Why Ken Norton’s Dual Product Management Career Path Can Also Encourage Innovation At Scale

Rising to your level of misery” is how Arthur Brooks frames the trap of being good enough at your job that you continue to climb a corporate ladder until arriving at a rung which leaves you in a role that makes you miserable. And oh my does this concept speak to my own experiences as a BigCo product lead. …


It’s weird to try and help fund people who are going to compete with me, right? Well, I couldn’t be more excited to do just this.

The 10 initial Screendoor Venture Advisors

Ok, the headline is announcing Screendoor, a $50m+ collaboration of some like-minded early stage investors to back new VCs from underrepresented groups (basically people who don’t look like me). Alex Konrad/Forbes covered the announcement and has some good details, plus our own blogpost. This initiative matters a lot to me because we’ve purposefully designed our fund (Homebrew) to not grow in partnership size and not be multigenerational. So in some ways, alongside the companies we’ve backed directly, Screendoor represents the best way for our values to live on beyond our firm. …


Why I Initially Misunderstood Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman’s Comments But Still Find Them Disappointing

Update: Frank Slootman released a new statement on Monday 6/7. Added what I mentioned below was unfortunately not said in his earlier interview.

“The truth is that all individuals are not treated equally. No serious person can believe otherwise. All individuals don’t have the same opportunities, be it in the workplace or in society as a whole. This has long been the case, and it remains the case today. Sadly, racism, discrimination and prejudice are still common in our society. …


Why my advice from 2014 is even more true now

Ahh, spring! When new grads leave their campuses and enter the workplace for the first time. Or I guess, leave their online zoom classrooms and enter their work zooms. Gulp!

Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash

So I wanted to revisit some advice that I give new grads about where in tech to start their career and I’ll make the case that the absolute best place to be is a high quality midstage startup. You can read why in the post below but revisiting this 2014 explanation also helps counter one of the objections I’ve heard regarding this advice. Namely that it’s really difficult to know…


Teaching my daughter that ‘adventure boo-boos’ are part of life

I come from a family of flinchers. Well-intentioned of course but with an instinctual urge to ask “is that safe?” before proceeding. Perhaps Darwin favors this trait in humans and long ago the majority of my look-before-you-leap ancestors did not fair so well.

But when we had our daughter, I wanted to find a new intermediate point between seeking absolute safety and Wile E. Coyote. Some parenting guides suggest that asking “are you ok?” when a child falls down actually encourages them to feel *not* ok because it increases the alarm or reinforces they’ll get pleasurable soothing if they…


Why the next 6–12 months will be the best time in a decade for startups to hire

Our YOLO Economy New York Times’ Kevin Roose labeled the new attitude sweeping workers in certain privileged parts of the economy.

But for many of those who can afford it, adventure is in the air.

One executive at a major tech company, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to talk to the media, said she and her husband had both been discussing quitting their jobs in recent weeks. The pandemic, she said, had taught them that they’d been playing it too safe with their life choices, and missing out on valuable family time.

I’ve…


Engage your team and understand their needs but craft your “Return To Office” strategy from the top down

Etienne Jeanneret via Getty Images

We’ve backed a wide variety of startups at Homebrew but the CEOs are now all coalescing around one theme: it’s time to start making choices about what ‘back to the office’ looks like (note 95%+ of our investments are based in the US). Some are high conviction that all being back in an office five days a week is the right thing for their company (alongside modern policies around when flexible scheduling and WFH makes sense). Others embraced a distributed team from early on, or pivoted to one during the past year, and shake their head at the idea that…


Can You Build a Photo Community Which Doesn’t Prioritize Pretty?

“Young girls, however, see AR filters primarily as a tool for beautification: “[The girls] were all saying things like, ‘I put this filter on because I have flawless skin. It takes away my scars and spots.’ And these were children of 10 and 11.”

There’s a lot of prior art here, including some I’ve seen personally. Summer 1999 was down in Los Angeles interning with Mattel while in grad school. A few of us were working in their corporate strategy group, specifically doing projects with the interactive group. …


A young man talking to his friends on an online video call from his laptop.
A young man talking to his friends on an online video call from his laptop.
Photo: VioletaStoimenova/E+/Getty

How a year of virtual living made me appreciate people more

When I tell people I’m an introvert, reactions split into two camps. For those who know me well, it’s pretty much, “Yeah, duh.” But for those who have only been exposed to me in public settings, or online, there’s usually more surprise that a venture capitalist like me could be an introvert. People sometimes mistake introversion for shyness or lack of confidence. But it’s really about whether being with people gives you energy or takes energy away. I love people, I just need adequate amounts of time to recharge, usually spent by myself.

If you’re reading this I’ll assume you’re…


‘Oh, your algorithm update lowers revenue and decreases usage? Ship it!’

Photo: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

“Measure what matters and what you measure matters.” There are any number of similar quotations that talk about how the very act of tracking a KPI in an organization causes people to focus on it more, let alone if you’re linking an explicit incentive structure to goals. It’s why, for example, if boards care about ideals like diversity and culture, they should work with CEOs to make sure those stats are first-class citizens on the company dashboards alongside revenue and profit.

It’s even harder when you can’t agree what the right metric should be. As I’ve written before, one of…

Hunter Walk

You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .

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