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How to Deal with an Annoying VC or Bad Board Member on your Board of Directors, by Jason Lemkin on Quora

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This Quora answer is by Jason Lemkin.

Well, first, sorry it's too late.  You chose poorly — if you had choices.  If you didn't have choices, then, it's just a shotgun marriage you have to live with.

Having said that, this "shoot from the hip" and "add excessive unsolicited advice" is relatively common in certain VCs.

Here are some tips:

  • First, just listen.  You don't have to act.  Acknowledge what they are saying, and say you'll look into it.  That doesn't mean you actually do what they say.  Every founder has some dumb, never-used feature they built just because a VC told them to.  Don't be that guy.
  • Don't argue.  See prior point.  Just doesn't help with these guys.  They aren't your sparring partner.  They just need to hear themselves talk and bark orders.  Let it go.
  • Send out very detailed board packs at least 3-4 days ahead of time.  Then — try to have 60 minute board meetings.  Keep it tight, on track, and you can — since you've already sent out every metric, every update, many days in advance. 
  • Get someone you trust on the board.  Pick an outside director you know and trust — and with a complementary personality — to join the board.  He or she can be an important counterweight.
  • Don't overspend.  Most important here is not being too beholden to this guy.   If your burn rate is too high, and you are running out of money — he'll be the boss.  Dial down the spend instead until either you can raise more capital, or get to the next stage of revenue.

And hey — you're not alone.

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