Anna Barber is with me today. Anna is my very first repeat guest, but she has taken two new roles since I chatted with her about running Techstars LA. Anna is also one of my closer friends in LA, but she has told me very little about her new job at M13.
Anna has been a partner at M13 for about seven months and is also one of the managing directors at the fund. A prominent pre-seed fund focused on early startups in LA. Hi, Anna.
Hi, Minnie, it’s great to be here. I didn’t realize I was your first repeat guest, but that is a huge honor, especially because I know you just crossed over your hundredth episode. It’s a regular fixture and we all listened to it. You’re doing a great thing for all of us.
Aw, thanks. Well, it’s super fun, but as I said, you have not told me all that much about M13 so I’m using this podcast as my excuse to get an hour of time with you. So yeah, tell me, like, how’s it going at M13.
I love that. And yeah, it was funny. I picked my head up a few days ago and realized that I’ve been here seven months already and it just feels like it’s still all brand new. So I started back in December, as a partner at M13 and the head of our Launchpad, which is our internal studio.
And as you know, before this, I spent four years at Techstars, so I was doing something similar, but not identical running an accelerator. So it’s been an interesting experience for me in transition, going from running an accelerator program, to running a studio program, which really steps back and is kind of earlier in the innovation cycle, and has a really very different kind of way of working and structure to it, you know, than an accelerator.
Well, let’s talk some about the different structure and way of working.
Yes, as I’ve reflected, having been here now for six months. and what the core difference was between this and what I was doing before. In an accelerator, in an accelerator, I felt like my real value was asking great open-ended questions that would help founders kind of open up the aperture about how they thought about their business.
So you come into an accelerator, you already have a target customer, or you’ve got a product you’ve got to go to market strategy and what can be most helpful in that context is seeing your business in a different way. Whereas in a studio you’ve got nothing but wide open space. And what a great studio has to do is provide some constraints, which are the thing that is going to lead to great innovation.
And so my understanding was that you have some constraints and some partnerships already at the Launchpad.
Yes. So the flip side of constraints is thinking about advantages. So how do you anchor innovation with a specific partner or a specific distribution strategy, or maybe a piece of talent or just something that gives you a specific point of view. And that’s the approach that we’ve taken to date with launchpad our first, partner was Procter and gamble, and we built three companies.
This was before my arrival, but we launched three companies in partnership with Proctor and gamble based on IP that they had already developed. and then with PepsiCo, we did a slightly different twist on the partnership, which was, we took as the constraint for also the advantage. Um, some areas that PepsiCo felt were exciting from a market opportunity perspective, focused on, democratizing health and.
so we took that as the constraint that we developed inside is looking at the market through the lens of where PepsiCo saw opportunities based on all the market work that they had.
so was there interesting market work that they had done that was interesting to you to learn about when you joined.
Yes. So when I came in, I mean, I’m, I don’t have a CPG background. I mean, I’m a generalist. Um, and I, you know, I’ve always looked at early stage investing in supporting founder founders from their perspective of just. Being excited to see the world through the eyes of the founders and to learn something new about the particular way in which they see the world.
So I’ve never had a specific, kind of vertical expertise. And to the extent that I did, it was probably more, it’s probably more enterprise software or e-commerce enablement or social games based on my own product background. Definitely not CPG. So this was all really new learning for me, which is exciting.
I like to be learning. I like to be kind of on a steep learning curve. And so to be able to be introduced to kind of how PepsiCo sees the world moving and changing, um, and sees food, moving and changing and sees an opportunity to be a force to democratize health and wellness. Um, it was pretty, it was pretty cool.
Um, are there any things that stand out for you that you’re like? I didn’t really know. That’s how a CPG. Product, you know, got on the shelves or how Pepsi co thinks about things differently than I would have expected.
I think one really interesting learning for me has been around thinking about how you launch a CBD product effectively. and the way in which we, we do innovation here. So, so when you think about PepsiCo’s vantage point, they’re really, creating and distributing products that are for, you know, the large mass population.
They don’t start thinking that the consumer, that they’re building for, you know, is shopping at arrow. Right.
And so that was really exciting to think about innovation from who’s our target customer. Our target customer is, shopping at the seven 11, on the outskirts of Kansas city. so I’ll give you one specific example.
Did you know that 20% of all meals are consumed in the car?
So this isn’t something that I had ever thought about. So when you think about that as a way to innovate for CPG and food, right? So how are you going to eat a healthy well-balanced meal? So when you think about this dichotomy, we’re all told we’re supposed to have this plate of beautiful, fresh fruits and vegetables, right.
