Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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Andrew Feldman is the co-founder and CEO of Cerebras Systems which is a computer systems company dedicated to accelerating deep learning. The company has raised so far $200 million from top tier investors like Benchmark, Foundation Capital, and Altimer Capital. Prior to this, Andrew Feldman cofounded SeaMicro (acquired by AMD for $355M) and Riverstone Networks (acquired by YAGO for $280M).

In this episode you will learn:

  • Why you need a little salt in your kool-aid as an entrepreneur
  • The art of taking feedback
  • Listening to your team and board
  • The rareness and value of rigorous commonsense in decision making
  • The most important factor in pitching investors
  • The importance of moving fast and hiring great people sooner
  • Being sure you are looking at the forest, and aren’t just lost in the trees


For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).

Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

About Andrew Feldman:

Andrew Feldman is the founder and CEO of Cerebras Systems, a venture-backed stealth-mode startup located in Los Altos, California. Previously, Andrew Feldman was the founder and CEO of SeaMicro (acquired by AMD for $355 million).

A pioneer in energy-efficient computation, SeaMicro invented the microserver category and forever changed the trajectory of the server industry by creating a new class of the high-density, energy-efficient servers.

Prior to SeaMicro, Andrew Feldman was vice president of marketing and product management at Force10 Networks (acquired by Dell for $800 Million) and vice president of corporate marketing and corporate development for Riverstone Networks.

Andrew Feldman is passionate about building teams that solve hard problems by recognizing emerging opportunities, listening closely to customer requirements, building industry-transforming products, and bringing those products to market in a compelling fashion.

Andrew Feldman is a sought-after advisor to startups and currently serves on the board of directors at Aleveo Energy and on the advisory boards of more than a dozen startups.

Andrew Feldman is a frequent keynote speaker and guest lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Andrew Feldman holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Stanford University.


Connect with Andrew Feldman:

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Alejandro: Alrighty. Hello everyone, and welcome to the DealMakers show. So today, we have a founder that is super-accomplished. He sold a couple of companies; been there, done it. So without further ado, I’d like to welcome our guest today, Andrew, from Cerebras Systems. Andrew Feldman, welcome to the show. How are you doing today?

Andrew Feldman: I’m well. Thank you so much for having me.

Alejandro: It’s a pleasure. So, Andrew, let’s do a little bit of walk through memory lane because you’ve been quite around Stanford. So, born and raised there on the Stanford campus.

Andrew Feldman: I was born and raised on the Stanford campus. My parents were faculty. I grew up there, went to Stanford as an undergrad, and later went back for business school.

Alejandro: The campus there, it’s like everyone brainstorming ideas, and it’s all about thinking about the future. This is completely different to what you see in other campuses and other universities. So what is that experience really like?

Andrew Feldman: First, it was a little different when I was there in ’87 and ’91. There was still a tremendous entrepreneurial focus, but when I go back now, it’s astounding. I think there’s an excitement, a passion, and there’s a belief that young entrepreneurs can do amazing things. That permeates all aspects of the campus, and it’s exciting to be a part of. It was exciting when I was there, and it was only at 6, and now it’s at 11. But when we go back, and when we do recruiting, and when I give talks there, I’m always dazzled by the talent of the people, and the passion and the drive to do interesting things.

Alejandro: It’s really remarkable, the people that are coming from Stanford. So after you did your undergrad at Stanford, you went at it with your Ph.D., and I believe it didn’t turn out as expected initially. What happened?

Andrew Feldman: I did not. I think one of the interesting things about one’s career is when you look at it in retrospect, it always looks organized and like there was a plan. And when you’re in it, it doesn’t look that organized or like there’s always a plan. I think one of the challenges for communicating to young people how to build a career is not to tell them that you always knew what you wanted. I thought I was going to be a professor. My parents are professors. I thought that was the track I would be on. I began working on my Ph.D. I took my qualifying exams. I decided that really wasn’t going to make me happy, that the life of writing academic papers and being in a university setting was not for me, and that was a big change. It was for my parents. It was the way I grew up. But I came to that conclusion that just because my dad was a shoemaker, didn’t mean that being a shoemaker was going to make me happy. I gave that up and headed off to business school instead. 

Alejandro: Why business school? What triggered that?

