Weekly All Hands Meeting

I worked at a number of startups and big companies before becoming a venture capitalist.

I’ve brought with me a number of lessons I try to keep in my brian so I remember what it was all about. But often I learn the best things from our portfolio companies.

An example of something I’ve learned from our portfolio companies is the weekly all hands meeting. I wish we did this at my previous startups. Like it sounds, the meeting is where you bring the entire company together every single week. For the most part, the all hands meeting is a place to discuss a number of things:

  • update everyone on company goals and progress
  • update each other on what everyone is working on
  • opportunity for employees to ask the ceo/founders questions or concerns
  • demonstrate new things

Some of our portfolio companies invite their investors to attend or talk at these weekly meetings about various topics or just q&a. I always enjoy those sessions. 

The weekly all hands meeting makes a huge difference with culture, moral and communication. The key of good weekly meetings vs not good are transparency and consistency. Those are the essential ingredients. 

These meetings are important even in the earliest days. I asked David Karp (Tumblr founder and ceo) about this topic last night and he told me:

One of my biggest regrets is waiting until we were about 20 people to start holding regular weekly All Teams. Getting up there in front of so many people I adored was overwhelming, and my first attempt was hardly inspiring. I realized I could have had three years of practice, and a chance to work my way up to the big team, if I’d started earlier.

And as you grow you should keep them going. I’m told Google still has the weekly all hands meeting. Twitter has about 900 employees and they have “Tea Time” every single week. 

I’d love to hear from other folks things that make a great weekly all hands meeting. Such an important thing to do. 

Update: I asked Dennis Crowley (cofounder and ceo at foursquare) about his all hands meeting. Here’s what dennis told me:

i try to walk people thru:  new hire intros (everyone says 3 sentences about themselves), team updates (product, eng, community, talent, etc), then usually there’s one 5-8 min presentation from someone on the team (“noah is going to walk us thru monetization roadmap”) and then end on Q&A.

Dennis also emphasized the importance of using the time wisely especially as the company grows larger. Great point.

* * * 

(disclosure: our firm is an investor in Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare.)

My partner, Mo

I first met Mo about 5 years ago. I’m pretty sure it was Santo that made the initial intro. He was working at IAC at the time, and I really enjoyed meeting him. His energy, passion and opinions about the world of media and technology left a mark with me.

We stayed in touch and a few years later we all agreed that he would be a great addition to the Spark team.

It’s been three years since Mo joined our firm as a principal. In addition to leading investments on our behalf in some amazing companies, Mo has made our team and portfolio better in many ways. We like his approach to the business, his relationship with entrepreneurs, his intelligence and his instincts. 

And on top of all this great stuff, he’s also become a dear friend. It’s wonderful to work every day with people you respect and enjoy.

So, today, I am thrilled to announce that Mo is now a General Partner at Spark Capital. We are grateful for the past and excited about the future.

The rise of iPad

I’m pretty much obsessed with my iPad. It’s more fun to use than my laptop or my desktop computer. The battery life is great and integrated 3g means I can connect quickly and easily.

That’s the opposite experience i have connecting my laptop to my 4g mifi. there is nothing quick and easy about that.

Clearly, I’m not the only one that feels that way. Just last quarter Apple sold 15million iPads. That’s an astonishing number for a category that didn’t exist a few years ago. 

Earlier today, I took at look at Google Analytics for my Tumblr.

Traffic from iPad is almost half of traffic from Mac OS. Even more surprising: iPad traffic is roughly 2x iPhone traffic.

There is so much opportunity in the tablet market. I agree with Tim Cook’s outlook that tablets will be bigger than the PC market. 

If you haven’t designed your app or website for the tablet, I would get cooking. We are at the dawn of a whole new world.