Posts by Mark Suster


Let me start the post with three statements

1. I have attention deficit disorder, it is a real condition, I have been diagnosed including having radioactive isotopes through my brain to map my development and yet I’m a leader, I have accomplished much, I did well in school and went on to earn a master’s degree and I can actually concentrate when I want to. I wasn’t even aware that I had ADD until I was 40 (I’m now 47) and knowing it has changed my life for the positive. I don’t believe it’s a disease – it’s simply a slow-functioning prefrontal cortex. Essentially – it’s just the way your brain is wired. It’s both your curse and your secret sauce. Embrace it.

2. I believe many entrepreneurs have ADD. I believe the condition actually is conducive in many ways. Many people with ADD don’t work well in corporations & with bureaucracy, people with ADD have a bias towards action, people with ADD often speak up & take action and have strong bursts of creativity. So suck that every teacher who scolded us for not paying attention to boring classes or making people with ADD feel less accomplished

3. If you DO have ADD you are highly unlikely to finish this entire post in one sitting. Don’t worry. Save it to Pocket, bookmark it, email it to yourself or whatever other coping mechanism you have. And actually if you have ADD you may just want to watch the videos I’ve embedded below because it’s easier to concentrate on that than reading a blog post.

I’m not a doctor so everything you’ll read and listen to here will be my point-of-view from what I’ve read and from doctors I’ve consulted. Of course you should go on your own journey of discovery.

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This morning Clutter.io announced they raised $9 million from Sequoia, arguably the best venture capital firm that exists. Congratulations. Sincerely.

Conventional wisdom says I shouldn’t tell you this because I invested in their main competitor, MakeSpace. I know my MakeSpace friends will forgive me because I just don’t believe the conventional wisdom is right. And it’s part of what can go wrong in startup land.

For starters – the co-founder of Clutter.io, Ari Mir, is a friend and 6 years ago I backed the first startup he co-founded with Ophir Tanz, GumGum. Ophir was and is the CEO and is running what is now a spectacularly successful business. Clutter is LA based and many of my friends invested. So why would I want to damage a bunch of friendships for no reason?

But the bigger truth is the competition is important. We will have two well-funded companies educating the market on why this

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Venture Outlook 2016


Posted on Oct 18, 2015 | 0 comments

There is a lot of uncertainty about the state of the private, high-growth technology markets and the venture capital markets that underpin them. On the one hand innovation is clearly at an all time high unleashed by smart phones, fast telecom networks, social networks that spread commerce and the fact that we are all one click away from buying things on Amazon, Apple, Google or PayPal.

In 2012 I penned an article called “It’s Morning in VC” that highlighted many of these trends and in 2014 I published a series of data in this VC SlideShare presentation of “Why VC is Much More Compelling” now, which updated many of our earlier analysis.

Fast forward 3 years and looking out into the 2016 horizon, what do I see? Perhaps I would call it “Mourning in VC” as in mourning for the days of rational behavior.

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Today Twitter announced it had laid off around 336 jobs or 8% of its workforce.  Nobody should celebrate, cheer or shout, “it’s about time.”

This is about 336 people whose lives are altered and need to begin looking for work, saying goodbye to friends & colleagues and go on that journey of transition that most people dread. I wish all of them well and feel confident that anybody employed at one of the most innovative companies of the past 10 years will land on his or her feet.

So what can we learn from this? Is it a bone headed move by Twitter? Is Twitter finally screwed as many have predicted? Is this a sign of weakness in which others can prey on the carcass of a rotting core?

None of these things. Here’s my take away. This will be seen as a watershed moment in the wake-up call and rationalization of our industry. I spoke at Michael Kim’s excellent annual Cendana VC/LP conference today. One of the points I tried to make is that as venture capital investors as an industry we seem to have an unhealthy disdain for public market investors.

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A while back while I was reading the tech press I saw a quote from Randy Komisar, a partner at Kleiner Perkins that was simple, yet profound. He was quoted as saying,

“Being a great partner is as important as being smart or being right.”

I liked it so much I wrote it down and tried to think about what it meant to me and I promised myself I would write about that one day. What does it mean to be a great partner? In business? In life?

When I think about partners I think about: integrity, loyalty, commitment, trust and knowing that somebody will be there for me in good times and bad. I think of somebody who is non-judgmental even when they have reason to be. And while it’s not always easy to avoid saying “I told you so” or trying to persuade others that you have the “right” answer – it seems like a rational goal to avoid “knowing better.”

In a way it reminds me of a lesson my wife taught me. When she’s unhappy about a situation and is frustrated or near tears I immediately move into problem-solving mode. And she said to me long ago

“I’m not looking for better answers to my problem. I just want some sympathy. Just say you understand.

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