Saturday, November 22, 2008

John Doerr: Top Ten Ways Not to Lose My Money

John Doerr, arguably the best VC in history, provides the definitive guide on how not to fly your company into a mountain. Said another way, "Here are the top 10 things I want you to do so you don't lose my money."

Here's a great video on this topic, the competitiveness of the USA, and a number of other random topics. He is interviewed by John Heilemann of New York Magazine the day after the Presidential Election in San Francisco.

The Top 10 list is summarized below:

1. Act now
2. Protect vital core of business (surgical cuts, not axe)
3. Get 18 months or more of cash
4. Defer unnecessary expenses (swanky new office, Microsoft Windows) and be tightwad on capex. Re-prioritize all R&D. You now can't afford to do it all.
5. Negotiate. In this climate, everything is negotiable. Including existing contracts, terms.
6. Everyone in company should be selling, even receptionist. (This is not just about expenses, need to grow revenue).
7. Swap cash bonuses and salaries for equity.
8. Pay attention to where your cash is. (Treasuries, not money markets).
9. Look 90 days ahead and assess revenue. If not there, reset plan.
10. Overcommunicate: With employees, investors, key customers. Let them know your resolve. Don't sugarcoat the situation we're in.