On joining Foundation Capital and building something new

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my previous startups, it’s that you can’t predict where your efforts will ultimately take you, or what the path to get there will look like. The best you can do is pull a few ingredients together, and start moving forward.

The quality of those ingredients matters of course. And now, as I take the first few steps into a new venture, I’m fortunate to have what feels like some of the best starting ingredients I’ve ever worked with.

First, I’m thrilled and honored to be joining Foundation Capital as an Entrepreneur in Residence, working closely with Steve Vassallo. And second, I’m excited to explore a theme that’s been captivating me for a while now. One that I think almost everyone can relate to: the importance — and difficulty! — of maintaining clarity into the various projects in our lives.

Like most people, I do better when I’m organized and on top of things. Maintaining a level of clarity helps me stay focused, gives me more bandwidth, and makes me feel less stressed. Yet, I’m perpetually struck by how much effort it takes to maintain a clear view of things. Sometimes, it’s so much work, we just stop trying and give in to the mess! Part of this is a human problem — we’re all occasionally guilty of taking on too much — but it’s also very much a software problem. The personal productivity tools we use today are, in a large way, failing us.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With the right vision and product design, I’m convinced we can do much better, and that there exists a large business opportunity for doing so.

At its heart, figuring this out will be a design problem. Likely a large and difficult one. Solving it will require not only the right vision, but also building a team and culture steeped with a deep understanding of design. I can’t think of a better person than Steve to help me think through some of the groundwork on that front. The book project about designer founders that he’s been working on — and which I’ve gotten a sneak preview of — is an outgrowth of his experience as a designer, entrepreneur, and investor. Experience that will no doubt prove invaluable to this venture. Plus, he’s as eager as I am to see new and better solutions in the personal productivity space.

Over the next few months, as things unfold and the path becomes clearer, I’ll be back to share more with you. In the meantime, don’t let subpar personal productivity tools get you down. Help is on the way!