And then 20% of your meals are eaten in the car. Right? There’s a huge disconnect there.
Yeah. Anything else on the research that stands out? That’s amazing.
Um, the other thing that really stood out to me was there’s a real high level of sophistication about, about food and the idea of food as medicine kind of across the general population. That really surprised me. So these ideas about eating a low sugar diet and. You know, being gluten-free and you know, fresh ingredients and the idea that you can get, um, vitamins and supplements from your food that can preserve your longterm health.
These are ideas that are widely known and widely accepted. So there’s a big gap right now between. People’s intent and what they know. And we’re talking about all across the population and the availability of products, where they shop when they shop, you know, and that fit in their budget and lifestyle.
And that’s an exciting market opportunity to kind of close that gap between what people know about nutrition and what’s actually available to them.
That feels just really impactful to me. Like How do we help people make better choices when they’re shopping online for groceries?
And they’re go to put something in their cart at that exact moment, how do we help them make a better choice?
It’s a good fit for you. And so just being really mundane here, and you’re trying to launch how many companies, a number of companies with Pepsi co right. Simultaneously.
Yes. And so this isn’t announced yet, so I’ll just give you a little bit of a sneak peek, but we started with, 13 founders in residents. Um, so a Baker’s dozen and ran a 12 week process. And remember this had, this is, we didn’t have a model for this. So it was what happens when we take 12 people, we take some white spaces and we develop a 12 week program to turn those into business ideas.
So we thought that perhaps we would end up with two companies that was kind of the target, you know, that would meet the hurdle of what we felt was a fundable company. And we are, we are now launching five company.
Wow. And by launching them, that means you am 13 or giving them funding.
That’s right. So we’re giving them, seed capital, and now we’re working with them. We’re going into phase two of the studio where we’re incorporating and we’re designing, um, go to market products and, um, using the seed capital to do their initial MVP launches and get some traction with customers and
And one thing that your websites. Is, you’re getting the benefit of the M 13 playbook when you’re one of these sort of founders and residents as part of launch pad.
So the way I’m 13 is structured is a little bit different from a lot of venture funds in that we’ve made a big investment in our operating partners. So we have five operating partners who each have a different expertise, and they are focused on supporting our portfolio.
and so as part of that, they have also provided that expertise and some of the playbooks that they’ve developed to the FII ours, but of course, doing blank sheet innovation is a really different part of the process than kind of growing and then advising a company. How to think about your talent strategy or you know, how to build a growth plan.
And so we also needed to lean heavily on, for example, the PepsiCo R and D team, you know, it was very helpful, um, and sort of thinking through product strategy. And then, and then there’s a whole different set of people who really, frankly, more came from my tech stars network of mentors, you know, who, who were really, really comfortable in the early, early stages.
And when you’re just kind of mucking around in the dark for what the product is that we were able to bring in.
Is there anything that stands out in terms of Pepsi-Co R and D like what their processes are, things that you think CBG companies can really learn from what like a Pepsi-Co is doing.
I’m not sure how much I should actually. Say about that, but I would say one thing I really find refreshing about their process is that it really starts with the customer and looking at things from the customer perspective and building very specific customer archetypes. I was really pretty impressed by the detail and the specificity that went into their customer.
Okay. And, and I think that’s helpful when you’re, again, looking for constraints, getting back to the idea of looking for constraints. When you have an idea of a specific human in mind that you’re designing for, that really helps the product come to life.
Got it. It’s funny on the face of it. It sounds sort of like Techstars, right? You have 12, you know, you have 13 companies here, there, you had 10 companies, but it seems like it would you say it feels very different.
It feels incredibly different. And here’s one reason why, when companies come in to tech stars, there’s already a strong identity and connection of a founder and a company.
So I am bringing and Brittany Chavez and shop Latin X. Right. And Brittany is starting shop Latin. Next status. Her personal mission in life is to build this company, you know, Kelsey Davis and collective, you know, Jack Rolo and polygon.
Right? So those are, those relationships are already set. When you’re working in a studio program, you’ve got 12 founders who don’t know each other. Who don’t know what company they’re starting and who are beginning a journey together, but to get to know each other, to develop some ideas and then to decide if there’s founder market fit and, you know, I’ve, I’ve always been a big believer in founder driven innovation.
So we didn’t want this to be. A program where we run some scientific process where we’re only using data to figure out what the right idea is. And then we’re matching people to the ideas based on some scientific skill assessment, right. There has to be an emotional connection. And so the process of finding an emotional connection for those founders, to some of the ideas that we developed, it’s a messy human process.
