Posts by Mark Suster


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I used to love blogging.

For me it was always a creative outlet. I love sitting down – often in “one take” like a classic film – and capturing what was on my mind at the moment. What I loved about it was that my thoughts were instantly in the ether, I would get quick feedback from readers and I would know where my ideas stood in the world of ideas. If what I said was shit I knew it instantly. If what I said was clever but I said it with less empathy than I should have – I knew that, too.

Blogging proved to be a great way to hone my ideas, have public conversations with people and as it turns out – build meaningful relationships through public dialog that spilled over into the real world.

Somewhere along the way blogging changed. From the very first time I listened to Airplanes by B.o.B. it resonated.

“Somebody take me back to the days
Before this was a job, before I got paid
Before it ever mattered what I had in my bank
Yeah, back when I was tryin’ to get a tip at Subway
And back when I was rappin’ for the hell of it
But nowadays we rappin’ to stay relevant
I’m guessin’ that if we can make some wishes outta’ airplanes
Then maybe yo maybe I’ll go back to the days
Before the politics that we call the rap game
And back when ain’t nobody listen to my mixtape
And back before I tried to cover up my slang
But this is for Decatur, what’s up Bobby Ray?
So can I get a wish, To end the politics
And get back to the music, That started this shit?”
B.o.B.

That’s how I feel.

There were days where I could write about what I was thinking about Apple or Twitter or Facebook. Or I could just write about life. But over time I realized too many people were paying attention. I guess that happens to us all if you develop a large enough audience. Fred Wilson said

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Whew!

We’ve been dying to tell you all for a while that we had raised a new venture capital fund and of course given SEC filing requirements the story was somewhat already scooped by the always-in-the-know Dan Primack a few weeks ago.

We raised $280 million. Our last fund was $200 million but as you may already know since we raised that fund we added new partners Greg Bettinelli and Kara Nortman and Venture Partner Hamet Watt – all of whom are busy looking at new deals for the firm in addition to Yves Sisteron (the founder), Steven Dietz (also part of founding team) and myself.

The speaks to the continued confidence in the venture capital markets and

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I spend a lot of time with startups and thus hear many companies talk about their approach to sales and their interactions with customers. From these meetings you can really tell the leaders that care deeply about their customers and those the look down on them. Given customers & sales are the lifeblood of any organization you’d imagine everybody would respect their customers. You’d be very wrong.

I was thinking about it this week through some snippets of recent experiences.

Starting with a positive. I had dinner this week with a top new customer at one of our enterprise software investments. I wish I did more enterprise software investing because when I attend meetings like this I realize that this is my core DNA – rolling out business software solutions to customers. The entire dinner was a discussion of what it would take for our software to help this customer be successful, what he liked about it and where we needed to improve. It was a personal discussion and you could tell that our senior leaders and he shared friendship as well as respect and admiration.

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“It stops today.”

I spent the entire day yesterday in a deposition so I was offline from the world around me – a rare day of no email, no social media and even no news. I had been awake since 5am, returned home from work at 9:15pm and was exhausted with my only goal of decompressing and tuning out from the world.

I could not.

I barely slept last night. I read that a grand jury chose not to indict the police officer responsible for brutally killing of an unarmed black man: Eric Garner. I simply couldn’t believe it was true. I don’t remember feeling so angry at injustice in a very long time. I first saw the video of the police aggression towards Eric Garner when it was released and you probably did, too. If you haven’t re-watched it – as hard as that may be – please do.

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This week I wrote about obsessive and competitive founders and how this forms the basis of what I look for when I invest.

I had been thinking a lot about this recently because I’m often asked the question of “what I look for in an entrepreneur when I want to invest?” I look for a lot of things, actually: Persistence (above all else), resiliency, leadership, humility, attention-to-detail, street smarts, transparency and both obsession with one’s company and a burning desire to win.

In the comments section a clever question popped up about whether I would have invested in myself before I became an investor.

My first response mentally was, “Of course!” but then I realized I didn’t even need to answer the question. I had invested in myself for years. I quit a very well paid job at Accenture with very little time remaining before making partner and took a risk of having no job security at all. We had raised a $2 million seed round, which meant taking almost no salary so we could afford to hire staff.

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