Andrew Feldman: I always had, even when I was little, I had tiny companies. I had a Surf and Skate tee-shirt company in high school. I’d always had an entrepreneurial bent, and even when I was working on my Ph.D., I was working on a Ph.D. in organizational behavior. I’ve always loved the challenges of organizations. It seemed like the right path for me.

Alejandro: So let’s talk about that moment where you met what became your co-founders for your first really big breakthrough in business. You did a business plan there, which amounted to something substantial. So tell us, how did this happen?

Andrew Feldman: We did, and one of the great things about being in the Bay Area is the number of ideas and of people who are passionate about ideas. One day my housemates came to me, and they weren’t in business school. They were working at Intel at the time, and they said, “We’re thinking of starting a company.” I said, “Maybe you should get a Stanford MBA to write you up a business plan.” They went away and came back and said, “That’s a good idea.” They asked me if I knew anybody, and I recommended a couple of my friends. Those guys ended up writing a business plan for a competitor, not for my housemates. My housemates asked me if I wanted to do it. I was not very interested in networking. I thought it was plumbing. It was not an area I had ever given any thought to. But over time, they convinced me, and I began to focus time and effort in my classwork on what it would take to build a Gigabit Ethernet working company. We ended up starting the company. I joined. I was the first non-engineer. A year and a half later, we sold it for 280 million dollars.

Alejandro: Wow.

Andrew Feldman: It was an extraordinary adventure. It was early in the rise of hardware in Silicon Valley. It was among the first of the switches and routers that drove the cost of communication to roughly zero. 

Alejandro: How did you guys capitalize the business?

Andrew Feldman: We raised venture money. We went out and raised both strategic money and venture capital money, and it was the first time that I’d been out as an entrepreneur looking for money from professional investors.

Alejandro: And in the 90s, venture capital was not as big of a thing as it is today.

Andrew Feldman: No. We ended up raising the money from Sequoia, among others, but it was definitely a very different thing than today. Today, there are lots of firms. There are lots of firms that specialize very early. There were far fewer firms there. It was different.

Alejandro: Got it. What triggered the event of you guys saying, “Hey, you know what? Let’s actually go ahead and close this deal and sell the business.” Why?

Andrew Feldman: I think selling the business is a very hard decision to make. It is hard on a number of fronts. It haunts you as a CEO. It is the end of a dream. It is a creation, and if it is a success of wealth, it is difficult to get your head around sometimes. It creates wealth for your team. When you sell a company, you know it’s no longer yours, and the acquiring company will make decisions that are not necessarily good for you or the ideas that you worked so hard to create. So 280 million dollars was a lot of money in 1998. It was the beaten path for networking companies.

Alejandro: How old were you, Andrew, at this point?

Andrew Feldman: I was 27.

Alejandro: Wow. What a nice outcome for being 27 and being your first real business. Then you actually went with the acquirer. Was that tough to really see that you had to now report to someone else, that your baby was being driven by someone else, as well? How was that experience for you?

Andrew Feldman: It was really challenging. I wasn’t the CEO of the company, and I was just the Head of Product and Marketing, but to get a boss that is different and comes from a different heritage, it was a real eye-opener for me. To have all your meaningful experience be at a startup with 30 or 50 guys who are interested in building an extraordinary product in an environment where there are no politics. Then to join a company that has thousands of people where there are political behaviors, it was very different at every level. I decided quickly that in the long run, it probably wasn’t for me.

Alejandro: Got it. And I believe that there was a spin-off for a company that’s been out of this, so tell us about this.

Andrew Feldman: We spun a company out of it called Riverstone. I ran marketing and business development there. We took that company public in late 2000. That was an exciting effort to go public.

Alejandro: And this was also your first time taking a company public. Anything or any insights from this experience of taking a company public?

Andrew Feldman: Being part of the leadership team when you take a company public is exciting. I think being public is profoundly different from being a big startup. I think the amount of overhead of regulatory overhead put on a company is extraordinary. The amount of controls required are very different, and it was a huge amount of learning.

Alejandro: What was Riverstone doing? What was the business model?

Andrew Feldman: We were building big, fast switches and routers, particularly for the metro environment. It was a continuation of my work in the data networking industry. We were building bigger and faster switches and routers.

Alejandro: In 2003, why did you decide to switch yours and turn the page?

