Good Advice I’ve Received In The Valley

You ever meet someone and, they say something, and it stays in your head for a while? Chances are you’ve heard those phrases and sentiments before, but in that moment, based on that person, for some reason, the language sticks with you, and you keep thinking about it in the recess of your brain. I wanted to create a space where I capture those quotes and sentiments, and share them with you — and hopefully add to them as I get more.

This is advice I’ve received in person, 1:1, from the individuals listed below. I’m lucky to have spent time with some outstanding people, so I thought I’d share their wisdom below. Nothing is sensitive so I hope they don’t mind that I reproduce them, but they resonate with me even years after hearing them. In no particular order:

  • Hiten Shah: “Find the one thing that fixes all the other problems.” / in trying to change course, don’t do too many things, but rather find one thing to change that changes everything else.
  • John Lilly: “What do you want? What do you need?” / his framework response to those who ask for advice
  • Mark Goines: “I don’t want to fund entrepreneurs who want to change the world; I want to fund entrepreneurs who want to change an industry.” / cuts against common refrain about entrepreneurship as good, and instead casts it in a more realistic light.
  • Michael Abbott: “People won’t respect you until you ship something…anything.”
  • Tristan Walker: “Don’t underestimate people around here.” / i’ve found usually the most quiet folks have so many accomplishments around here.
  • Anonymous: “Live by the press, die by the press.” / applies to anyone or anything that is too media hungry.
  • Nakul Mandan: “We are here to make a difference.” / simple reminder on why we are here in the valley, not to be safe or afraid, but to realize something bigger.
  • Adam Nash: “I like to play host.” / a short and sweet sentiment about how elders should always try to welcome and support those who are new arrivals or earnestly trying to get somewhere.
  • Matt Cohler: “Everything is a platform.” / beyond product thinking, all of your career positions can be platforms for the next role or job.
  • Alexia Tsotsis: “Be nice.” / it is also a good interpersonal strategy.
  • Michael Dearing: “Let things happen organically.” / sound advice for the Type-A’s of the world, as much as you can try to engineer an outcome, it increases the likelihood it won’t happen.
  • Andrew Chen: “I hope you take a more difficult path.” / before andrew was famous, he gave me this advice and was quite adamant about me not taking another path.
  • Gentry Underwood: “I want to build something that can be even bigger.” / i was hanging out with gentry when clear came out and he was toying with the idea of buying orchestra (which i loved) to climb a bigger hill.
  • Kent Goldman: “Hang around the hoop.”