By Julie Blaustein

The FailChat Panel and Audience

FailChat’s #2 chat was held at the very cool collaborative loft space for co-working and events known as PariSoma in SoMa of San Francisco. It is the ideal place for entrepreneurs, industry leaders, developers and the anyone in the world of start ups to meet up. On bat were some well seasoned players – Jonathan Abrams, the Founder of Friendster and now the Founder & CEO of Socializr in addition to many entrepreneurial initiatives; Adeo Ressi, the Founding Member of, The Founders Instituteand a veteran of 8 companies; Jamie Siminoff, the CSO of Ditech Networks and a survivor of numerous emotional power plays amongst partners and Susan Wu, formerly of Charles River Ventures and the Founder & CEO of Ohai. Cathy Brooks, a well known figure in the entrepreneurial world, kept the conversation flowing and the questions coming from the standing-room-only audience.

A number of worthy lessons were shared about managing power and keeping or dealing with losing  control in growing companies. Siminoff warned, “Don’t do anything for the first year. Things always change and you should wait to commit to a co-founder until you really know them. ” He also learned “not to be so emotional.” Abrams agreed that you should not seek out co-founders unless you really know that person and he warned, “Do not seek them out from sites such as from FounderDating.” Adeo shared the realities of being removed as a founder, “Whether you are doing badly or you are doing well, the reality is the VC’s are seeking outcomes that are taking too long to come in so it results in ousting the founder.” Abrams experienced change as soon as funding resulted at Friendster.  He stated, “After growing the users from 0 to millions in a year, I was replaced with a more seasoned CEO to bring the company to the next level.” Shu learned, “She had to be more authoritative when working with start ups as there is no time for waffling.” There was so much more great discussion by this, at times, very entertaining panel. If you missed it don’t despair, you can catch it on VidSF LiveStreamed the entire event!

The Failchat series, based on FailCon, came about from the star event producer Cassie Phillipps as she found it frustrating to see power plays ruin companies, careers and even  friendships. She wanted to understand how this happens and to learn more.”A number of my personal friends have struggled with co-founder and VC relationships, at times even leaving or being kicked out of the company. I wanted to get advice from those who had been through it, and as a result thought of the FailChat topic.” Check out her event site WebWallflower for the upcoming FailChat series dates and the FailCon 2010 conference coming October 27th. While there, be sure to sign up for her informative email update for the upcoming start up events in the Bay Area.
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Julie Blaustein

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