Andrew Feldman: I was ready to be back at a smaller company at a startup. It was a company that continued on the trajectory that I had been thinking about in building bigger and faster switches and routers. It was a company called Force10. I joined them. Threw out all the products and marketing and business development, and we went from zero in sales to several hundred million run rate over the next several years. So you go from having no salesmen to having more than 100, tremendous growth, exciting time, was really a huge amount of learning. We built the original Google infrastructure. We built some of the largest clusters and super-compute infrastructures in the world at that time. It was really an exciting time. But over the three or four years I was there, I also saw the maturation of networking, and that it had become or was becoming less exciting, less new, a less entrepreneurial space. It was maturing. The market had consolidated. Cisco had come to consolidate and be a force. When I joined YAGO in 1996, there were probably 20 or 30 networking companies. Companies like Nortel Networks, and Bay Networks, and, and 3com. They were Cabletron. They were large numbers of networking companies. By the time Force10 was in full swing in 2005, 2006, it was mostly Cisco and a little bit of Juniper. It occurred to me that the very mature industries are probably not where I wanted to do entrepreneurship. So I began thinking about what was important to these large customers, but that was no longer in the networking space.

Alejandro: Got it. Obviously, this company was acquired for 700 million, which is a pretty impressive amount. But I know that this led to what would become one of your biggest, if not your biggest exit to date. So tell us about SeaMicro and how it happened.

Andrew Feldman: Sure. One of the advantages of being in the infrastructure business and having large customers is, you get a chance to see what is painful for your customers and in what areas are they struggling? As I came to realize that the largest players were not struggling with networking, I realized they were struggling with the power consumed by their data center infrastructure. And I became fascinated with thinking about how one could invent technology that used less energy per unit compute. So I started thinking about that problem, and I was talking to other entrepreneurs and other inventors and was connected with a guy named Gary Lauterbacl, and a former employee of mine named Anil Rao. We got together with an idea of Gary’s that he thought he could build a machine, a computer that used vastly less power per unit compute. I thought that was an idea worth pursuing. So we funded the company. Again, we went out for venture money and began building SeaMicro. We called it SeaMicro because our idea was rather than large processors, which are power-hungry, we could use a collection of much smaller, more power-efficient processors, a sea of smaller processors. So we called the company SeaMicro. We got up and running. In fact, many of the people who are with me today at Cerebras Systems were also at the team at SeaMicro.

Alejandro: I think that’s probably like one of the key points of the culture that you guys were able to build. And typically, culture is really built on difficult times. Some of the most incredible founders that I’ve interviewed, obviously, it’s all about the team that they have behind them, but certainly, really difficult moments created that bond between the team members. And ultimately, that resulted in a culture that was magical. Is there any moment perhaps for you guys, that you don’t mind sharing, that created that bond between you guys?

Andrew Feldman: I think you’re right. It’s easy to build good culture and to be a person of high integrity when times are good. Everybody can only see your metal, your adherence to your principles, your integrity when times are really difficult. That can come in any number of different ways, and at SeaMicro, we were raising money, our Series B in the summer of 2008. That was one of the worst times in history to be raising money. The financial markets had collapsed. Bear Stearns had blown up. Lehman Brothers had collapsed, and the limited partners in the venture firms, the place where the venture capitalists get their money were telling the venture capitalists, “Don’t make new investments because we don’t want to put in money given the uncertainty.” That’s an uncomfortable place to be when you need money. We had achieved every milestone. We were under budget, and ahead on our engineering schedule, and we couldn’t raise money. We did 40, 50, then 60 different meetings with venture capitalists, and we told the team, “We’re really struggling to raise money. We don’t know if we’re going to be able to fund this company to keep going, even though you guys have done everything that we asked of you, even though you’ve put in herculean effort, even though you’ve worked late nights and weekends, and missed soccer games from your kids, or dance recitals, or piano recitals. We’re not sure we’re going to be able to keep funding the company.” I think strategy of transparency of telling the team where we were, how much money we had in the bank, even when it was very small, led them to trust us. It’s something I believe very strongly in. When we did finally raise money, we raised it with an investor named Pierre Lamond, during his time at Khosla, but we’d been involved, ironically, in investing in YAGO in the late ’90s. He saw this as an opportunity while other people were afraid to deploy money. He saw it as an opportunity. They put in money, and we kept executing, and later sold the company for 347 million dollars.

