Facebook’s photo uploader & tagging features are still iffy. And when was the last time that Apple launched a major product without an antenna, map, or battery snafu? If you’re in second place, you have to do everything right and more to catch up. But if you’re #1 with product-market fit, users are surprisingly tolerant and excited to be part of the new, shiny thing.

So why focus on product? First, there are different types of companies. Companies that differentiate primarily on product are usually higher-end companies like Apple, BMW, Square, Nest, or Dandelion Chocolate (<-- yup, shameless name-dropping). Getting the product right is an essential part of these brands and customers expect a curated experience. But these companies are the minority. Most companies excel at experimentation rather than product execution. For instance, Rovio, the creators of Angry Birds, recently expanded into book publishing. Other gaming companies have a strategy of immediately copying popular games and letting others do the product experimentation. And then there's Amazon who does everything from MyHabit to Kindle to AWS to Amazon does an amazing job stretching themselves across different genres and while they have good UX, it's not their core differentiator. The product can't be neglected all together however. If you dominate the market with a half-hearted product, users will eventually feel exploited. Though their usage might continue, it’s only because there’s no alternative, not due to loyalty. Users are savvy enough to pick up on exploitive monopolies and to know when innovation is overdue. Why were Uber and Lyft able to gain traction so quickly? How long had it been since users felt any Yellow Cab love? Yelp, OpenTable, LinkedIn, and other companies built a decade ago by locking in the market — watch out! When network effect companies crumble, they crumble fast!

Myth #6. VCs Throw Money at you

Image courtesy flickr: Cayusa.

Even in a frothy environment, you have to break a sweat fundraising. VCs differentiate themselves through investing strategies such as big markets, strong founding teams, product execution, technological innovation, and industry genres. When there are more VCs, there are more meetings to identify the VC where your startup fits their strategy.

Entrepreneurs outside the U.S. envision VCs sprinkling money on American entrepreneurs like fairy dust. But the average American startup team reaches out to approximately 60-120 VCs and angels to raise the first $1M. That’s work! There’s no doubt that it’s harder to raise capital outside of the United States but some VCs also look abroad to emerging markets where they don’t face such stiff competition.

Myth #7. An Acquisition Means You’re a Multi-Millionaire

Founders don’t pocket the incredible dollar figures in headlines. It’s possible for an acquisition in the hundreds of millions to leave nothing for the founders depending upon how much has been raised, how much was allotted to employees, the number of founders, whether the exit included stock or cash, and the liquidation preferences.

Given how important they are, it’s surprising that liquidation preferences aren’t discussed more. Liquidation preferences have two variables: 1) the multiple and 2) the preference type (preferred, non-preferred, and capped). When a company folds or is acquired, liquidation preferences protect the investors’ investment. At minimum, a liquidation preference simply specifies that the investors receive their money back (1x non-participating). At the other extreme, investors might have a 2x multiple (meaning that investors want double back) and if there’s anything left over, they are also entitled to a cut of the remainder based upon their ownership (2x participating).

With a 2x participating liquidation preference, it’s possible for a company that raised a total of $50M for 50% ownership to sell for $100M and for the team to have nothing. Participating also means that the investors always get more than just 50%. When the exit is huge, the liquidation preference matters less. But huge exits are rarer. Sometimes headlines will speculate on the company’s valuation but news reports never mention the liquidation preference.

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get squeezed: work hard, have a modest exit, have no substantial upside, and lose the loyalty of a team that you might have worked with again.

Myth #8. Raise as Much Money as You Can

Any business can succeed if given enough time. Why wouldn’t you raise as much money as possible to stay afloat as long as possible?

When you raise money, you’re expected to spend it. VCs want to put cash infusions behind companies with potential reoccurring revenue, not to pay for a company’s rainy day fund or creative projects. If you haven’t vetted a product or figured out a core business model before taking funding, you’re trading flexibility for cash. Meebo’s first product in 2003 tackled online backup. After spending a year building the product, we realized how much capital we’d need to raise to build out an untested idea. We switched to document collaboration and another year later, to online instant messaging. If we’d taken cash upfront, we wouldn’t have had that kind of flexibility or we would have been diluted later. It’s easier to change a strategy and experiment when you’re smaller and don’t have promises to keep.

