Clarity of thought is a common factor in our great entrepreneurs. When they articulate their vision for the future, it seems almost inevitable.
I grew up with an identical twin brother, Will. We played football together in college. We probably had 10 competitions every day for 22 years. People tend to ask me why I’m so competitive—I can’t think of any better explanation than that.
It’s never been easier to build software. The competitive advantage is building really great software. Customer experience is where you win or lose.
I look for founders who are good people. They don’t work for us—we work for them. I wouldn’t sleep well at night if I didn’t trust their judgment and their character.
First it was the rise of the developer; now it’s the rise of the designer. That’s true regardless of sector, stage or business model. Robinhood and Figma have completely different products, but they’re both succeeding in part because of the quality of their product design.
We each make zero to two new investments per year. As a result, every time we make an investment it’s because we think it has the chance to be a one-of-a-kind company, not because it’s “a deal”.
I love software that changes the way we work. I think there is so much untapped potential. Products like Figma, Loom, and productboard aren’t just screens people look at—they shape the way companies operate for the better.
I was also deeply interested in archeology and spent a summer on a dig in Greece. There are some parallels to investment; instead of trying to find hidden secrets in a 10-K, you’re looking for one buried underground.
It’s also wildly different to have Great Causes as beneficiaries. I can calculate exactly how many scholarships the returns on our investments will fund. That makes our work so tangible.
The founders I work with are human—and so am I. We talk about everything, not just how the quarter is going.
Founders sometimes take too much advice. Rather than ask everyone you know, find the one or two people most experienced with the issue you’re dealing with and listen to them. Then do what you think is best. You want an answer, not a census.
The best founders grow alongside their companies. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch how quickly talented founders can evolve. It shows up in all-hands presentations, board meetings, and in company results.
There’s a great quote from Don Valentine when he was asked, “What makes for a great culture?” His answer? “Winning”. I wholeheartedly believe that.