That no matter how much structure you put around it, it’s gonna, it’s gonna play out the way it plays out based on what people are intrinsically drawn to working on and what they feel inspired by it. I don’t believe you can dedicate five plus years of your life to building a company. If you don’t have a deep, personal passion.
Hmm. Um, I want to get into M and, and the fund, I mean, and 30 more broadly. Do you, but let me stay on launchpad. Do you feel like you’ve developed any emotional connection around this space, sort of in health and wellness, is anything really standing out to you interest wise?
I think, I feel really inspired by the idea of meeting people where they are and really being, um, Uh, really being realistic about people, how people eat and live and trying to help them get what they need in that framework. You know, rather than, you know, a lot of us don’t have time to kind of reverse engineer our diets and spend hours and hours planning what we’re going to eat every week.
So I, I feel excited about it. Anything that’s gonna make the world better? I feel excited about.
You know, so, so one thing that we spent some time thinking about was how do we help people eat like a low sugar diet when they’re on the road? Right? Like that feels just really impactful to me. How do we help people make better choices when they’re shopping online for groceries?
And they’re go to put something in their cart at that exact moment, how do we help them make a better choice? Um, so, so, so yeah, so I w w what gets me is the idea of being able to impact health, um, and longevity by bringing new products into the world that are really gonna fit into the way people actually live.
Totally five years is just a long time to do anything. Uh, what about moving off launch pad into M 13 more broadly, you folks are still investing out of your $175 million fund to
Correct. we’re getting ready to wrap that one up, but yeah, so we are still investing. And so here’s another interesting twist, which is, I think because of the work we’ve done in launchpad, people see us as a CBG. Fund. But in fact, we are a very technology focused fund. We are a consumer fund. We are interested in looking at changing consumer behavior and investing in the future of consumer behavior, but really from a technology perspective.
So our series a investing is really, is really technology. Um, not that we would never do CPG and we do have CBD in our portfolio, but that’s not our fault.
And you’re saying, so help me navigate M 13 a tiny bit. So there’s, did you take five operating partners? I had Courtney on the podcast, but give me a little bit more color on kind of who’s who and what goes on there.
Yes. So we have the investing team, which is led by Latif brunch. in New York and I participate in the investing committee. And so does Carl Alomar, who’s our managing partner, and Courtney and Carter, Um, so that’s five partners really on the investing side and then five partners on the operating.
Right. But how we make decisions is, is, is really collaborative. We’re trying to do the hard work here of being able to really, truly unlock the value of what everyone, every single partner and every member of the team kind of came in the door, knowing. So, for example, when we’re looking at HR tech, Matt Hoffman, who’s our head of talent, right?
He’s Got a deep expertise in that field and he’s really interested in kind of the future of HR tech. And so he’s involved in leading those deals. So we put together kind of bespoke deal teams, depending on what type of company we’re looking at. And we actually have an ongoing project, or we’re trying to get better right now at identifying expertise in the firms.
So we know exactly who to go to for, for each, um, for each subject matter area.
Got it. So again, in addition to these 13 companies, you are also responsible for making series a investments.
I am. I am able to make series a investments.
Yes. Right. So I can lead series a investments. I would say my day job is running launchpad and there’s only five companies just FYI. We had 13 founders and residents. We’ve got five companies. Plus we’ve got four others that are ongoing. So right now we have nine in there.
Sure. And that’s a lot, but you do also have front row seats to series a investments being made.
And I have to say has been a real education for me many, because it is a totally different process from investing at the early stage. these checks are really big. and the amount of diligence and, you know, number crunching and kind of analytics we’re doing around these investments is, extensive.
Yeah. I mean, I’d love to know more about that because you’ve seen it all. You, you you’re, you’re running studio, you’ve done pre-seed fund. Pre-seed investing at the fund and at Techstars, I mean, you’ve done it. You’ve done it all. Um, tell me more, tell me more about this series a investments. And is it, you know, is it the diligence that mostly is different?
I mean, I love that. You said that I do feel definitely like I’m at a point where I feel like I’m a Jack of all trades and a master of none, perhaps, you know, and that’s just been the way I’ve approached my career. Cause I just. Just follow my curiosity and learn new things. But if you, if you don’t stick at one stage, then you kind of never get to be an expert.
which is something I’m grappling with now. But, um, but yeah, the diligence process is longer. You know, I have that personality where I want to, decide, I, you know, I want to be in decision, right. I tend to make quick, quick gut decisions. Um, I am also very capable of changing my mind quickly.