Alejandro: That’s amazing. What do you think was the turning point there on the financing? You guys did like 60 or 70 pitches. Was it perhaps not leading to the right source that had the capital to deploy, or was it maybe something on the narrative that was authored, or what was missing?

Andrew Feldman: What was missing was an investor that understood there was tremendous opportunity while other people were afraid. I think the business of investing is very curious in that the most money is made when you’re a contrarian. When you make a bet, that’s different than other people. When you make a bet that’s the same as other peoples’ if you win, its medium because there are lots of other bets being made in the space. The big money is made when you make a bet that goes against the grain where there aren’t lots of other competing companies and lots of other bets using the same technological approach. I found that the best investors are always seeking to be contrarians rather than to follow the pack.

Alejandro: Do you think that that contrarian mentality can also be applied to the execution as an entrepreneur?

Andrew Feldman: Yeah. Our challenge is different. Our challenge is to believe so passionately about ourselves and our abilities, and the abilities of our team, and the power of the idea. While, at the same time, listening and digesting thoughtful feedback. When I found entrepreneurs make mistakes, it’s because we drink our own Kool-Aid so thoroughly that we miss the chance to get thoughtful feedback. The challenge, of course, is that the thoughtful feedback is often—the status quo is often born of the lack of innovation. But sometimes, there’s still insight and wisdom there, and the really hard thing about being passionate and driven is still being open to hearing advice. You don’t have to take it, but you have to think about it. You have to turn it over in your head. You have to contemplate deeply the point being made.

Alejandro: Yeah, and this is a very important point, Andrew. Just to do a deep dive from that because typically, the first-time founders really get offended in many instances when they receive feedback. Now, ultimately, when you really learn the most is when people are telling you things are not looking perfect. Where people are telling you, “Congrats, this is amazing,” there’s nothing you can do to improve. But when you have something that someone tells you about how to improve or how to do things better, I find that with experience, founders really appreciate that type of feedback and honestly. So for you, as an entrepreneur, and obviously, you’ve been at it for quite a while, how do you take feedback, and how do you process it in order to implement what you have in front of you?

Must Read: Michael Katz On Taking His First Company Public In His 20s, Selling It For $300M, And Now Raising $120M For His Next Startup

Andrew Feldman: First, I think you have to build the culture where people can disagree. We have a thing that good ideas can come from anywhere. They can come from an intern, and they can come from a CTO. The merit of the idea is not modulated by the seniority of the person. It’s not modulated by the status or their salary. The idea stands alone and needs to be explored on its own merits. That’s true in engineering, and you want to create a culture where people can disagree, where they feel free to say, “Andrew, I think that’s the wrong approach.” Or to ask you, “Why are we doing it this way?” Because there’s no monopoly on good ideas. I think at every level, I look, too, for me personally to surround myself with people who I trust not to be a yes-man. I think somebody who just says yes and runs with your ideas, that’s not what you’re looking for. I look for my board members when I build a board to push my thinking, to be critical, to be critical with empathy, to understand how hard it is to be an entrepreneur, to build, to be utterly consumed by a problem. But not to pat you on the back constantly, to point out things that need to be done better, to disagree with decisions you’ve made. While at the same time, understanding that the CEO needs to make the decision. It’s a hard balance, and it takes trust and time. But as an entrepreneur, especially as a young entrepreneur, if nobody’s giving you advice you’ve never heard of or never thought of, you’re not learning. We have to make it a priority every day to get better at our job because there’s a tremendous amount of pattern matching and recognition, and progress you make over the years of doing this. And you make it by seeing more, by making mistakes, by thinking about your mistakes, and by getting and thinking about feedback that you wouldn’t otherwise have bumped into.

Alejandro: Yeah. Makes total sense. Now, as you were saying, the company got acquired for 357 million. Then this led you to get to band together. So what was the next rodeo? Tell us about Cerebras.