Second, a big bank account changes the way you operate. When your team knows that you have money to spend, they ask for more. When contractors know you have funding, they don’t grant favors. When patent trolls look for companies to target, they sniff out money trails. Frugality is frequently a characteristic of great businesses. The easiest way to be frugal is to only take the money you need (with some cushion) to prove the next stage of your business.

Myth #9. If You Do Everything Right, You Will Be Successful

Web 2.0 companies that are alive or have exited as of today

There is no magic formula. Many smart startups will fail and many foolish ones will somehow succeed. Luck plays a huge hand in a startup’s ultimate outcome. What determines whether a company has a billion-dollar exit or a modest success frequently falls far outside the company’s purview to timing, perceived competitive threats, even executive vacation schedules. When companies exit for huge figures, folks flock to reverse engineer the acquiring company’s process and then extrapolate what they need to change to bolster their own acquisition odds. It’s an interesting thought-exercise but many companies just get lucky. It’s far better to continuously plan for the long-term and if the stars magically align for a favorable acquisition, consider yourself very lucky (not necessarily gifted).

In 2013, 37 out of 511 YCombinator companies were worth more than $40 Million. That suggests a 93% failure rate. Within a startup, instead of hoping for success, you are constantly mitigating potential failure. There are a few practices that help (great team, frugality, strong brand) but the most important factor is sheer resilience.

Myth #10. We’ll Always Have These Opportunities

Desert Bus, a reality-based driving mini-game circa 1995

Technology changes. It means computing today but it meant steam engines, Hollywood films, agriculture, industrialization, and printing presses in the past. While I’m optimistic that technology will continue to present more opportunities for everyday folks to change the world, I don’t take it for granted. The economy, government regulations, access to capital, and what society needs will evolve. Who knows whether a new wave of robotics, biotech, 3d printing presses, or new energy storage mechanisms will be nearly as democratic as computer programming?

Even when the odds are stacked against the entrepreneur, I can’t imagine a better time in history to be alive and to have the chance to change the world at such scale. Even if it may not last forever, it’d be such a shame not to try.

Final Bonus Myth! Only Crazy People Do Startups

Tricked you! This is absolutely true. Most entrepreneurs are a little (or a lot) crazy. And sometimes that prerequisite craziness makes it especially hard for entrepreneurs abroad to garner support from their communities. Some Asian cultures ask family members to support their elder’s later years. Taking a financial risk to be an entrepreneur can seem disrespectful to their family. And some European communities aren’t terribly forgiving of failure. Being an entrepreneur is a tough slog and doing it without a support network is absolutely brutal. I cringe a little when VCs and entrepreneurs assume that entrepreneurs abroad are lacking know-how or bravado. It’s far more complex. The entrepreneurs I see abroad may not be as loud and boastful but they’re plenty talented and self-assured.

Albert Einstein coined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results.” For me, that’s the definition of a startup. You’re continuously adapting to a mercurial market with no promise of a successful outcome — that’s a little insane. There are thousands of better ways to make a more dependable income. If anyone embarks on a startup solely for monetary gain, they’ll quit when they realize what a crazy, unpredictable journey it is. You have to be an entrepreneur because you believe that if you don’t solve a problem, no one else will.

Oct 12


My recent WSJ Accelerators essay struck a nerve and after seeing a few comments posted, I want to clarify a few things — especially about Meebo’s culture and any perceived ill-will. I think some nuance may have been lost in the editing process and I want to make it clear that I love my team, Meebo, and what we built together. This is a personal story about a trying time in my professional life and I wanted to share a boots-on-the-ground perspective. So let me set the record straight:

* Meebo’s culture was as good as it gets and was undoubtedly female-friendly — I’ll never work with another group with so much talent, kindness, and commitment to being inclusive and for making the world a better place. You learn a lot about people after co-founding a company and I can’t say enough good things about my two co-founders, Seth and Sandy. Seth has the keenest strategic nose that you’ll ever encounter and Sandy will out-execute and out-charm anyone in the Valley.

Our first ten employees represented eight universities, three countries, and a 70/30 male/female ratio. Among our senior exec team, we had three women reporting to our CEO and co-founder. Our team’s multiple perspectives led to a stronger and more authentic product. This was an isolated incident that occurred outside of Meebo’s usual business. If anything, I think this shows that building an inclusive environment is hard and you always need to be willing to rethink your own personal views and assumptions. If these issues can arise during my time at Meebo, then I am no longer as quick to judge others either.

