Brain Dump: Hot Jobs and Cool Desks
Watch Schmigadoon! and listen to the new CHVRCHES and Lorde tracks
I’m working on something at my day job that I’m going to write about soon, but I’m not ready to share it yet. For now, think about what you might do if you could browse your cap table by how helpful they’ve been in the past and how suited they might be to help you with a given problem or goal. And then ask what you would do if you could offer that to everyone at your company. Like an internal version of Ecosystem Ops.
In the meantime, please enjoy a Brain Dump, featuring a few of my favorite jobs from Automatter’s new job board (and read Halle’s announcement if you haven’t already), a tiny bit of friendly SponCon, and friction — a little less of it for capital and the case for a healthy bump up for employees.
What I’m Excited About This Week
Shoobx is building soup-to-nuts equity management for companies of all sizes. And they go way beyond the cap table, with company formation, data rooms, and HR solutions you’ll actually want to use.
The role is all about process improvement. Truly an opp for folks who love ops.
And yeah, there’s growth potential: They just partnered with Fidelity to help their clients manage growth and prep for exit.
Now they’re ready to scale. They’re hiring an Operations Lead to handle virtually everything on the non-investing side of the firm. This is a phenomenal early-career role for a super-reliable “organizational fanatic.” And you’ll get to work with the incredible Sarah Kunst and Matt Pauker.
Halle and I are huge fans of Visible because of its flexibility, the team’s responsiveness, and the way they design the product with APIs and integrations in mind. And the team is 100% remote!
The Founder Success Manager role is exactly what it sounds like: Your job is literally to help founders be successful! There’s an inbound sales component to that, but because everyone at Visible wears multiple hats and acts like a product manager, thinking in terms of processes and workflows is key.
Who knows — maybe you’ll even field some of my feature requests! I use Visible every week and I occasionally ask for something new to slot into our investor updates.
Speaking of my day job...
Placer is building a rich platform for analyzing the real world. Recently raised a $50M Series B led by Josh Buckley, Todd Goldberg, and Rahul Vohra.
In this role, you’ll get to work WITH ME. (I’ll be on an adjacent team, but your impeccable deal desk skills will likely bring us into contact at some point.)
This person will be the first full-time deal desk hire. If you’re ready to sweat the details of contracts and negotiations, this is a great role with tons of growth opportunities. You'll do much more than contract management and review. It’s 100% remote within the U.S.
And we’re looking to onboard someone ASAP: If you’re interested, definitely apply at the link, but also send me an email -- firstname.lastname [at] placer [dot] ai -- and I’ll make sure to raise the flag.
Speaking of desks…
Minor SponCon Alert
Last month I wrote some scattered thoughts on context switching, including this bit:
I take care to get in the right mindset every time I need to switch gears. I use a variety of tactics:
I go for a walk
I open a window
I move from my desk to the couch
When I get my own office next month, maybe I’ll crank my desk to a standing position. (If you’re reading this and you work for an electric standing desk manufacturer who will send me a free one, please for the love of god save me from the hand crank. I will post or write about your product.)
Folks, I love it. I really love it. It’s rock solid, it raises and lowers smoothly, and it really does help me break up the day. I like to stand up while I’m consuming content or doing a mundane task, then sit down when I need to do creative work like writing Automatter ;)
What I’m reading
AHP with the Time cover story!
Read the whole thing, but definitely the part about the myth of the frictionless employee.
What companies are trying to do, at heart, is train employees to treat one another not like productivity robots, but like people: people with kids, people with responsibilities, people shouldering the weight of systemic discrimination. But that runs counter to the main goal of most companies, which is to create and distribute a product—whether that’s a service, an object or a design—as efficiently as possible. They might dress up that goal in less capitalistic language, but the end point remains the same: profits, the more the better, with as little friction as possible.
Within this framework, the frictionless employee is the ideal employee. But a lack of friction is a privilege. It means looking and acting and behaving like people in power, which, at least in American society, means being white, male and cisgender; with few or no caregiving responsibilities; no physical or mental disabilities; no strong accent or awkward social tics or physical reminders, like “bad teeth,” of growing up poor; and no needs for accommodations—religious, dietary or otherwise. For decades, offices were filled with people who fit this bill, or who were able to hide or groom away the parts of themselves that did not.
After spending a decade sitting in the intersection of fund managers and limited partners, we continually observed consistent points of friction that have made the supply and demand side of the private fund marketplace inefficient, opaque, and limiting.
Notably, we saw several primary friction points on the investor side:
A real need for education, which is common for idiosyncratic industries such as venture capital.
Efficient discovery of suitable investments that are relevant to the investors various mandates and investment objectives.
The ability to accurately diligence and assess managers when data points are so limited and when so few family offices and wealth advisers have full staffing necessary for quantitative and qualitative diligence.
Access to the best funds, which includes overcoming minimum check size hurdles and forming relationships with underlying managers.
Ease of investing and tracking private fund investments. While technology is improving the experience of investing in privates, we are still in the early stages of truly streamlining execution of investments.
We also observed that the degree and depth of these friction points were a function of the type of investor (e.g., wealth advisors have different challenges as institutions or family offices).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tiger and SoftBank have led the way in radically reducing the friction to growth capital access, but in polar opposite ways. Masa Son at Softbank has famously made massive investments with barely a glance at a pitch deck, let alone done due diligence on a financial model. Tiger’s diligence, on the other hand, is so famously thorough that they damn near know they’re going to issue a term sheet before they ever meet with a company.
SoftBank is a kingmaker, led by internet emperor Masayoshi "Masa" Son. All of the investments involve a pitch to the chief of SoftBank, who is said to back founders who inspire him and reward CEOs who have the biggest, most audacious plans.
Tiger Global doesn't have the same kind of frontman. Don't try Googling it: Its website presents all of three pages to the public internet, hiding the rest for investors. It prefers to stay out of the press. Instead, it's known for studying its prey and then pouncing on a deal. Its relentless speed is a result of having done much of the diligence on an investment before it even approaches a company. Once it's invested, it remains largely hands-off — a big contrast to SoftBank, which will take board seats and hasn't been afraid to switch up management when needed.
What they have in common — and what makes them both symbols of this golden age of venture investing — is being open-checkbook investors who aren't afraid of pouring hundreds of millions into a startup with a desire to hold that position into the public markets. As such, they've both shaken up the venture capital market in 2021 and are the new forces driving deal speed and price in late-stage investing.
By the way, shout out to Tiger’s “army of Bain consultants.” If there’s another client worth missing band practice over, I don’t know who it is.