Jamie Crouthamel

How to leverage advisors and investors as your extended team

As an entrepreneur, I fostered an unusual communication practice with our investors and advisors. I treated them as I would have wanted to be treated if I were in their shoes. This is the Golden Rule in action.

You need to have empathy for those that you raise money from. They aren't the "man in the arena" (one of my favorite quotes from Theodore Roosevelt), but they can be very supportive - should you choose to treat them as part of your extended team. They are putting their money (if they are angel investors) - or their investors' money (as is the case for venture capitalists) - into your venture and you should treat that capital as if it were your own. And if it were your own capital ask yourself, "What kind of updates would I want?" My guess is you would want to always know how the business is doing and how you could help the business - and therefore help your investment. Part of the thrill of investing is to see the entrepreneur succeed - both changing their life and many other people's lives in the process. Investors enjoy telling their friends - other investors and family - about the success of your business. The journey is more important than any return they get (although to be clear they don't want to lose either their money or their investors' money). The more they help you, the more they live vicariously through you - and their fingerprints are all over your business. This is called a "helper's high" by my good friend and CEO coach, Kirk Dando (you can read more about Kirk and the value of CEO coaches in my Lucky7 post about the 7 lessons learned on the journey from founder to CEO).

A quick (restaurant) review of Sway

A quick (restaurant) review of Sway

Last night I ate at Sway - the new restaurant from Delfo Trombetta, the entrepreneur behind La Condesa. Delfo asked me to invest in Sway, and I passed. I'm regretting that decision now (just like I regret passing on investing in Uchiko and Uchi Houston when Tyson Cole asked me). Restaurants are tough investments, but when they hit - they can really hit big. La Condesa is a favorite in Austin - located conveniently downtown just a block from the W Hotel. La Condesa has amazing and progressive Interior Mexican food. Sway, on the other hand, has amazing and progressive Thai food. It was quite a treat, and I highly recommend it. It has only been open a few weeks, and it was already the second time my Bazaarvoice co-founder, Brant, had been! Brant is a foodie - I turn to him first for new restaurants to try.

To be stealthy or not?

When Brant and I founded Bazaarvoice, we decided to be in "stealth mode" for the first eight months. This was because of the incredible response we were getting from our initial conversations with prospective retail clients as well as several other factors: