What do you do at J12?
I have the almost uncanny possibility, at a fairly late stage of my life, to professionally, learn a new trade (i e, venture capital). I have for the most part of my life, started up and managed tech companies, and with that as my foremost experience, I try to transfer some of those experiences to the founders that we invest in. I do that partly through pure knowledge, whether it is around negotiations, business models, team building, etc., but to perhaps a greater extent, mentoring on how to create and manage a meaningful culture, where people thrive while yet feeling the pressure of deliver value to the customers and users of your service.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting his/her founder journey?
Most founders start out with an idea around some real or imagined gap in the market. A fundamental understanding how that gap will change in 2-3 years, I believe is vital to success. You are building a business not for today’s needs, but for the problems you believe will emerge in the years to come as a result of changing technology or markets or consumer values. A proof that you probably are in the right neighborhood will be richly given by the not few who will tell you that whatever you are doing, will not work.
What are you doing when not working?
I have over time oscillated back to what I liked doing as a youngster. I either cut logs and build stuff, play ice-hockey, sit on my road bike, hunt, or spend my time with my near and dear. I also like reading, mostly around world politics or societal issues, or, to be somewhat corny, spend a perfectly idiotic amount of time, digging into etymological issues around word creation and development over time.