Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Randy Komisar of Kleiner Perkins

by Scott Edward Walker on June 20th, 2012

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we post a video clip of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics to help entrepreneurs succeed.

This week, we again present Randy Komisar, a partner at Kleiner Perkins and a very impressive investor and author.  In this interesting 25-minute interview followed by a Q&A (courtesy of Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner), Randy discusses his book Getting to Plan B and shares the following nuggets:

  • the vast majority of “plan A’s” fail, and the vast majority of successes (e.g., Google, Facebook and Apple) did not succeed with plan A;
  • nevertheless, the process of creating plan A is important because it forces you to question your assumptions, to model-out your challenges and to mitigate risks;
  • most investors are complicit with the plan A problem;
  • entrepreneurs must first define the big problem they’re trying to solve, then come-up with a defensible solution and then analyze things in the marketplace that have worked and that have failed (“analogs” and “antilogs,” respectively);
  • the issue is not to avoid “leaps of faith,” but to define them and identify the key questions you need to answer (and their priority) in order for your venture to succeed;
  • executing against these questions helps you focus and change course;
  • this process allows investors to invest in data, rather than ideas; and
  • investors like Randy are looking for founders who are flexible, who will respond to metrics, who have the tenacity and dedication to course-correct, who have curiosity to think about their big idea (and not to get wedded to assumptions) and who can respond to the market based on measurable data.

I hope you enjoy it. Many thanks, Scott

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