If you know me personally or through my blog or Facebook, you know that I grapple with how to balance my life with the number of requests I get for in-person meetings. I’ve written about this before, but it was time for a new plan. I’ve landed on a new approach.
The issue is that there are people who want to hang out, ask questions, and get input. There are wonderful friends of mine who want their friends and associates to do this with me. I WANT to say “yes” to most of these requests, because I like supporting my friends, I like welcoming new people to Boulder, I like plugging people in to opportunities, and I like being a community-oriented soul.
I’ve tried lots of approaches: using an online booking system, scheduling call time for airport drives, doing 15-minute “lightning calls” to allow me to say yes more. A couple months ago, however, my business partner Elizabeth shared some jarring feedback. She wanted to get on my calendar, and, she said she was particularly bummed because on the one time that could work well for her, I had a fairly “random” meeting set. By the way, there’s nothing normative in the word “random.” I think I stole the phrase “random meeting” from Brad Feld for meetings set with people I don’t know. Probably because of his openness to these, they are popular and available in Boulder, and it’s part of what (a) made this community open to me when I moved here and (b) makes this community special.
In addition to Elizabeth’s wake-up-call observation — which represents the tension between my areas of business focus and these meetings — these meetings poorly organized take a toll on my personal time (golf, long walks, etc) and on the time I might use to create. The latter requires space; creativity in my experience recoils in the face of a back-to-back calendar.
When I’ve thought about this issue lately, what’s surfaced is a specific vision. It has the following features:
I’ll see you in the booth!
We have talked about declaring investment themes since our launch six years ago. Today we settled on one "anti-theme": Founders who dislike authentic feedback.
Rapid-fire explanations without curiosity or engagement often feel like dressed-up defensiveness. I’m not terribly game to build a relationship with someone who feels defensive from the start.
I’ve made a decision to take a break from speaking engagements that focus topically on women, women in startups, investing in women, women as leaders, and the rest. This includes events that may not be topically focused on women but are part of something called a “women’s track.” Here's why.
It has been a great few weeks for the MergeLane fund. When people ask us what our criteria are for investments, we always talk about team as the distant number one priority. I wanted to share this recent, wonderful interchange with TomboyX after a great week for them:
How the media (and more) judges emotion in leadership differently between men and women, and the costs of those judgments.
Dennis Adsit of Adsum Insights guest blogs about turning your one-on-ones from pedestrian checklist run-throughs to opportunities for connection and growth.