If I get new data. But the way to really be a great series a investor is to avoid getting to that decision point for as long as possible to keep an open mind, right. While collecting more data. And there’s a real art, you know, as well as a science to kind of knowing what data to go get and what questions to ask, and spending a lot of time, you know, as a group talking through it. Um, and so that has been a really interesting for me to learn that process, uh, and to really be a student of that process of, how to be a great series a investor, which is very different from the work at the fund. And also the work at Techstars, which is much more focused on the founder and founder market fit and, and founder potential.
Um, one of, I have many favorite guests, but Omar Hamoui said transitioning from a founder, like time is not on your side. Like every decision needs to be made quicker and then transitioning into an investment. Actually more time is always what you want.
You said it’s an art to sort of knowing the right questions to ask and the right diligence, has there been anything sort of non-intuitive around how that diligence is done?
I mean, like we all talk to customers, you know,
I would say it’s about pushing past. Um, when you think you have conviction to go and do the one more phone call and to go and do like the one deeper luck. Right. And that for me has been the thing, you know,
that’s been tough, you know, is pushing myself. It’s also been a really interesting time to be a student of series a investing just because of what’s happened in the market, you know, in the past year or particularly the past six months with, timelines, speeding up, you know, with there being a feeling of just, um, You know, plentiful capital in the market and people moving faster.
Um, I think the, the, the first round, you know, first round said that their average time had gone from what 90 days to, to nine or something like that for our process. So, so trying to run a really deep process, in a, 10 day period is, it’s really drop everything else and just focus on this one day.
Yeah. Um, does that pace feel. A lot different to you. Like, does it, you know, how does, how does it feel inside of that sort of need to have all the diligence and have it done in, you know, tomorrow?
those two things feel to me very much in conflict. So my tendency is okay if we need to move fast and we know we want to do it, then let’s just do it. We have a good gut feeling. You cannot do that process if you’re, you know, you know, in series a, so we’ve really needed to, find ways to just do the same rigorous process, but just do it in a, you know, in a more efficient way. and part of that involves, you know, bringing in more people, we do have the luxury of having a great deep team, Um,
with a lot of expertise. And so the more we can access that and do things as a team, the more we can, uh, we can meet those twin goals of getting to an answer quickly and getting to the right answer because we did all the work.
Yeah, I think I told you that my friend who pitched you guys for his series a came away and was like, there was so much dazzle.
What did he mean by dazzle?
Well, what he said was he was like, well, Richard Branson, like there’s a picture of him. He’s like an advisor to end 13 or something. There was some, um, and I think it was mostly around sort of the network and advisors you have around the table.
Yes. Um, yes, there are a number of LPs and friends of the firm and our founder portfolio who are, you know, kind of close friends of the firm and, and you know, who we consider. You know, we consider, uh, our friends and partners and Richard Branson is one of them.
Do you think it has some dazzle? Do you think I’m 13 has some basil
I’m so not a dazzle person. I mean, you know, I th I.
think we’re kind of dazzle adjacent, Um,
Do you think some of that is there’s a lot of ambition at M 13.
I do. I think there’s a, there’s a big vision and that, that starts with the founders. I mean, I think Courtney and Carter had a very, specific and very big vision for what they’re trying to build. And part of being an M 13.
is, is buying into that and wanting to be part of that and, and part of the team that makes it hard.
How do you, what is that visit?
it’s a venture engine, you know, fully integrated venture engine, um, you know, focused on the future of consumer that has a big voice in the market. you know, in a big impact on the future of consumer behavior.
Yeah. I’ve been thinking some about like, how do I articulate what 10, 1, 10, or our vision is, and I’m not, I’m going to cut this out of the podcast because I can’t articulate it quite that clearly I’ve been thinking about it though. So that’s something, um, I have a framework for it though, Anna. Um, so, so
like that. I would like to see what your framework is. You know, maybe I could, maybe I could use it.
I’ll tell you it’s called play to win, which is great. Cause you get to play.
Yeah. Played a win, Anna.
platelets. Do that.
Okay. You can look it up online. Uh, so, and if you are not the one who’s bringing the dazzle, what stamp, how would you say, like, what’s the voice that you have at the fund? Um, at a, at an end 13, like what Sam have you brought to, to the.
