An offer and an ask

Hey all, this is a somewhat irreverent post on my end!

I’ve been supporting early-stage startups for close to 2 decades with strategy, fundraising, co-founder, execution, leadership, problem-solving, decisions, and much more. I’m a 3x entrepreneur and helped grow Techstars from 10 companies in the portfolio to over 3K when I left. I’ve seen more failures than I care to count, and a handful of spectacular successes, and I’m left wondering how to more systematically reduce the failure rate, increase the success rate, speed up time to profitability, lower the capital required to get there, all while keeping founders (and employees) sane and sustainable.

So, in an effort to do some discovery, I’d love to trade 30 minutes of a free help session with any founder, on any topic you’re struggling with, in exchange for 30 minutes to answer some questions about your process and resources (or lack thereof) for getting your company from idea to growth.

The whole meeting would be over Zoom and would take 1 hour (30 min helping you, and 30 min you answering questions).

Ideally, you fit these requirements:

  • You have a technology product (hardware or software) with global reach and applicability. Local-type businesses, while wonderful, don’t qualify.
  • Ideally, you’re based in Colorado or are planning on moving your business headquarters here.
  • You’re somewhere between the I have an idea, should I quit my job stage and I have a rough prototype in market, but I’m doing less than $250K in revenue and I need a sh*tload of help stage.
  • This can be your first or third startup, I don’t care how many you’ve done in the past.

I’m trying to get out of my immediate peer circle to avoid some biases, hence the public post. If this fits you, or you know someone who meets this description, I’d love to talk! Reach out to me here.

PS. If the only reason you’re doing this is to pitch me to invest, please… don’t. I know it’s rough out there, I’m happy to commiserate with you and help you think through your strategy and options, but don’t show up hoping I’ll invest. It will be a waste of both of our times.

Create a challenge group

Last week I blogged about my transition to gray hair and the metaphor it held for me. When I posted it, I asked my husband Mark for feedback because he’s one of the few who will be candid with me. After reading it, he mentioned that for a post about how I looked, the photo was “cringy” and I should consider hiring someone to take a professional headshot. He mentioned I looked a little washed out and crosseyed, and that a professional photographer would do better than I did with my iPhone in portrait mode.  

Busted! I did use my iPhone in portrait mode set against the backdrop of an accent wall in my house because I didn’t have the time to get a professional headshot. I found his input valid but decided I didn’t care enough to hire someone yet, and just posted it anyway.

After publishing, the post received far more attention than I had expected. Every person was complimentary about the photo, which was good for my ego but contrary to my husband’s feedback. I relayed to a friend what he said, and she gawked.  “What?!” She protested.  “How could he say that? That’s so mean!”

Here’s the thing – I loved his input and didn’t think it was mean at all. I thought it was highly constructive and accurate. His intention was to help me improve it and he picked specific things he thought were wrong. Even though I chose to ignore his suggestion, it wasn’t because I disagreed with him. I was just being lazy and decided it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. 

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Nicole Glaros Headshot

Gone Gray

I’m going gray. Okay, I’ve gone gray, and I’m not exactly sure when it started because I’ve been covering it for so long.

The last time I dyed my hair was in January of 2020. But like many women who couldn’t get to the salon during COVID, and who hate dying their own hair, I started to let it grow out to see how gray it was, and holy crap I’m 95% gray, actually silver, or platinum as my stylist likes to call it, but that’s just lipstick on a pig.  After 2 years of this, I don’t recognize myself in the mirror or in photos anymore.  I still don’t know if I like it – I waffle on it actually.  One day I think “hell yeah, I’m doing this thing!” And other days I jump out of bed with the intention of heading straight for the hair dye.

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Navigating Your Startup Board of Directors: The Meeting – Part 4 of 4

This is the final part in a series on getting the most out of your startup board of directors. If you haven’t already, please read Part 1: The Framework, Part 2: The People, and Part 3: The Board Package.