* There’s more work to do — Even within an amazing culture, I realize that these issues can just arise organically and subconsciously — in this case, during the hiring process. The most vivid part of this story for me is my coach’s feedback. We talked through a lot of possibilities about why someone would not join last-minute including considering gender, feeling out negotiating strategies, and of course, my own behavior. It’s entirely possible this was just a hard negotiation tactic or that any one of my many, many shortcomings played into this, but I’ll always be struck by the matter-of-fact “this is how the real world works” conversation. It’s the first time I had even the slightest idea that gender was top-of-mind for anyone and that I needed to be more aware of this part of my identity. Whether or not this ended up being the true root cause, I’ve learned to tread more carefully and not assume that people who come from other corporate cultures will inherently share my values and working style.

May 30

what i learned as an oompa loompa

Engineer (left) going Oompa Loompa (right)

Last fall, I heard the spousal call of duty, “Elaine, help me get these doors open.”

My husband, Todd, and his co-founder, Cam, had spent the last few years building chocolate machines and scouting the world for great cocoa beans in an effort to open a micro-batch chocolate factory in San Francisco’s Mission District. The construction crew finished converting the brick automotive garage to a food-safe bean-to-bar workshop and it was time to figure out the nitty gritty details like moving, merchandising, and designing the café & retail space. Todd needed all the help he could get and I was happy to pitch in during those critical months. Now that I’ve come up for air and returned to tech projects, I’ve had time to reflect on what I learned from brick-and-mortar operations:

Even the welds break

  1. For loops are a veritable miracle — At the chocolate factory, something breaks every single flippin’ day. Each morning I gave my evil eye to the roasters, melangers, temperers, wrapping machine, dishwasher, or anything with a screw, fuse, gear, glue, belt, or oil level and asked, “Okay, which one of you little buggers is going today?”

    In comparison, code brings tears to my eyes. If that for loop worked yesterday, then barring catastrophic hardware failures or someone checking in code they shouldn’t, it’ll likely work today. That type of, “if you don’t touch it, it’ll keep working” certainty seems divine. I’ve always loved the Web but I have renewed appreciation for redundancy, unit testing, and monitoring now.

    Lots of chocolate; no email.

  2. Want to release faster? Don’t cut features; cut email. Dandelion’s chocolate makers don’t check email throughout the day (the execs aren’t so lucky). If you can depend upon eight hours of focused time each day, then goals magically happen. With just a back of the napkin estimation, if the team says they’ll make 1000 bars, stop worrying — they’ve got it.

    There are still complications and distractions (e.g. tours, businesses with supply emergencies, daily check-in meetings, and see #1) but there are no late nights catch-up email marathons, no pleas for Agile-enabled predictability, no emergency requests to add two more weeks to the schedule, and no unsustainable sprints to a goal followed by “whoa, let’s never do that again” post-mortem analyses.

    Conservatively, I think that at least 30% of Meebo’s productivity was lost to folks staying current with voluminous Inboxes. Startups want to be hyper-communicative and transparent but those cc’s and long winding email threads add up. However, the first startup that balances getting stuff done despite an ever-expanding Inbox will have a formidable advantage.

    From left to right: future Pulitzer prize winner, Fulbright scholar, and Stanford grad

  3. Tech people, get over yourselves — Dandelion Chocolate has two Fulbright scholars, a Harvard law school grad, Ivy Leaguers, and even outside of formal academic pedigrees, is one of the most talented teams I’ve seen. Tech recruiters spend a lot of time bending over backwards looking for niche skillsets and as a result, we tend to think of ourselves as the center of the talent universe. However, if the folks at Dandelion Chocolate learned to code or design, they’d whoop most of our startup tooshes. Other industries are teeming with extraordinary, passionate people and it doesn’t take an army of recruiters and hundreds of LinkedIn emails to find them. The next time I build a team, I’ll look beyond industry borders.

