I’ve got 99 problems and it means I’m not dead: Part 1

Every VC says, “we help founders”. Some do help. Some are neither helpful nor unhelpful. Some are downright unhelpful. Yet, raising capital is as much about getting the dollars in the door as it is about choosing the right partners.

At Tribe, we seek to help in a number of ways based on the area in question. If we can’t help ourselves, our network allows us to point to people that can. But broadly, we categorise our help into two buckets: humanistic and systemic.

Humanistic is focused on exactly that. Development and performance frameworks focused on assisting our founders in goal achievement, decision making, time management and mental health.

Systemic is what we would classify as tools and frameworks we share with you to install, almost like operating system apps. Tools that are people agnostic are tried and tested to give you an advantage over others. 

This blog is part 1 of what we mean by systemic help.


Systemic foundation for success

It seems boring and basic, but companies that win are actually the ones that are very good at identifying and solving problems rapidly with the least blood, sweat and tears possible. Find a company that no longer exists, and there were problems that just did not get solved at all, or there was just too much “friction” in solving them and the world moved on.

As companies grow, founders can solve less and less problems by themselves individually. Founders need to be not just great individual problem solvers but transition to building a culture and climate where the entire team is very good at working together and resolving problems faster than the manifest.

But if this process were easy, everyone would do it. What we find time and time again is that companies with excellent products, wonderful teams and growing markets still fail. Despite these key ingredients looking good on paper, things happen regularly that make these ingredients insufficient for success. There are specific issues and challenges that build up in companies that stop them from solving problems and, in some cases, not even identifying them in the first place.

Responding to change proactively and swiftly

And where do these problems even come from? Change.

From the day you started your company, the world changed. Likewise, the day after we have put money into your venture, the world will continue to change. Technology changes, team changes, new competitors, new customer feedback, and things we thought would be true ended up not being true. It just comes from every direction.

All this change creates problems you are going to need to solve. Problems handled well create opportunities for success. Problems handled poorly often turn into crises that can kill companies.

At the foundation of any successful organisation, and even sporting teams, relationships, countries – you name it, is the ability to manage and solve these problems swiftly. Find a relationship, team or company that didn’t survive, and you’ll find a relationship, team or company that wasn’t able to traverse the constant loop of change and problems.


Not what, but how

Our focus is to show our portfolio companies how to become really great at driving this loop proactively. It’s not a loop for Tribe to manage, it is a loop for you to manage, and our focus is on giving you the tools and frameworks to show you how to do it.

One of the big issues we see is the transition points where an approach that worked in the past now starts to hinder the business. The most basic level of this is when individual problem solving must change to team problem solving, which can be much harder than it seems.

You may think that getting to the point of having no problems is the goal. But when in life do you get to a point of no problems? Well, based on the above description – when there is no more change. But when do you get no more change? When you’re dead! 

You don’t want that. You want to be alive and growing. Growth means change, and therefore problems are a very good thing. The only problem is when you don’t have the right perspective on problems or tools and frameworks to neutralise the reasons problems go unsolved in companies.

Choosing Tribe to be part of your capital raise gives you access to our collective expertise supported by tools and frameworks collected across decades of being founders ourselves and founder focused investors.

About the Author

Portfolio Support & Co-founder

Don brings extensive experience as a founder and investor to lead our hands-on support for portfolio ventures.