What a great question. I think my, my particular contribution to M 13 is my. Passion and advocacy for early stage founders in particular, the kind of like emotional journey of being a founder. Um, my deep commitment to investing in underrepresented founders, which is really my track record and like my absolute comfort with rolling up my sleeves and getting messy with people at the very early stages when they don’t know what they’re doing, My willingness to be kind of in the boat with them. Um, you know, and, and, and so I think from a culture perspective, that’s really, you know, what I bring, um, then from like a practical perspective, you know, I’ve been around the LA ecosystem for a long time. I know a lot of founders, you know, so I’m bringing my whole network and all of, all of the work I did at Techstars to kind of help build the LA ecosystem, um, really by starting with the founders.
Right. So it’s a very much a kind of, um, community grassroots approach that.
Well, and you’re very people focused.
So that’s consistent with the, the empathy for the founder journey is, is series a sourcing quite different? I mean, is it still all inbound or does it yeah.
I mean, yes. Our investing team has an entire sourcing strategy. Um, but, um, if you look at. If you look at where deals come from, that we’re investing in, it’s very network based and it’s very inbound and referral based. And you think that’s probably true, you know, for, for, for most funds, um, you know, for most firms, um, is, and part of the reason to focus on thinking about we are in the market and how we’re known, and what we’re known for right is wanting founders who feel like they’re a fit and feel like what we have to say, resonate, wanting them to come to us.
Um, I send founders your way.
You do. Thank you. We appreciate it. Hope we can do more together.
Yeah, me too. Me too. I’ve sent a couple that you just did one. I appreciate it works in both ways. So, um, so then on the sort of the other end of the, the early stage extreme, you’ve got the fund and, I want everyone to make sure they know about the fund.
I’m an LP in the fund. So, um, so why don’t we transition there?
Absolutely. Um, the fund is. Let’s call it a fun passion project side hustle for me. Um, it’s a lot more than that for the people that founded it. So Jenny fielding and Scott Hartley are my partners and who founded the fund, and are now in the process of building and it really into a global, pre-seed investing platform.
It’s in eight markets now, which is unbelievable, but I’m a partner in the fund LA along with three other partners, Josh Reiner and Austin, and. The fund is focused on pre-seed investing. So really first round and we’re focused on Southern California. We also invest in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, a little known facts.
Um, but the thesis of the fund is founders are the best position to help founders. So in keeping with the theme we were talking about of me being very community focused and kind of grassroots and, believing that the way that helped people at the early stages is to get other operators who. I’ve been through that journey.
and that’s really the whole thesis of the fund is it’s not just capital. So we’re writing a 50 K check. It’s a very simple model. We only write 50 K tax. We do it in the first funding round, but then what we do is we layer in the community. We’ve got over 500 people now in our global community. So any recommendation you need, any referral, any piece of advice, there’s going to be someone inside that network that can give it to you.
Yeah. And also I’m at 10, 1 10, we’re a seed fund and so we’re early, but like, there are plenty of people I meet who are just too early for us. And it’s so nice to have that as a resource in LA.
Yes, exactly. We are never going to say to someone you’re too early, that is never a thing that’s going to come from the fund because there really is no such thing at the fund is too early. And I know even, you know, Yeah. Seed funds have to tell people now that they’re too early, um, And, and so that’s why the fund was, was formed, was to kind of solve that problem.
I’m also, you know, we had our first in-person event, um, for the fund, um, just last week, which was so exciting. I am really looking forward to having the fund be a way of building community, um, and you know, building a community around that in LA and just getting live events, going again.
Yeah, totally. I’m excited to go to all those life events. Uh, I want to go backwards to one thing you were talking about a little bit was what did you say? You’re a Jack of all trades, a master of none or something, you know, do you feel like you have to pick a lane? I think I’ve heard you talk about feeling like you have to pick up.
Why? Why do you feel like you have to pick a lane?
I mean, I think a couple of reasons that’s just been on my mind. And one reason is, you know, being at a series, a fund, it’s kind of, you know, to invest at that stage, you really have to understand a vertical or if you verticals kind of deeply in order to be effective, I think. Um, so I’ve been thinking about it from that perspective.
Um, you know, and, and, um, just from the perspective, yeah. I feel like I’m starting a new chapter in my life and what do I want this chapter to be about? Right. What do I want my impact to be? So I decided really in the last phase that my impact was really going to be about, being founder focused, thinking about it.
ETQ and leadership as what I really wanted to communicate and speak about and be known for. And then, you know, my mission really is about supporting underrepresented founders and helping them get more capital. Cause I want to think about, I want to think about what, what, what are the activities that are really gonna move me forward and, and how do I let go of that stuff?
That’s not that. And so now I’m thinking about how is that different now in this new role and what do I want my impact to be?
