When we started, we thought we were looking for smart people, but it turned out that intelligence was not as important as we expected. If you imagine someone with 100 percent determination and 100 percent intelligence, you can discard a lot of intelligence before they stop succeeding. But if you start discarding determination, you very quickly get an ineffectual and perpetual grad student.

Paul Graham – Money Man – Entrepreneur.com

Launching new products with video

There is no question that Apple has done an amazing job promoting new products with video.

Take a look at the Smart Cover video and whether you are an apple fan or not, the quality of the story and the product are excellent.

Many young companies are also using beautiful, creative video to launch new products.

A few years back, Tumblr created this video to launch Tumblr v5.

Last year, Twitter released this video with the launch of #newTwitter. 

And recently I saw this Jambox video which did a fine job showing me how the product works. 

There are many ways to tell a story about your new product. But I’m appreciating the power of video to bring the message home. 

one more thing: if you do choose to use video, make sure it works with mobile browsers

Does your company culture allow mistakes

A few months ago I wrote down some thoughts about failure, our fear of failure and our ability (inabilty) to embrace it.

The other day I was talking to a founder in our portfolio.

They made a mistake inside of their orgnazation and everyone knew it. I was processing this issue with the founder and trying to better understand what happened so I could try to be a sounding board and also get my arms around the issues. 

After chatting about it for a bit this founder told me that he’s happy the team made the mistake.

Yes, the mistake was unfortunate but he wants a company culture where people feel supported to experiment and try out new things even if they don’t work out. 

That conversation hit me square between the eyes.

It’s too easy and tempting for managers or board members to try and fix any problem that shows up with typical questions like : Why did that happen? Is he/she the right person to be running that team? Is he/she scaling? 

But this founders philosophy resonated with me big time. And I’ll take it with me forever. Building the right culture is critical. And so are making mistakes. 

While it took about 18 months to sign up the first 500,000 accounts, we now see close to 500,000 accounts created every day. All of this momentum and growth often pales in comparison to a single compassionate Tweet by a caring person who wants to help someone in need