Managing Partner, Americas
What’s the most important thing for people to know about you?
My whole world is driven by intellectual honesty, by fact-based decision making, and by integrity.
I’ve led both enterprise and consumer companies, but my passion is really around consumer companies. I love anticipating where consumer taste, trends, and behaviors are going, and find it exciting to grasp how technology will disrupt established industries and companies. Bringing those two things together helps me be on the forefront of key technological innovations.
What does success look like to you?
While I was CEO of Shutterfly, from 2005 to 2016, we grew from 103 to over 2,600 full-time employees plus 6,000 part-time team members. Our team was incredibly diverse from a gender, ethnicity, work experience, educational background, and sexual orientation standpoint. There was no external pressure on us to be diverse, we just believed it was just the right approach for our company.
That’s what I look for in CEOs: an authenticity, a willingness to get over their own egos, and a commitment to creating a company that has a heart, because I think that that's paramount in building sustainable companies and enduring brands.
What motivates you?
My childhood was difficult, however it’s become a big source of strength. It’s how I learned to persevere, work really hard to take calculated chances.
That was my spirit when I showed up at Shutterfly. We were losing tens of millions of dollars with limited capital in the bank and we were on a path towards bankruptcy. I told my team that I grew up on welfare and learned not to depend on others for money. Therefore we need to raise additional capital and become profitable in a customers’ very first transaction. We did, and being cash flow positive was a big part of our success story.
Not every investment we make at the Vision Fund will have the same potential for social impact, but I'm very conscious in finding opportunities that can do good while doing well.
What do you look for when you’re considering an investment?
I’ve tried to build teams full of high-integrity, ambitious, high-output, low-ego, team-oriented people who want to make the world a better place while doing well for themselves.
That set of values really informs my investment decisions. Not every investment we make at the Vision Fund will have the same potential for social impact, but I'm very conscious in finding opportunities that can do good while doing well. I’m also always looking to work with CEOs who demonstrate servant leadership and want to build something that will outlast them – a business that is sustainable on its own terms and has a positive impact on the world.
What’s the most surprising thing about you?
Education changed my life. My guidance counselor told me I was too dumb to go to college and that I would be throwing away the application fee. Hopefully, I taught him a lesson. I’m trying to be a lifelong student and continuously learn new things.
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