We've gone through cycles, particularly back in the late '90s, when the floodgates were open and raising venture money was not difficult. In the last 18 - 24 months, raising venture money has sometimes been a challenge, though good companies with strong management will still get funded.
4. What is a good day at work like for you?
I like to solve difficult problems and I like to be part of a team that is solving difficult problems whether they're operational or financial, so to the extent that we can look at one another and say, 'Job well done, we resolved this particular issue that was a roadblock,' that to me brings a great deal of satisfaction.
5. How would you characterize your management style?
It's certainly collaborative. I'm a believer in setting achievable but aggressive goals and then regularly measuring the progress against them. I think it's important to enable people who are on your team to have a sense that they've had their own successes.
I also believe in giving some leeway to try new ideas and approaches so that people learn what works and what doesn't. The best learning comes from mistakes and recovery.
And it's often more productive to listen than to talk. I try to convey that to anyone that works for me as well.
6. What strengths/qualities do you look for in job candidates?
I operate on the assumption that the job candidate has the requisite technical abilities, because that would have been screened.
Particularly in small companies, the chemistry is so all important because you are with people eight, 10, 12 hours a day so the chemistry has got to be there. I've been in situations where the chemistry hasn't worked, so I look for people who can share the team chemistry, who are motivated to win, who put the company's interests first and their own interests secondary. People who get that know that if the company is successful, they're going to be taken care of.
I place a great deal of emphasis on their references, but I also probe individuals to give me their view of what others might say about them. The references are going to make all the right comments, so you have to get through that.
7. What are some of your tips on job interviewing for finance positions, and overall? When you are interviewing a candidate, how do you know whether he or she is a good fit?
I separate the process into two portions, one being an initial phone call and the other being the live, face-to-face interview. The red flags I find are often times easier to see in the live interview, the body language, if they find the questions to be things they're comfortable answering and there's not a great deal of hesitation in the answer, and the ease and confidence they demonstrate in the interview. It's more difficult to get that in the phone interview -- I use the phone call mainly as a screen.