Gender Bias in Venture Capital: Bad Business

Venture capitalists are being called out for gender bias. A recent Fortune article reported that female founders received only 2% of venture capital dollars in 2016. Some high profile VCs, and VC-backed startups, are facing a litany of sexual harassment charges. An interesting study of VC decision making even found (unintentionally) how male and female founders were treated differently in subtle ways.…

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Some Ideas Are Better Than Others (and I don’t mind saying so)

Some ideas are better than others. This is a challenge for business strategists, who are voracious consumers of ideas (books, seminars, case studies, articles, blogs, biographies, etc.), but who aren’t typically trained to judge an idea’s quality. This leaves strategists vulnerable to bias, persuasion, poor heuristics and psychophysiological reactions (called ‘intuition’). Everyone from the doorman to the chairman has an…

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Venture Capital and Statistics: Art Meets Science

Venture capitalists usually try to avoid statistics, arguing that picking startups is more art than science. When asked why they don’t use statistical decision tools, most VCs say there either isn’t enough data to build reliable models, or picking startups is simply too intangible and complex to be reduced to math. There’s some truth to both arguments… but they’re getting…

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Overconfidence, bad models and delusion

How bad can a predictive model be before people abandon it?  Intuitively, most people assume a model or decision process has to be right at least 51% of the time.  However when it comes to innovation and growth investing, people clutch onto models that are dead wrong 70%, 80% and even 99% of the time.  At what point is this…

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