Andrew Feldman: First, it led me to work for a little while at AMD. Then I took a little time off and spent some time with my wife and with my family. But after about a year, I began to miss building things. I missed being consumed by building an organization and by building product. So I called Gary, and I called some of the most extraordinary engineers that I worked with in my career, and I said, “Shall we start thinking about a new project?” We began meeting. A venture capitalist loaned us their office in the evenings, and we began meeting two times a week, and then three times a week, and sifting through ideas. We arrived at an idea around building a computer optimized for artificial intelligence. It arrived one day when Gary, like many of the great architects, asked a question. He just leaned back and said, “Why would a graphics processing unit, which has been tuned over 20 years to push pixels to a monitor, why would it be good at [0:28:08]? Wouldn’t that be serendipitous if this part, this machine had been tuned for decades for one type of work if it was also very good at another type of work? Like many of the insightful questions, this opened up work for us. We could examine the workload in artificial intelligence. We could ask ourselves, “What does the artificial intelligence workload ask of the underlying hardware machine? Then we could ask ourselves what the graphics processing unit is good at, and what it’s not good at, and whether we came to believe we could build a better machine. We did, and over the next four months we came to believe this was an extraordinarily interesting area, and we raised a big Series A. We began calling our friends, the people we’d worked with, and began asking them about the best people they’d worked with, and now have a little north of 200 people. We’re still recruiting the same way, and we’re looking for extraordinary people. That’s where we are.

Alejandro: How much capital have you guys raised, Andrew?

Andrew Feldman: More than 200 million.

Alejandro: And I see that you’ve picked great investors like Benchmark or Foundation Capital. Here, you had the opportunity, Andrew—people were probably throwing money at you after doing all these companies and finding all these incredible exits. So why do you choose the investors that you choose to work with?

Andrew Feldman: I chose Benchmark and Foundation Capital and Eclipse. I chose Eclipse because the same investor that had invested in us at SeaMicro in a very difficult round was now one of the founding partners at Eclipse. His name’s Pierre Lamond, and he’s an extraordinary investor. I think one of the best in the industry for hardware. Benchmark is an exceptional firm. They are classy and thoughtful. I thought there was an opportunity for me to continue to learn, and for us to build on their relationships that are at the absolute top of the tech landscape. It has its foundation, similarly a first-rate firm with deep understanding in both deep tech and the challenges involved in extraordinary projects. I feel it’s important that you match your investors’ risk tolerances with the risk tolerance of your project. And we were going to do a big hardware project. If the investors are primarily thinking about little SaaS companies or apps, they are thinking about a different risk profile and a different time horizon. So it was very important to me that in my discussions with many of the investors, and we did have many, many choices, that we put together a consortium of investors that understood the challenges we were undertaking who could bring value to me above and beyond the money. That they had relationships at the top of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturer. We were introduced to them by Pierre. We were introduced to the top that had many potential customers by the guys at Benchmark. We were introduced to very interesting resources, vendors by the guys at Foundation who helped us a great deal. I’m looking to build a collection and a board that helps us move the company forward, not that is just involved in governance.

Alejandro: Got it. Makes total sense. Obviously, the distribution, the access, the networks, all really important stuff, as well, when you’re—

Andrew Feldman: Hugely important.

Alejandro: Yeah. Andrew, one of the questions that I typically ask the guests that come on the show is—you’ve done so many companies, incredible exits, obviously with the ups and downs, and all of that good stuff, which is the entrepreneurial journey. If you had the opportunity to go back in time, and maybe you were seeing yourself with all these classmates from the MBA where you were putting up the business plan before launching that business. If you had the opportunity to speak with that younger Andrew, what would be that one piece of business advice that you would give to that younger self and why before launching a business?

Andrew Feldman: I think I get the opportunity several times a year to go back to the Stanford Business School and give a lecture. I tell people that rigorous commonsense is really rare and that you’ll be asked as an entrepreneur to evaluate situations that you’ve never thought of. That’s one of the really exciting things about being an entrepreneur is that the problems you face are not repetitive; they’re different. Even now, with 20 or 30 years of experience, I’m still surprised, and I’m challenged by problems. The thing you carry with you to attack these problems is your decision-making methodology and rigorous commonsense. There will be people who will tell quickly or use a lot of industry jargon, and you don’t need any of that. You can think about, and you have to explain clearly to yourself, and to your investors, and to your employees why and how you came to a decision. The decision ought to fit both with your morals, your sense of what’s right, your sense of integrity. But also, your view on how you’re going to build your business. You need to explain to yourself and to your team how you’re going to make customers happy, how you’re going to satisfy a need. And the more complicated the description, I think, the more challenging it is. You have to explain exactly the problem you’re solving, how you’re going to get your product into the hands of the customers, and how they’re going to use it to solve these problems. It sounds simple, but keeping it simple and keeping it clear and avoiding complexity is enormously challenging. When you talk to venture capitalists, and I spent some time with some VCs as an Entrepreneur in Residence, the most confusing presentations is where entrepreneurs don’t explain in simple terms who their customer is, why the customer is going to buy this product. Why they’re in pain, and why this approach is going to succeed in making customers happy. So those are the things I try and share. I think where I’ve made big mistakes—I try and think about a great piece of advice that I was given after SeaMicro was from one of my venture capitalists, Pierre Lamond. We went out to lunch, and he told me that I should make a list of the biggest mistakes I made, and think about what in my next company I’m going to do not to make them again. It was a great piece of advice. I did it while they were still fresh. While I could both bask in some of the glory of having succeeded and having created wealth for my team, but also with clear eyes to write down the mistakes I made and the things I would do very differently the next time.

