Even though there are 3 older posts on this blog, this one is the real introductory post. I wanted to include those other posts for a few reasons: (a) it’s lonely to be the first blog post, so I wanted it to have some company from the beginning; (b) those are articles I wrote back in 2002 and they’re not found anywhere online now, so I wanted to give them a home; (c) it’s amusing to have some blog posts with dates prior to when most people knew what a blog was; and most importantly (d) they cover some points that are still relevant today.

Of particular relevance to Sevanta Dealflow is my article on Demystifying Venture Capital. In it I talk about the rare use of hard metrics by VCs for internal operational planning and assessment. I give as an example a quarterly effort my old firm, IDG Ventures, engaged in to calculate our “dealflow market share”–an incredibly useful exercise and something that to this day I still haven’t heard of any other firms doing (correct me here if you do!). And I talked about how mastery of metrics like those can be helpful for maintaining the confidence of limited partners in the years before they know how your investment choices will impact ROI.

I’ve branched out into a lot of different areas since 2002, but it’s neat to re-read some of the thoughts I had way back then that I’m still bringing to life through Sevanta Dealflow. I’ll explore these issues in more detail in the next few posts.

But in this inaugural post I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my mentor in my first venture job. Pat Kenealy left PC WORLD as CEO to found IDG Ventures in 1996, and it wasn’t long afterward that he hired me straight out of Harvard College.

Pat is a grandmaster of operational metrics. He was great at grilling entrepreneurs to make sure they knew their business metrics inside and out, and I’m sure he was able to make some of his greatest picks based on finding startup managers with a similar viselike grip on their numbers.

I also respected how he ran IDG Ventures the same way. We knew more about our own dealflow and operations than any other firm I knew at the time or have seen since. We did this partly to help manage our relationship with our limited partners, but I think it was a deeply ingrained part of his personality and how he learned to run businesses in the publishing sector.

I’m grateful to have had that example early in my career, and I appreciate that his general approach to using metrics to understand where you are and where you’re going has had a great impact on all my work since then. Thanks, Pat!

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