Contrasting Public Company Executives and Seed-stage Founders

I spend most of my time with genesis- and seed-stage entrepreneurs.  But today, I had the opportunity to attend a major technology conference here in SF, and hear from various executives from large private and public companies, including Tim Cook from Apple and Steven Cakebread, Pandora’s CFO.

I was struck by their incredible poise and articulate comments – they addressed each question as though it would be the genesis of a profound discussion, and unfortunately, in their responses, they provided nearly nothing new about their companies.

I’m familiar enough with SEC laws and safe harbor to know that they can’t really share anything more than what’s already announced publicly in their 10-Ks and 10-Qs, but how unfortunate to not create a dialog about pressing business matters with some impressive brain power in the room.

Takeaways:

  1. Practice your presentation skills and your presentation vocabulary like a mad-person – these guys were intentional and never deviated from the script.  As you build your decks, be they for fundraising, partner development or sales, build synonym lists for various talking points so you can reinforce that one message you’ve practiced.

  2. Become mindful in your everyday interactions about body language – it was the most obvious difference between many of the founders I talk with and the presenters today.

  3. You can become as polished and articulate as a public company executive, but as a company founder, regardless of your company’s success, never miss out on the opportunity to create meaningful dialogue with outsiders – you may learn something!