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@mikekarnj newsletter - Feb '18

How is it February already?! Lots happened: Otis moved into a new office, hired our first team member
@mikekarnj newsletter - Feb '18
By Michael Karnjanaprakorn • Issue #58 • View online
How is it February already?! Lots happened:
As I continue down the journey of building Otis, one of our investors asked me what I learned from Skillshare that I’ll apply to Otis. Here’s what I wrote him:
  1. Build an experienced team as early as possible 
  2. Get feedback on big strategic decisions early
  3. Play to my strengths and hire around my weaknesses (back to #1)
What stuck out to me was how important it is to build a world-class team from day 1. Now I’m learning that it’s much better to hire great people and get out of their way, whether that’s operations, product, marketing, etc.
Tied to this is a great interview with Vinod Khosla. Once a company grows to 50 people, “the founders should have 1/3 of the common, their 5 or 6 direct reports should have 1/3 of the common stock, and everyone else should have the remaining 1/3 of the common. If you do that, people don’t leave.
What’s Khosla’s recommended recipe?
  • 15% equity for each of 3 founders = 45%
  • 5% equity for each of 3 “junior-founders” = 15%
  • 20% option pool
While many people won’t agree exactly with the actual %, I think the idea that founders should use equity to attract the best team is the right one.
This changed my POV and I updated our equity grants to land somewhere close to what he recommends. It prompted me to send out this tweet about looking for 9 co-founders as we want to work with people who want to start companies.
Maybe we’ll create the next PayPal Mafia?

Paypal Mafia
Paypal Mafia
✍️ Tweets
Michael Karnjanaprakorn
In 2019, I've been more diligent with my calendar. Them: Let's schedule a meeting to discuss
Me: Can you send me a one-pager on your recommendation?
Them: Can we jump on a quick call?
Me: Can we chat via email?
Them: Schedules one hour meeting
Me: Reschedules to 20 mins
7:12 PM - 29 Jan 2019
Michael Karnjanaprakorn
"A company becomes the people it hires and not the plan it makes." - @vkhosla
10:49 PM - 9 Jan 2019
Michael Karnjanaprakorn
Looking for 9 co-founders
@withotis. Ownership + speed paired w/ meaningful equity.
Team: Me (former CEO of Skillshare), employee #9 at Commonbond who helped originate $1.5B and former lead architect at Venmo. Roles: https://t.co/ydvJtfobDP Culture: https://t.co/nwwlozcOhp
8:08 AM - 8 Feb 2019
Michael Karnjanaprakorn
When hiring, I always liked @JeffBezos 3-question test: 1) Will you admire this person?
2) Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
3) Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?
What are other non-obvious questions?
9:57 AM - 8 Jan 2019
Michael Karnjanaprakorn
Hired someone who made a personal deck. Covered background, stories, strengths & weaknesses, values, principles, goals, how s/he thinks, etc. Great way to stand out. Going to now make this part of our interview process.
6:14 PM - 6 Jan 2019
Michael Karnjanaprakorn
🦸‍♂️ Super-advisor: Invests early (helps lead the next round) AND advises (weekly calls) on going from 0 to 1 to 10. I'm looking to get involved with *one* team with an ambitious vision - the earlier the better. More details 👇
10:30 AM - 7 Jan 2019
Alex Konrad
Whoever rebranded “skipping breakfast” as “intermittent fasting” is a goddamn genius
11:20 AM - 6 Feb 2019
Suhail
There's no upside in hating on someone's idea. You come off as non-believer or ruin their confidence. Instead, just ask the questions that make you hesitate & let them come to their own conclusion. If you're right, you helped them think it through. If you're wrong, you'll learn.
2:03 PM - 18 Jul 2018
Muneeb Ali
USV is one of the most humble VC firms; they don’t market themselves. Fun fact: USV has had a billion-dollar exit every year since 2011.
7:32 AM - 18 Jan 2019
Chamath Palihapitiya
An amazing stat: In the last 25 years, deaths from cancer have fallen by 25%. In our lifetime, through ongoing research, we are capable of transforming cancer from: acute —> chronic —> preventable Long live science!!! 🤯🤯🤯
4:32 PM - 9 Jan 2019
🔖 Articles
📼 Video
Reasons For Optimism (Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures) | DLD 19
Reasons For Optimism (Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures) | DLD 19
NowThis
‘We have a system that is fundamentally broken.’ — Rep. @AOC is explaining just how f*cked campaign finance laws really are https://t.co/sCwpkRzcHB
8:19 PM - 7 Feb 2019
Vinod Khosla on How to Build the Future
Vinod Khosla on How to Build the Future
🕵️ Recommendations
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Michael Karnjanaprakorn

I write about entrepreneurship, productivity, and life. From the founder of Otis & Skillshare.

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