143. Adopting a VC Mindset: How to Achieve More by Thinking, and Communicating, Like a Venture...

143. Adopting a VC Mindset: How to Achieve More by Thinking, and Communicating, Like a Venture...

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Stanford Executive Education offers on-campus SE Suite programs to refine leaders' approaches and stay ahead in the ever-changing landscape.
  • Matt Abrahams, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, introduces the podcast's guest, Ilia Stev, founder of the GSB's Venture Capital initiative and professor of private equity and finance.

The Venture Mindset (00:00:53)

  • The Venture Mindset is a new mental model for leaders to make smarter and quicker decisions, especially in uncertain and disruptive situations.
  • Venture capitalists have developed this mindset after facing decades of failures and uncertainties.
  • By thinking like venture capitalists, leaders can become better decision-makers, even if their work is far from the world of venture capital and startups.

Embracing Failure (00:02:22)

  • Venture capitalists are "failure champions" because they understand that constructive failure is sometimes necessary for success.
  • A story is shared about two entrepreneurs who received funding from a venture capital firm for their gaming company.
  • Despite the game's failure, the investors, including Excel Partners, decided to continue supporting the founders due to their strong teamwork and resilience.
  • This support led to the development of Slack, one of the most successful companies in the world.

Decision-Making in Venture Capital (00:05:21)

  • Venture capitalists start by identifying numerous opportunities and then quickly narrow them down to the most promising ones.
  • Successful venture capitalists ask the question "Why should we not proceed?" rather than "Why should we invest?"
  • This approach allows them to focus their efforts on potentially more profitable opportunities.
  • Venture capitalists communicate differently among themselves by using negative questions to ensure efficient and quick decision-making.

Applying Venture Principles in Personal and Professional Life (00:07:34)

  • The "Why should we not proceed?" mindset can be applied to personal and professional life to drive efficiency and generate new ideas.
  • Venture mindset principles can be applied to job hunting after being laid off.
  • Saying no more often can be valuable, as venture capitalists say no 100 times before making an investment.
  • Saying no allows for focusing on the most promising opportunities and leveling up abilities.

Lessons from Teaching Venture Capital (00:10:05)

  • Venture capitalists think long-term, considering lifetime income and happiness.
  • Don't rush into decisions, especially career-related ones. Think long-term, not short-term.
  • Be willing to say no and see the long view.
  • Thinking differently:
    • There are many ways to approach problems, and some are more efficient than others.
    • Venture capitalists encourage students to think outside the box and look at problems from different angles.
  • Building a meaningful network:
    • The right time to build your network is yesterday.
    • Focus on increasing the number of meaningful contacts and diversifying those contacts.
    • Venture capitalists have more diverse connections on LinkedIn compared to corporate innovators.

Passionate Communication (00:13:25)

  • Diversify your network to include people from different industries, educational backgrounds, and geographies.
  • Question the way you make decisions and think, and challenge yourself to do it differently.
  • Use elegant and descriptive language when describing things you are passionate about.
  • Mix the traditional mindset with the Venture mindset when describing things you are passionate about.
  • Use language that everyone can understand, but also add your own unique perspective.

The Final Three Questions (00:15:29)

  • The guest, Matt, is asked three questions.
  • The first question is about how writing his book, The Venture Mindset, has changed his approach to work and communication.
  • The second question is about a communicator he admires, and why.
  • The third question is about the first three ingredients that go into a successful communication recipe.
  • Matt has become more positive about failed research projects, viewing them as necessary for successful research.
  • He has also made an effort to network and talk to new people whenever he travels.
  • Matt admires Winston Churchill for his ability to communicate simple truths and controversial thoughts in a way that everyone could understand and be fascinated by.
  • The first three ingredients for successful communication are listening, listening, and listening.

Conclusion (00:18:59)

  • The Venture mindset involves understanding everyone's opinion to effect change in the world.
  • Listening is crucial to understanding others' opinions and responding effectively.
  • Stanford Executive Education programs offer insights from Stanford GSB professors and bring together top leaders from around the globe.

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