And so I think about kind of picking a lane in terms of what do I want to contribute and what do you know? And so then where do I need to go?
Um, I don’t have an answer yet, but that’s kind of what I’m grappling with right now.
Hmm. And how do you think about different options there? Like, is it building community with founders who might not have access to capital or like, are there different
Yeah. So I think that there’s kind of, um, you, you, you can either go vertical or horizontal, right. So, you know, if you’re going to go horizontal, right. Which is where I kind of focused before.
I think in, the structure that I’m currently in, there’s an opportunity to think more about a vertical focus.
you know, I’m really interested in climate tech and that’s an area where I really want to get smart, particularly thinking about consumer solutions. I’m also, um, Getting on in years. And I’m very interested in what we call this silver tech space.
So, you know, technology for people as they age and supporting the institutions that are supporting people as the age, that’s another area I really want to dig into and then found tech. You know, one of our amazing launchpad companies is Kendra, which was co-developed with P and G. Um, recently announced their seed fund raise led by female founders five in prime time.
Um, I’m fortunate enough to be on the board of that company. I think products and services for women and menopause and just fam tech in general is a really exciting.
great. Well, I’d love to work on clean tech with you. Um, both of those areas are very. Both of those areas are very impact focused areas. You talk a lot about impact. Do you ever think about winning or like VC is set up as such a competitive setup where you’re winning deals and then you’re competing for returns.
Do you think about playing in that space? Do you think about, do you think about competing?
Do you think about competing or like what you want to compete on?
I think I do think about it. Where I want to be in terms of yeah. What I want my impact to be and like what I want my legacy to be. Right. So I don’t know if I would really frame it as winning as much as being able to, um, feel like satisfied and proud about what I accomplished,
you know? And yeah.
Yup. Um, well actually, that’s another thing that you had told me I had wanted to bring up. You said you got to interview Jerry Colonna, right?
Well, everyone says he’s one of the great coaches, right? So did he help you think through some of these life directions and decisions or what’s, what’s his advice?
So, you know, Jerry’s philosophy. If I had to kind of boil it down, I would say, first of all, Jerry’s all about radical self inquiry, right. And believes that kind of self investigation is the way to personal growth. He also has this belief that. Work can be a crucible for learning about ourselves.
And that we often play out our kind of emotional dramas, like in the workplace, um, and patterns from our childhood repeat themselves. Right. And until you understand those connections and how your past experiences are driving your current behavior.
then you’re not going to be able to kind of see your blind spots and learn and grow as a leader. And so we like understand that, right? It’s going to be hard for us to grow as executives and leaders, but that growing as a leader, you know, in Jerry’s world is really an emotional journey.
Right. And until you tap into that emotional aspect of it, right, you’re not going to access that growth.
So our childhood patterns play out in our work relationships. And so what does he say we’re supposed to do about that?
So it’s kind of. Giving you permission to talk about your life, right? And they’re the important relationships in your life, which are always your family relationships and how that impacts how you show up, you know, as a boss, as a team member, as a coworker, right?
So a lot of his work is about that is about integrating those things.
And that theme about being integrated, I think, is something that really is meaningful for me because I have, you know, found the more open I am about who I really am and ways in which I’ve screwed up and, you know, my own kind of mistakes and flaws and my own kind of windy journey.
And the more I share that. I become more authentically myself. The more connected I become, the more effective I am.
Hmm. So does, is that one of his sort of techniques? So you said it’s your disordered self investigation, right? What are his techniques for doing that?
I mean, Jerry’s main technique is, very direct questioning, you know, with open-ended but powerful questions. So Jerry will just ask people. How are you and just keep asking them right. Until they really hear the question. And even just that one simple question can lead you to all kinds of places. If you really answer it.
And don’t just give the stock answer of like, oh, I’m fine. You know, I’ve been a little busy or haven’t been sleeping, but if you really deeply think what is the answer to the question? How are you.
Hmm. Should I ask you in a, like, how are you, how are you, how are you?
How are you?
Um, thanks for asking many I’m I’m feeling good. how would I answer this question? I am, I’m about to leave on a vacation. So I’m feeling like there’s a lot of loose ends to wrap up and that’s got me kind of, um, a little bit stressed at the edges, but, um, But overall I’m good. I feel like I’m in a really exciting transition point and period of growth and joining I’m 13 has been a great new opportunity.
That’s opened up a lot of doors for me and ways of, you know, rethinking, like I was saying before, what I want my impact and my legacy to be. And I think one of the biggest opportunities for me has been thinking through really what it means to be part of a team. Um, you know, when I look back on my career, I’ve spent most of the last 20 years being independent, um, being a lone ranger, either being the CEO or being really an independent operator.