Alejandro: Which one was at the top of the list, Andrew?

Andrew Feldman: I moved too slowly to place mediocre people. There was a class of engineers who were team players, who were good people, who tried hard but weren’t good enough at the task assigned. And I waited too long in the project to move them.

Alejandro: What were the consequences? What was the impact?

Andrew Feldman: The consequence is, they’re drowning, and your project gets delayed, and the other engineers can see it clearly. You, as a leader, lose credibility when you don’t take action when others clearly see what the problem is. One of my board members, Mark Leslie, once gave a great piece of advice. He said, “Andrew, your engineers know what’s wrong in your organization. Your job is to pull them and find out what it is. If you wait too long, and they know what’s going wrong, and you don’t fix it, you lose credibility.”

Alejandro: Yeah.

Andrew Feldman: And that was true. That was one of the mistakes I made. I think when you look back at your first time as a CEO, there are many mistakes I made. I think I could have managed my board better. I was too slow to hire some really important senior-level people. The list of mistakes I made is large. But I was once given some advice where someone said, “Andrew, it’s going to take you about ten years to get ten years of experience.” He gave me that advice when I was 27 or 28, and I thought it was stupid advice. I thought it was an old person who was giving me old advice. The truth is, ten years later, I knew a great deal more. That’s just the truth.

Alejandro: Yeah, I hear you.

Andrew Feldman: What our job is, for the younger entrepreneurs is to suck the marrow out of your experiences, to turn them over in your mind, to continue to be a student of entrepreneurship, to learn constantly from the decisions you make. They don’t always come out right or wrong. Many of the decisions we make bring right and wrong with them. They’re tradeoffs, like engineering tradeoffs. You are choosing one set of pros and living with one set of cons, and turning that over in your head again and again about did you do everything you can to ring out all the pros from that decision and mitigate all your cons. Could you have organized your thinking, your team, your engineering resources to more aggressively attack what you’re good at? That’s the stuff that you think about every day. Then when you get some distance from it, you have a chance to think about: did I get the forest right? I was in the trees every day. Was I thinking about forestry as opposed to trees? So those are some of what I’ve come to learn and think about. 

Alejandro: Well, that’s very profound and very powerful, Andrew. So for the people that are listening, what is the best way for them to reach out and say hi?

Andrew Feldman: I’m on LinkedIn, and my personal email address is my first name, my middle initial, and my last name at Gmail: [email protected] – You’re welcome to reach out to me via LinkedIn or via my personal email. I think the final thing I would say is that being CEO of a startup or being a founder is a pressure test on your soul. Every day, there’s a stream of people coming into your office telling you what’s broken. Nobody comes in and says, “Andrew, this was a great day. We solved this problem and solved this problem. This new guy you hired is awesome.” Nobody says that. But what they come in with is this litany of problems, and many of the problems you already know are problems. To each of those, you need to listen carefully. Try not to be grumpy. Think about when you’re going to fix those problems, and then right after this litany of problems, you’ve got to talk to a customer and be excited about your project.

Alejandro: There you go.

Andrew Feldman: You have to talk to them and be passionate about the problems it solves, all the while knowing that you’ve got all these challenges in engineering that have yet to be solved. That’s what I think surprises people most about being a founder, about being a CEO to startup is that.

Alejandro: Absolutely. Well, Andrew, thank you so, so much for being on the DealMakers show. It has been an honor having you.

Andrew Feldman: Thank you so much, and to all your audience, I wish you guys good luck. It’s a great adventure, and I wish you happy sailings.


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