Special shoutout to my friend Ari Newman, Managing Partner at Massive who served as an editor, contributor, and sounding board for this series.

You’ve come so far, my friend!  You’ve got yourself in the right headspace about how your board is your not-so-secret weapon, you have the right people on your board, you’ve established a highly functional, productive, and trusting relationship with them, plus you’ve created a killer board package.  Now it’s time for… dum dum dummmmm, the meeting. In all honesty, once you’ve done the above things well, the meeting is the easy part.

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Navigating Your Startup Board of Directors: The Documents – Part 3 of 4

This is part 3 of a series around navigating your startup’s board of directors. It focuses on the board package, what documents and sections to include and how to organize it. If you haven’t yet done so, please read Part 1 – The Framework and Part 2 – The People.

Special shoutout to my friend Ari Newman, Managing Partner at Massive who served as an editor, contributor, and sounding board for this series.

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Navigating Your (First) Startup Board of Directors: The People (Part 2 of 4)

This is part 2 of a 4-part series I’m writing on navigating your board of directors, and this section is focused on the people; who should be on your board and how you should interact with them. If you missed Part 1, the Framework, read it here as it will provide some groundwork for this section. 

Special shoutout to my friend Ari Newman, Managing Partner at Massive who served as an editor, contributor, and sounding board for this series.


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Navigating your startup board of directors*: The Framework (Part 1 of 4)

I recently did a talk on creating and navigating your first board of directors with friend and colleague Tim Miller, the CEO and Founder of Rally Software which was acquired by CA in 2015. We spoke to a group of Techstars founders that were thinking about creating their first board, or optimizing the board they already had. I sit on several boards, some highly functional and some dysfunctional, while Tim Miller has both had to manage his own board AND sits on others’ boards. We both pulled best practices together and I thought I would share them with you here. Before I dig in, for anyone interested in the topic, there’s a great book published by Brad Feld & Matt Blumberg called Startup Boards. This book was incredibly helpful to me as I navigated my own role as a board member, and it’s a great resource for founders too.

Special shoutout to my friend Ari Newman, Managing Partner at Massive who served as an editor, contributor, and sounding board for this series.

I’ve divided this into a series of 4 blog posts:

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This is Water

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about the impact of attention, awareness, and responsibility in our lives, specifically how it impacts entrepreneurs and the performance of early-stage startups. I’ve always believed that what you focus on expands, and some of this has been shown in both quantum physics and in sport psychology. In this context, attention is your ability to direct your focus on outcomes you WANT (rather than those you don’t).

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Grateful Dead on repeat and marriage

I am married to a Dead Head. My husband Mark didn’t discover the band until he was in college, so he missed much of the touring that makes the community vibrant, but he’s made up for it ever since. Like most Dead Heads, he has listened to the 200+ versions of Fire on the Mountain and could tell you what date and venue the best version of the song was played. He loves the Dead so much that he plays keys in a Dead cover band called Peak 2 Peak (they gig locally so check them out if you live around here!).

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Managing your chaos

Most of my days are full of meetings, in 30 minute increments, sometimes in 15 minute increments, and occasionally a rare 60 min meeting.  At one point in my career, I could have 30 meetings in a day (not lying, 15 min back to back meetings with maybe 2 breaks all day) for days, and on a few occasions, a couple of weeks at a time.  Even now, my days are stretched between staff meetings, weekly 1:1s, weekly all-hands and team meetings, board meetings, founder pitches, investor connections, community ‘asks’, portfolio company support, network maintenance… the list goes on, and that’s just the work stuff.  Tomorrow I have a slow day – 9 meetings; one of them is a 2 hour portfolio review, and that doesn’t include a friend’s launch party and an event at my kid’s school.  I remember when my calendar first started filling up this way, back in 2010 – it felt exhilarating…  I’m IMPORTANT!  Look at all the people that need me!  Now I just see it as a failure on my part to impart the right people with the right wisdom and freedom to be successful, independent of my input.

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