Welcome to Episode 120! Aaref Hilaly is a Partner at Sequoia Capital, one of the world’s most successful VC funds with investments in the likes of Apple, Google, Paypal, Whatsapp, and LinkedIn, just to name a few. As for Aaref, he came to the valley with 2 suitcases and the ambition to start a company. That he did, and had 2 companies that were Sequoia-backed, first CenterRun and then ClearWell Systems, where Aaref was instrumental in the company’s growth from 0 to a $100m revenue run rate in just 4 years, prior to their $410m acquisition by Symantec. Today Aaref draws on this incredible operational success to illustrate how to manage up and have a very happy board.

In today’s episode you will learn:

* Why does Aaref advocate for founders not to manage the board but to engage them? How can this be done effectively?

* What does Aaref state are the dangers of focussing on metrics with your board? Why should you focus on product instead? How does this shift change the dialogue with the board?

* When things do go wrong and the company misses a quarter, how should the founder react? Why does Aaref suggest that founders need to own the miss? How should they structure these conversations? What should they not do when they miss a quarter?

* How can founders most effectively put their board to work? How should this be communicated and then followed up on by the founder? Where has Aaref found the board can provide the most value?

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Jason Lemkin
Harry Stebbings
Aaref Hilaly

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