And, we are very much a team and I’m 13. It’s been an adjustment for me. both seeing where my work touches other people’s work and pushing me to be more collaborative. And then also realizing that, that I have other people I can rely on, you know, has been a real gift.
So I don’t know if you found that when you, you know, got into your partnership and maybe you weren’t kind of as much as a, of a kind of solo flyer as I had been, but that’s been a, that’s been a shift.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, just reflecting on you, like my outward observation, it feels like a big step up in terms of the platform you have, the impact you can have, uh, being at M 13, does.
I hope so. I think so. Um, I think I have yet to really fully step into the role and step into my shoes. Um, and that’s something I’m looking forward to doing and, and, you know, working out in the next six years.
Well, that’s great. It’s almost a good note to end on, but I’m not going to end it there. Um, I want to stay on Jerry Colonna. I want to figure out how to fit this back in. But you said memory
You should bring Gary on. I mean, I know he’s not an LABC, but maybe, uh,
oh, he would be so good, right?
it would be so good.
Oh, but he’d asked me, how are you?
Yeah. He, he would probably try to get you to cry and, you know, or you would end up crying. Cause that’s just the effect he has on people.
What a weird way to go through life. No one ever cries. When they talk to me, no one but, okay. But you described, you said he asked you or he talks about, uh, how have you been, he asked you, how have you been complicit in the conditions you complain about? Am I summarizing correctly?
Yes. How have I been complicit in creating the conditions that I say I don’t want? So, what I love about this question.
if you break it down is, um, complicit. It doesn’t say responsible. So that’s not asking me to say all of this is my fault. It’s just saying I’ve got a part here. So I’m saying I don’t want this.
So let’s use an example, right? I’m too busy. Right? My, my day is packed with too many new meetings or whatever. I’ve got too much on my plate. I don’t have time to think.
I have a part in that. What’s my part. Why is that happening?
You have a big part in that one.
exactly. Right. And because that, it just gives you the opportunity. Once you start thinking about it from that lens, then it immediately is going to take you to like, oh, therefore I can do something about it.
Right. I can also be part of fixing this. I can be part of the solution.
Hmm. Can we stay on that one? Cause I think that’s something we all face some of
Um, do you like being busy or do you feel too busy,
I both like being busy. I thrive on it. you know, it it’s like they say, if you want to get something done, ask a busy,
So I love that, that feeling of, of momentum. Right. But there’s a good balance between, you know, there’s a momentum And then it shifts over into fade Teague.
Right. And it affects your ability to think,
So the, and this is something I’m always fine.
Tuning is thinking about what’s on my calendar and why it’s there. And is it strategic? And for me now, this conversation has become, is there someone else who would be better suited to handle this? Send me, right.
a good phrase. Yeah.
Um, right. So it’s, it’s not necessarily about, is this not important enough that I don’t have to do it just as there is someone who is better suited to, take this meeting or to do this?
Oh, that’s great. Interesting. Um, yeah, I mean, I, I don’t know that I have to fill this on the podcast, but I do remember when I moved to town and asked everyone in town for a meeting and you’re like, Hey, you know, I really don’t do meetings. So, um, I think you did offer me a phone call. I think you did.
I think at that point, I was going through a very particular phase where I had decided that managing my calendar was going to be about for a while. I wasn’t going to meet new people. Right. And then I’ll go into a different phase.
Yeah. I think Mark’s sister to his credit said, sure. Why don’t you show up at upfront tomorrow? And you said, I’m sorry, I don’t want to go. I want to hang out, but that’s okay. I
You’re never going to, let me forget this. Are you, I feel like you bring this up every time.
I know, and I believe that I’m going to see you tonight and on Sunday. So
Yes. So we’ve got plenty of times
I, I wore you down Ana. Um, and
You won me over. You’re my absolute favorite new friends. So.
oh, that’s great.
Okay. And I think this is a wonderful place to wrap up. Thank you so much for being my first two time guest. It’s an honor.
Thank you for having me many. I, hope it was worthy of a 📍 two time visit. Um, but I always, I always love chatting with you. So
Great. Great, great. Um, that was fantastic. Did we? I feel like we covered a lot.
I feel like we covered a lot too. I don’t know if I send anything specific enough. I always feel like I’m like spouting platitudes, you know?
