Going deeper on the advice startup leaders need to grow their teams, their companies and themselves.
Welcome to In Depth, a new show that surfaces tactical advice founders and startup leaders need to grow their teams, their companies and themselves. I’m Brett Berson, a partner at First Round, a venture capital firm that helps startups like Notion, Roblox, Uber, and Square tackle company building firsts.
Through 400+ interviews on The First Round Review, we've shared standout company building advice. The kind that comes from those willing to skip the talking points and go deeper into not just what to do, but how to do it. With our new podcast, In Depth, you can listen in to these deeper conversations every week. Learn more and subscribe today at firstround.com.
In more than 15 years of early-stage investing, our team has backed hundreds of companies, met with thousands of founders and kept a laser focus on doing everything we can to help small startups make it big.
As an extension of that work, back in 2013 we started First Round Review, where we share long-form stories on how tech entrepreneurs can build better companies. When we started The Review, we had two goals: 1) to share the advice that usually only gets passed down through one-on-one coaching sessions, and 2) to make sure readers walk away not with high-level, generic advice they’ve already heard before, but instead unique, incredibly actionable tactics they could use today.
Since then, we’ve published almost 500 profiles and attracted millions of readers. We’ve learned a lot along the way about what makes for compelling conversations and standout company building advice. Whether it’s an interview with a big name CEO or a VP you’ve never heard of, there’s been a common thread across all of the most popular Review stories — a willingness to go deeper. An eagerness to share not just what to do, but how to do it. The best advice comes not from sticking to talking points or skating over the rough patches, but instead from unpacking the moments when things weren’t going up and to the right.
With our new podcast, In Depth, we’re taking the very same signature style we’ve cultivated over the years and delivering it in a new way, giving you a chance to listen in on these deeper conversations firsthand.
We’ll cover a lot of ground and a wide range of topics, from hiring executives and becoming a better manager, to the importance of storytelling inside of your organization. But every interview will hit the level of tactical depth where the very best advice is found.
Our first episode is with Molly Graham, a seasoned exec and builder who excels at helping startups to go not from 0 to 1, but from 1 to 2. We’ve interviewed her four times on First Round Review — which might be a record — because the advice she has to share and the experiences she can draw from are unbelievably helpful to founders and startup leaders. She helped build and scale Facebook, Quip, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in their early days, and is now the COO of Lambda School. In this episode we dive deep into management. From the traps that are easy to fall into, to why you should be spending more time with your highest—not your lowest—performers, to the managers she’s learned the most from, Molly shares tons of insightful advice and practical tactics for stepping up your management game.
Our second episode is with Ayo Omojola, VP of Product at Carbon Health and the founding product manager for Cash App at Square, where he co-created the Cash Card. Tapping into his experience working in heavily-regulated spaces, we dive into how he finds startup ideas and goes "unreasonably deep" when building products. Ayo shares the frameworks he picked up from his time at Square, and details why he loves hiring former founders.
Our third episode is with Steve El-Hage, co-founder and CEO of Drop, an electronics company that creates products powered by feedback by a massive community of enthusiasts and experts. Reflecting on his 8-year, heads-down grind since becoming a first-time founder at 22, Steve shares the lessons that he figured out the hard way, from revenue dropping off a cliff and painful pivots, to hiring blunders and severe burnout.