    Brandon analyzing bean sorting efficiency

  4. Engineering principles provide arbitrage opportunities — When I tell tech people I’ve been pitching in at a chocolate factory, I spot the concerned eyebrows, “Elaine, what about intellectual stimulation?” or a VC will wander to another networking table presumably thinking, “Oy, small potatoes.” Fermentation processes, tempering crystallization structures, and modeling roasting & melanging profiles provide lots of mental fodder. Chocolate making isn’t a traditional startup but engineering principles like small achievable goals, metrics, and A/B testing are very applicable, opening new opportunities in existing markets. The tech world is a fantastic training ground for non-tech industries where there aren’t support networks of meetups, workspaces, and mentors.

    The #1 troublemaker at Dandelion Chocolate

  5. HCI is a digital thing — A little backstory… the women’s bathroom door at Dandelion Chocolate constantly breaks (see #1). From the mezzanine, I can hear the frustrated click-click-click when guests jigger the finicky door lock. At the beginning of the day, I paused when I heard the metal clicking to make sure the bathroom seeker didn’t need help. But by noon, the high-pitched metal-on-metal screeching made my hair stand on end, my stomach churn, and I was ready to do anything… anything… even standing vigilant outside the bathroom to personally escort patrons in and out of the loo… to prevent that irksome sound again.

    When I initially told my parents that I was interested in HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), they didn’t get it. And now I understand why. Technology is so virtual that it takes logging, data mining, insightful researchers, and persuasive experts to convince a team there’s a problem on the Internet worth fixing.

    However, when you’re working with tangibles, you are walking and breathing your own User Experience experiment. You see the half-drunk cups when you take out the trash. You can’t help but overhear under breath comments on the street. And if something is broken, you don’t have to do a cost-benefit analysis to figure out whether fixing the bathroom door is a priority. Someone’s going to fix the bathroom door or they’ll go crazy.

    Chocolate for sale

  6. Simple business models solve so many problems — With Meebo, our business model went something like this: we built a product that people like. We monetized a fraction of those eyeballs with brand advertising. We tracked the percentage of users who clicked an ad and logged their engagement times. However, since correlating brand advertising with bottom line revenue is nearly impossible online, we also monitored ad partnership renewals. If all of those metrics were healthy, we were happy. (~60 words)

    At Dandelion Chocolate, the business model is: we make and sell chocolate. (5 words)

    It’s so much easier to build a sustainable organization around a simple revenue model. There are no tensions between ad partners, distribution sites, engineering, and sales teams. There are fewer points of failure. Instead, everyone is aligned towards a simple goal: make something people want.

    The Dandelion Chocolate team goes to Hawaii after hitting a big goal

  7. Equity isn’t a great long-term motivator — In tech, salary is only one component of your compensation package. If your company does well, your stock options can be worth far more than all of your combined paychecks. Equity is “skin in the game.”

    However, the compensation at Dandelion Chocolate is traditional — wages and salaries. And when things get tough (e.g. the temperer breaks during the December rush — see #1), employees’ visions of becoming overnight millionaires aren’t shattered. Instead, it’s an even-keeled, “Okay, what do we need to do to get through this?” What motivates the team is working with interesting people, more opportunities to travel and grow, and building something pride-worthy.

    As a startup leader, you fear an employee exodus at the first sign of trouble. For engineers with lots of options, trouble means it’s time to diversify your equity portfolio and seek greener pastures elsewhere. In some cases, equity can have the opposite effect and even encourage short-term thinking.

    Valencia St crowded with café experts
    (Photo courtesy of Flickr:tofuart via Creative Commons)

  8. The real world has tougher critics — Startups can shield themselves behind a slow beta roll-out. Your mom and dad might follow your company blog but they probably didn’t critique last Friday’s release.

    In contrast, almost everyone in the world is a café expert. On his day off Todd gets calls and texts, “Todd, the bathroom door seems to slide funny…” or “I drove all the way from Sausalito and you just ran out of marshmallows!”

    The feedback is always, always, always appreciated. But your skin thickens a bit. The chocolate factory is a public venue of our closest friends, friends of friends, neighbors, and supporters — the people you want to make most proud. Every one of those visitor has seen hundreds of cafés and everyone has opinions about how they’d make it better. Unlike tech, you’re very exposed. And if we have an off day, we can’t follow-up with an email newsletter or pop-up notification, “We listened to your feedback! Here’s version 1.2 just for you!”

    Customers in the face blind retail mode

  9. Retail face blindness (i.e. prosopagnosia) — Hopefully there’s a psychology student searching for their next phD thesis among this blog’s readers.

