Who I am:
I invest in high growth tech companies, especially software companies and nerd out about them daily. I'm usually pretty happy, sometimes tipping over into silliness. I love heretical ideas, sunken treasures, rare steaks, raw data, unfiltered emotion, fierce debates and whole grain mustard. I enjoy thinking in two-axis charts. I alternate between classical music, EDM with lyrics, Pixar songs and the soundtracks of my favorite movies/shows. I focus on optimizing time: either moving towards a goal or experiencing something new.
What I've done:
I’m from a small town in Northern Maine where my family has owned and operated a general store since 1914. Growing up, I worked with my father and grandfather doing whatever needed to be done: repairing the roof, cashiering, stocking shelves and (my favorite) demolition. My dad woke before dawn each morning to open the shop. Once in a while I woke up with him.
When I was twelve, I started investing in stocks. My first three were a biotech company, an oil driller and a shipwreck hunting company. I didn’t make much money in the end (see: Black Swan Treasure), but I did become addicted to studying businesses.
At Harvard, I found my way onto the board of the investment club, spent an inordinate amount of time on stock pitch competitions and thriving off of the raw intellectual debates that investments represent. I majored in economics but I thrived on different perspectives, taking classes in philosophy, gender studies and sociology. Especially, I loved arguing late into the night with archaeology students about the ethics of selling sunken treasure. I could've spent another four years.
After graduating, I joined a mutual fund company that was willing to offer my own coverage universe of public companies to research and invest in. They happened to be small tech companies and many of them were SaaS. As a value investor, it took me a long time to understand SaaS businesses but I finally came around and we invested in some great ones: ServiceNow, Shopify, Wix. It wasn't always smooth: I learned some valuable investing lessons the hard way.
Along the way, I had gotten to know the team at Matrix, a venture firm in Boston. I had never thought of being a VC before, but I was blown away by the partners, who had mostly founded and sold tech companies, and the ethos of the firm: tech forward, relentlessly pro-entrepreneur, thinking in decades. I joined as the only non-GP on the investment team and spent two years venturing as part of a close-knit group of investors. I sourced two investments (to my surprise, neither in enterprise software) and had my entire worldview changed by interacting with founders who were changing the world (and straightening teeth!) with their drive, ambition and brilliance. I also found some personal limitations: I'm not a natural salesperson, rejecting founders left emotional marks that didn't fade over time, and I have a leaky memory that made managing so many processes a daily struggle. Throughout my time at Matrix, I kept investing in public companies, especially SaaS companies, which drove lots of the content for this blog.
I wasn't planning to go back to investing in public companies until I met the founder of Coatue and joined to lead public software investing there. As such, lots of what I used to post here became proprietary and the blog quieted down for awhile.
I'm now at a new firm called Steadview where I lead US investing with an emphasis, and so the blog is back! I'm excited to get back on a cadence of sharing thoughts whenever this format makes the most sense.
A Framework for Modeling Product Development
The Case for Startups in the Age of Goliaths
On Lifetime Value of Customers