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sarah tavel

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Founding VMware CEO Diane Greene Joins Google Board; VC Sarah Tavel Promoted Bessener Venture Partners Vice President

By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0) Two pieces of sunny news for women in business and technology:

As co-founder and CEO of VMware, Diane Greene led the company to an IPO the largest the tech industry has seen since Google's. Recently, she was named to Google's Board of Directors, bringing the number of women on Google's board to 3 out of 10 members.

Ann Mather and Shirley M. Tilghman have both been on Google's Board of Directors since 2005.

Diane Greene was a speaker at last year's Women 2.0 PITCH event. You can still get tickets for this year's PITCH Conference.

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Hiring An Associate At Bessemer Venture Partners (Silicon Valley)

We’ve noticed that people who are successful in VC have already formed relationships with people in technology and are incredibly resourceful. By Sarah Tavel (Vice President, Bessemer Venture Partners)

We are looking to hire an Associate to join me and my colleague Jeremy Levine at Bessemer. This is a Silicon Valley-based opportunity, though we anticipate that it will involve frequent and extended travel to New York, at least initially.

As an Associate you will actively participate in all stages of identifying and evaluating investment opportunities while supporting Jeremy and me in our ongoing involvement with portfolio companies. We spend most of our time looking at opportunities in the cloud computing, internet, e-commerce and consumer web space.

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The Developer Renaissance: An Investment Road Map For 2012

By Sarah Tavel (Senior Associate, Bessemer Venture Partners) What an exciting time to be in this business. The “post PC era” and cloud computing are colliding to create a perfect storm. First, thanks to the post PC era, demand for software is exploding. Second, thanks to cloud computing, software development is becoming increasingly accessible.

There's an interesting positive externality to these trends: The developer "citizenship" is exploding. Consequently, developers are finally a large enough community with enough purchasing power that you can actually build a company just by selling to developers. I'd love to invest in companies doing just that.

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Reading This Post Won’t Help You (Hold Your Hand to the Fire)

By Sarah Tavel (Senior Associate, Bessemer Venture Partners) Several months ago, I wrote a post about the four stages of learning. Implicit in the transition out of stage 1 (the "enthusiastic beginner") is the fact that to really learn something, you need to try to do it, and inevitably, do it wrong.

Given the wealth of fantastic content out there in the blogosphere, especially when it comes to starting a company, raising capital, building a product, etc., it can be tempting to try to read blogs and hope that they'll help you navigate potential road mines.

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Can Product “Disruption” Become a New Paradigm?

By Sarah Tavel (Senior Associate, Bessemer Venture Partners) Facebook is an incredible company, and it’s incredible for many, many reasons. But one of the things that most impresses and amazes me is Facebook’s relentless reinvention. The company has disrupted its product, and therefore its users, on multiple occasions. I’m sure everyone remembers the backlash Facebook weathered when it launched its newsfeed. And of course, we’re still less than a month into Facebook’s newest disruption, this time to its profile page.

Facebook is in rare company. Microsoft, to its credit, disrupted its Office product suite by introducing the ribbon (which was probably a great change for my mom, but drives me

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Is Your Product a Vitamin, a Painkiller or a Drug?

By Sarah Tavel (Senior Associate, Bessemer Venture Partners) It’s become commonplace to describe products as either painkillers (“need to have”) or vitamins (“nice to have”).

Painkillers are products that address existing needs/pain points. Companies selling painkillers harvest customer demand; the prospects are already searching for someone to fix their problem and take their money.

Vitamins on the other hand don’t really address an immediately apparent need.

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The Importance of Entrepreneurs Being Coachable

By Sarah Tavel (Senior Associate, Bessemer Venture Partners) The other day, a very talented NYC-based entrepreneur asked me if I could grab lunch with him. He’s the CEO of a company whose user growth is the quintessential “hockey stick” ramp (so much so, that when he sent me the graph of his user growth, I actually photoshopped a picture of a hockey stick on to the graph of his user growth and sent it to him – it was an exact match!). Needless to say, I was happy to catch-up. At lunch, it turned out he wanted to discuss some ideas he had around his business model before his board meeting the next day. As we chatted, I remembered a 2x2 I had learned in my brief stint as a consultant.

The basic premise is that everyone goes through four stages of learning. First, a person starts in stage 1, the “enthusiastic beginner.” We’ve all been there…. You think you have all the answers but really, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. For example, I remember the first term sheet I ever drafted; I thought it was a piece of cake. It probably took me 30 minutes to complete a draft. Then I got redline back from the Partner with whom I was working. Clearly, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing!

To learn and progress as a person and leader, you must have this moment of humility. This "learning moment" is when a person opens themselves up to learn and progresses to stage 2. Stage 2 is the “struggling learner.” You suck, and you realize it. Nonetheless, gradually, you push through, learn, and move to stage 3, the “cautious contributor.” Some positive feedback later, and you start to realize your own competence and you become a “peak performer.”

All people start in Stage 1, but some never leave.

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Day 3: Final Presentations At Women 2.0 Startup Weekend 2011

By Christina Gunarto & Angie Chang (Co-Organizers, Women 2.0 Startup Weekend 2011) On Sunday, the teams wasted no time working on their projects. The Hatchery was filled with both excitement and anxiety building up to pitch time.

Everyone was full of energy, squeezing every last ounce of thought from their brains and coding away to put together the final product, presentation and hopefully, a working demo for the judges.

At 6pm, all 150 participants squeezed in for a group photo. One last hurrah before demo time!

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