    Either I’m very bland looking (totally plausible) or there’s an undocumented psychologic phenomenon for how people mentally categorize service professionals…

    As a door greeter, cashier, or farmer’s market volunteer, I love talking with visitors. A quick exchange can expand into an intimate 10-minute conversation about our families, our personal food preferences, frequently an exchange of names, and sometimes even promises to follow-up via email.

    Afterwards, I’ll say goodbye and walk next door for a sandwich where I coincidentally spot them again. They look at me when I join them in line, look back, and order a croissant. Nothing. Not even a spark of recognition. I’m a total stranger! This has happened frequently enough that I’m now fascinated by the brain’s ability to immediately delete people information — especially people we don’t think we’ll see again. If you end up researching this further or know anything about this, let me know!

    The chocolate chip cookie — a reliable favorite for seventy-five years and likely to be popular for decades to come

  10. Tech is still harder — It’s easier than ever to start a tech company. The food industry is envious of tech’s lack of permits and regulations, workspaces, meetups, access to capital, and the built-in network of angels & mentors. If you have a good idea, the entrepreneurial community will bend over backwards to help you.

    However, it’s much harder to keep that tech company going. The Internet reinvents itself every two years making longterm planning difficult. It’s safe to assume that people will probably eat chocolate in ten, twenty years. It’s hard to guarantee that any burgeoning startup will be relevant in six months. Building a longterm Internet business within a mercurial market is extraordinarily stressful. In addition to the normal trials of starting a business, you have to be hyper-aware of trends and prepared to pivot tomorrow. It’s likely that the team you hired 18 months ago signed up for a different vision that what you’re working on now and that requires further management. Years 0-2 are easier but years 2-8 are harder.

I’m winding down my Oompa Loompa days with more appreciation for brick-and-mortar businesses. If the toilet paper’s out at a restaurant, I’ll try to change it myself. I tip more and curse the evil people who steal tip jars and iPhones (grrrr)! When the Giants make it to the World Series, I tune in to the police radio chatter and listen for riots. I can add “skilled in the Tiffany bow tying method” to my resume.

Above all, I am grateful to have been a part of the Dandelion Chocolate story and to have learned so much from the team. Thank you again!

And of course, feel free to drop by Dandelion Chocolate at 740 Valencia St (at 18th) in San Francisco.

Dandelion Chocolate Door

Apr 27

100 Mistakes

As a startup founder, I wore a lot of hats and I made a ton of mistakes. I was a typical first-time, 20-something entrepreneur with tremendous pressure to scale with the team and business.

At night, I found myself awake agonizing over the mistakes I could see myself making — not letting go of ideas that I liked but that weren’t good for the business, not presenting my ideas effectively in group meetings, or not saying no to projects when I was already overwhelmed. However, I found that if I wrote down my mistakes in a bedside journal, I could return to sleep and revisit my mistakes in the daytime.

The journal grew and grew. And when I started hiring a team, I saw my team members make the exact same missteps. At first, I was relieved. I no longer felt like I was the worst contributor, manager, director, or VP! But I also wanted to compile my mistakes and share my perspective with them.

At first, I tried giving new managers and directors my bulleted list. However, that was horribly ineffective. No one wants to be handed a list from their manager of all the ways they’ll inevitably fail!

So instead, I started focusing on telling stories and setting the scenes for these mistakes. I sketched the scenes of all of the mistakes and started weaving them into a story that showed the professional journey that everyone makes from their first day on the job as a fresh grad to leading the company as a C-level executive.

It’s an illustrated story that I’ve been narrating and sharing with other startups and organizations. I presented the story at South by Southwest a few months ago. Since then, it’s been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, and this morning, I presented a few of the mistakes on the CBS Morning Show.

Originally, this was a fun side project that I enjoyed sharing with other startups and the feedback that I’ve heard is that it should be a book. I’ve just started considering that in earnest. If you want to know where you can get a copy of 100 Mistakes, please bear with me — you’ll need to wait a little bit longer!

And at the end of the journey, I’m just grateful to have been a part of a team that allowed each other to grow and to learn from our mistakes. With a little bit more perspective, I am overwhelmed by how much everyone genuinely wants to do well by others and to create something meaningful together. However, old habits, misplaced exuberance, and role ambiguity sometimes get in the way.

Looking forward to sharing more soon!