Notes from Crash Course on Startup Boards with Brad Feld









While grazing my twitter timeline, I stumbled upon this recent post from Brad Feld titled The First Board Meeting and as I was going through the comments I found this video on youtube that you can watch for more detail.. Here Brad is describing efficient ways to participate in a board meeting. Brad has attended over 1000+ board meetings and he asks requests his attendees to review his books on amazon and other platforms to gain assistance and ideas of being part of a board meeting.

I made a simple notes of the entire conversation as I found it really engaging. Here are my pointers on the same discussion :

  • At times you may have members of the Board clueless about products.
  • An over absorbing board member could be painful at the meeting. Founders will have to understand and listen to him/her while at same time focus on the business.
  • Ideally, you should restrict to not more than four board meeting in a year.
  • The function of the board should not be defined as just a governing body, but be inclined to help business grow where Board members should invest in creating goals to elevate company standards and setup necessary objectives.
  • Just like leadership, setting up a board is no different and should lead and be able to extend leadership qualities over a period of time.
  • A board must include trusted mentors, advisors with discrete helpful or supportive roles to play. The dynamics among board members must be cordial and to the betterment of business.
  • Lack of commitment of board members can ruin the company. Identifying the right people at different stages should compliment the skillset and fill in the gaps.
  • The CEO must have clear vision and preferably a rulebook in place that includes building agreement among board to evolve & resolve conflicts.
  • The CEO should have a lead director where they go to for suggestions in case of conflict where in most cases this person is identified as the lead investor.
  • Advisory boards are proxy setups for getting networks & name drops on slides for the investors. If present, they should be given some equity to get into the engagement cycle for commitment.
  • Board meetings are meant for discussions and should not be ruled by opinions.
  • It is ideal to send out the board packages atleast 48 hours in advance or just use Google Docs where everyone can read, collaborate, comment and have the pitch in place before the commencement of the meeting.
  • The CEO should inform the board members and investors what his/her expectations are.This provides a sense of realism which is important for investors.
  • CEO should not invest more than 5%  of the time in managing the overall board
  • An ill formed board can destroy the company. Invest in collecting and forming a board that is definite to take the company to another level.

You can find the list of books by Brad Feld on Amazon. Also, please read this blogpost for details or follow him on Twitter.