Zaplet, Inc / RightNow
1. Vinod Kosla, a very prestigious and experienced venture capitalist, spent a lot of time and energy mentoring the Zaplet founders. What do you think of the way Kosla shaped the development of the venture? Was this beneficial to the founders? Khosla’s approach to successfully developing the venture was pragmatic and fast growth oriented, but flexible enough to progressively focusing the business into the most viable solutions, thus avoiding long runs into unviable paths. His “project friendly” managing style and his ambitious but farsighted strategic approach are impressive and, much adequate to developing a “risk-friendly” start-up venture. On one hand, he carefully managed his relation with the project founders, respecting their perceived sense of ownership and he focused his actions on closely following and mentoring the development team by confidently presenting his orientations and views without imposing them (at the end of the day, decisions were not his), by setting challenging goals and milestones and by facilitating the resources and tools required to achieving them. On the other hand, Khosla was an ambitious venture capitalist that trusted his venture selection and managing abilities to adopt a risk-friendly strategic approach: his 7 steps “shepherd” strategic development model involved a large initial investment in people (the gene pool) and other associated overheads to ensure technical and managing quality is embedded in the venture from the starting point. He then fostered the development of a pull of business areas within the venture for subsequent filtering by an experienced CEO, based on prototype, experiments and business planning findings and results. Once filtered, a focused plan on the selected business areas would be the basis of further development, which would be fine tuned from beta usage feed-back and other findings. Although one might argue that this approach leads to inefficient project resourcing...
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