de.tech.ting

board meeting day: a brief debrief

Posted by andreaitis on December 12, 2008

it was raining.   which might not be a big deal for you, but for me it always leaves the possibility of unhappy  hair expansion.  so much so  that sarah palin could probably see my hair all the way from her house.   in alaska.

but the day is off to a good start.  i and my umbrella step onto the sidewalk, turn to look for a taxi and one pulls up right in front of me.  must be a good sign, i think.  until he goes the wrong way… twice… makes an illegal u-turn in the middle of irving place… and is on his mobile phone the entire time, completely ignoring me.  and, by the way, are ALL taxi drivers constantly on their phones these days?  is that some common code to drive passengers crazy??

but i digress…

at the office, we are printing the final three copies of the board deck when the printer decides to take a breather right in the middle.   and then it starts  printing the deck all over again from the beginning without finishing the first copy.   and then, yes, it stops again.  but i quickly step in, assess the situation and magically fix the persnickety printer:   i, um, realize it needs more paper.

so, decks printed.  projector tested.  water provided.   no muffins or snacks – we’re a startup in tough economicl times; they should applaud our food frugality.  we hope.

our ceo is doing a final check in the conference room.  we’re in the back  discussing the whereabouts of burt reynolds and his hairpiece and the merits of smokey and the bandit.   y’know, important and relevant pre-board-meeting conversation.  when suddenly our ceo strolls back with one of our investors,  tim forbes (from, yes, forbes).    and very nicely he tells us he’s  pleased with what he’s seen so far.   this, before the board meeting even begins!   we immediately forget burt reynolds (where is he, anyway?).    after the board meeting, tim’s comment is echoed by one of our other investors,  jon miller (formerly of aol and currently of velocity interactive group).  which is a long way of saying the meeting went very well.  the powerpoint performed as expected, and the conversation was good.  i’m sure we’ll have tough meetings at some point, but it feels pretty good to have two solid ones behind us.

but here’s the strange part…
after the meeting, when we were debriefing, there was some excitement… and relief… but it was tempered.  i thought we would feel light, buoyant,  but that wasn’t the case.  we were all quietly absorbing what had happened.  why, i wondered, after such a positive board meeting do we not feel exuberant?  and i think it’s this:  we’re setting expectations, big ones.  not intentionally, really.  we try to stay focused and we hold ourselves to a high standard, but it’s different when you know the board is now also holding you to that standard.  expecting it.   more pressure on us to push forward harder and faster.

which isn’t a problem since we’ll do that anyway.  but i know the board will walk into the next meeting and expect everything to be at a certain level, from our progress to our powerpoint.  so while part of my brain is excited and happy the meeting went as well as it did, the other part of my brain is thinking about whether  i should present the next update as an interpretive dance…

at least i’ll have a couple of months to stress about it.

startup’ingly yours –
andrea

ps:  burt reynolds is here.

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