Peter Fenton

  • consumer internet, and 2 other divisions

2 stories of failure and redemption

Lue Serney and Jack Dorsey, lost control

  • How did they lose control?
  • the importance of self awareness. three distinct dimensions
    • vision: where are we going
    • execution: cadence, and getting stuff done today
    • relationship building: being the glue
  • Lue and Jack were great visionaries, but they were borderline disabled on all but one
  • in both of these companies, the VP’s approach the board to kick out Lue and Jack
  • Advice: know where you need to be buttressed and complimented
  • do some introspection: what type of person are you?
  • you need to think about what type of team and support you need to build
    • companies don’t happen alone
  • interesting note: Jack and Lou built the companies in the mirror image of their talents and deficiencies
  • Lou’s new company reached 10k customers without salesperson… he doesn’t like sales people
  • look for TED talk who, what, how?
    • Twitter’s why: twitter brings you closer
      • any employees needs to always be able to answer
  • three reasons to sell a company (silicon valley meme)
    • more money than ever imagine
    • you’re screwed
    • you’re tired
  • zuckerberg offered 1 billion from yahoo, said no

learning, always learning

  • learn it all, not know it all
  • the idea of being too smart to be kept out of opportunities… constant worry today

the three lessons

  • self awareness
  • start with the why
  • keep learning, stay young


Q: do you look for different people for different jobs

Distance between consumer and producer has collapsed.

Q: what’s a bad why? You should be interested in companies with good why’s but what are bad ones?

Separate good/bad from no why’s.

A bad why: friendster. putting personality before the company’s purpose

Q: what’s your process for investing in a company?

3 reasons:

  • an extraordinary person (1/3 of investments, 1/10 of return)
  • momentum (interesting, they claim to look at numbers… site analytics that might be easily tweaked)
    • with an asterisk: non-toxic founders
    • but… there is not one success story without a fair amount of action/violence… toxicity

Q: what was the impact of Dorsey leaving Twitter?

  • problem: there was no one voice directing everything… things just bubbled up from the users
  • “twitter is supposed to be better at revealing… through magic and algorithms…”