Founder Fridays: Q&A with Brad Feld and David Cohen on Doing More Faster
Following up on our earlier post on Brad Feld and David Cohen’s book, Do More Faster, we recently sat down with Brad and David to discuss the book in more detail. Its chapter on “Legal and Structure” covers legal topics relevant to entrepreneurs and is written in plain English. If you have questions on formation, structure, choosing a lawyer and vesting among other topics, Do More Faster is an excellent starting point.
Why did you and David decide to write a book? [Brad Feld] We were together one evening talking about all the things we’d learned through running TechStars and being involved with a large number of very young companies. Somewhere during the conversation I said something like “hey - we should write a book.” Neither of us blinked at that moment so we got together at my place in Keystone the next weekend and sketched out the outline of what turned into Do More Faster. As with most books, we grossly underestimated the amount of work it would be, although in hindsight we are very glad we did it.
How did you decide on the seven themes of the book? [BF] The themes emerged from the individual chapters. We spent a few hours brainstorming “one-liners that we hear around TechStars” (like “Do More Faster”) that became the 80 or so chapter headings. As we were brainstorming these, we organized them into the themes that ultimately became the seven themes of the book.
Your book covers seven practical legal areas for a new startup. If you could have included three more, what would they have been? [BF] We would have included several sections on deal terms. Since my partner Jason Mendelson and I are writing a separate book on that, we figured we’d punt on those for the time being.
What’s the one legal concept new entrepreneurs struggle to understand? [BF] Vesting. It’s remarkable how misunderstood vesting is by entrepreneurs. But more broadly, there is always confusion around many of the terms in a financing term sheet.
Your chapter on “Choose the Right Company Structure” would be a good read for a first year law associate on day one. Did you ever harbor dreams of becoming a lawyer? [BF] Absolutely not. My dad was a doctor and I told him when I was 10 that I wasn’t going to be a doctor. I always knew I’d be a computer nerd of some sort.
TechStars New York is approaching. Were the applicants clustered in one space or were they pretty spread out? [David Cohen] Spread out.
Were most of the applicants New York based? And does that matter? [DC] About 50/50 local to not.
What impact do you think TechStars New York will have on Silicon Alley and why did your team decide that this was the right time to come to New York? [DC] We hope we can contribute to what is already a wonderfully vibrant ecosystem. We have always loved the NYC market and when we met David Tisch, who is the managing director there now, we knew he’d do a great job, and he has.
This post on Start-up Issues was authored by Nithya Das.