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August 18, 2008

"Managing the Board Meeting"

Matt McCall, Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Portage Venture Partners, has a funny post on how entrepreneurs can manage their company’s board of directors.

1. Meet by phone whenever possible. Most of them will be doing their email or goosing their admin or something and not paying any attention at all. They’ll just vote when you ask’em to.

2. Never distribute anything in advance; they might read it and get themselves all confused. Just present it all: gets you through most of the meeting.

...8. Have a nine person board with three insiders, four VCs and two people who don’t have a clue. Just four VCs alone should guarantee gridlock.

9. Every meeting should run way over schedule. You control the agenda: presentations up front; substance in the third overtime period.

10. If they’ve gotta discuss something, get’em down in the weeds. Color of the office; words for the new ad campaign; what bank to deposit tax payments in. That keeps everybody out of trouble.

11. If you’re public and their questions are going where you don’t want to go, tell them you’d be glad to answer but that’ll make them insiders for the next two years. You can also tell by who squirms who was planning to sell.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.