Um, there were a lot of things, there were a lot of things that were really good. Uh, your talk about the impact was really good. Like, so I’m always my own audience. You’re talking about sort of the impact you want to have. Um, was really good. Like I could talk about that. Like, I’m, I’m very, like, I want to learn from how you think about what criteria you use to think about your own impact when it happened the world.
well, I’m, it’s what I’m going to be focused on in all seriousness, like for the next few months. So like, I’ll let you know how it goes. Right. And it’s been, cause in some ways, like, I think it’s interesting that you said you feel like this platform is bigger. Right. And this is like, you know, off the record.
Cause in some ways I feel like I’m like disappeared. right?
I feel like I’m disappearing into this very internal focused role. Like I don’t have a platform anymore. Like I’m not as visible, you know? And so, and that’s part of what I’m thinking about is like how,
Yeah. Uh, so no, I mean, again, off the record, but sorry, I’m just riffing with you. You know what I mean? Moving so shift is a big public company in San Francisco and like, whatever, but no one cared in San Francisco in LA. I can be like, yeah, I’m a founder of a company that went public and it’s like, that’s a bigger deal because LA is just way smaller.
And so sometimes like this sort of bigger fish, smaller pond is kind of a fun like you
it’s a good thing.
But I do feel like I was or bigger fish when I was at tech stars. right.
And now that I’m like, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m one of 10 partners. I’m not a GP, you know, it’s like,
feel a little bit sometimes invisible. Like I’m not even many, like I’m not even like, or LP decks because, because the launchpad isn’t part of like the, and so they don’t put me in there because it’s not, you know what I mean?
And so it, it just, but it’s just kind of a weird feeling. It’s like, Okay.
what did I sign up for a day? I sign up for something where I’m totally invisible and I’m like hidden off in this corner, running this thing. Kind of asterisk. It’s not really the fund, it’s this other thing. And
you know, and like,
And you’re going to be so busy with launching five companies or w you know, that you’re not going to be doing, you know,
I’m not going to be writing articles and like out there, you know, visible and like leading a lot of series ADL’s I mean, the truth is it’s like, it’s incredibly, time-consuming the way we do it. right.
And it’s like, I have to really pick and choose what I’m going to work on because like, I just don’t, you know, I don’t, I can’t, I just have to really be judicious with my time.
What process are you going to go through? Like, like working with, like, if you could work with Jerry or someone, like, I feel like you would have like some structure, like, how are you.
I mean, it probably wouldn’t be Jerry, but I am actually thinking about getting a coach. Like I am actually thinking about working on this with a coach, but it would be more like our coach who focuses on like tactical. Um, you know, career development, right? Cause I want to think about, I want to think about what, what, what are the activities that are really gonna move me forward and, and how do I let go of that stuff?
That’s not that.
Right. And, and find someone who’s better suited to do that.
Exactly. Exactly. So grapple with everything from like, you know, I just made my 75th investment, so it’s like, Okay. so how much time am I spending with all those Techstars companies? Like how much time do I put into that? Like how much do I help? Who do I decide to dig in and help with versus not? And how does that fit into kind of what I’m trying to do?
but it’s also, where do you want to end up, like, do you want to end up as the most prominent partner who’s championed diversity in LA or something like
right, right. Do I want to be that? Do I want to be known for climate tack? Do I want to be known like, or do I want to just say, like, who cares about any of that? I just want to live my life and like garden or whatever, you
right. Yeah. Okay. That’s good. Well, let me know,
I think it’s also like, it’s also like, you know.
I mean, I’m 52 now. Like I feel like I have one big, more cycle,
I know, I know. I totally, I totally get it until I get it. Yeah. Um,
I’m really excited to see you later. I’m feeling like I wish I were more eloquent. I’m always like my own worst critic. I’m always like, you know,
No, no, no. There was a lot of really good stuff
And then, um, the other thing I’m thinking about is like, did I say enough?
Like stuff, like we get a lot of pressure to be like, did you give like your talking points or did you yeah, I don’t know.
You know what I actually thought was one of the best parts that wasn’t about you was when you gave the vision for M 13.
right. Yeah. Okay. Good. And I talked about Courtney and Carter and how has their vision, right? Yeah. That’s important.
That was actually really good. Like it was a big, like, I feel like 10, 1 10. Sometimes our mission is like raise a $75 million fund and it’s like, that’s not an ambition. Um,
right, right, right. Okay. Good. I’m glad you felt like I nailed that Cause that’s what will matter,
you know, to pristine Troy, our head of brand. Like that’s what will matter.
Okay. Great. Well, this was fantastic. I’ll give you two minutes back. How about that? What a
Okay. Hugs. I’ll see you
I’ll see you tonight.