I was a guest this morning at a board meeting at TellApart — and something really struck me. It was my first time in a TellApart-specific meeting, although I’ve known the company a while, and really like it.
Here’s what struck me. Of the folks in attendance, one was my partner at Greylock James, who I work closely with every day. Then there was the CEO, Josh McFarland, who I’ve known for more than a dozen years, since he first got out of Stanford. And Ajay Agarwal, from Bain Capital, who started at Trilogy the same summer I did — so I’ve known him now for 17 years. And counsel is Anthony McCusker, from Goodwin Proctor, who I’ve known for 14 years, since he was an associate attorney and incorporated our startup Reactivity.
So that’s 3 guys I’ve known more than a dozen years each, and someone I work with every day. I’ve done many things with each of them in different contexts over the years, but this was the first time in this configuration, to talk about this thing.
A couple of observations:
1) It made me really happy to be with these folks. I really love working with each of them.
2) It was neat to be in a meeting where so many connections were so developed & nuanced — where people really knew each other.
But the main thing I felt is this: the work we do here, in Silicon Valley specifically, but in our industry more generally — using technology to transform the world around us — is lifelong work. In the best cases, we’ll each attack different parts of the problems at different times in different ways. But we’ll continue along making dents in the universe, separately and together.
This — what we do — is the long game.
It’s not transactional. It’s not about this funding round or that deal or this other distribution hack. It’s about making huge differences over a long period with the people in your crew, your tribe.
As I’ve written before, knowing the folks who you want to be in a crew with — that’s about the most important set of decisions you can make. Know your tribe. It’s everything.