Alliance Voices, South Bay Alliance Members Share Business and Life Stories

Date: Friday, June 01, 2018
Location: Santa Clara

At our South Bay Regional Alliance Meeting on June 1st, four Alliance members shared thought-provoking perspectives on topics ranging from board communications to the dramatic changes seen today in the energy industry. Attendees gained valuable insight into their personal experiences and visions for upcoming industry trends.

In his engaging talk “Powering Our Lives,” Will Anderson, CEO of Complete Solar, explained how the energy sector is on the cusp of the most dramatic change ever experienced by an industry of its size. His advice for participating in this “energy revolution” is to follow a few key steps: decentralize power closer to where it is used (solar and storage are key); electrify everything (stop burning things!); and break up monopolies and distribute benefits.

Next was Victor Chapela, Co-Founder & CEO of Suggestic, who emphasized the importance of “mission-driven entrepreneurship.” He described how he built a substantial business by the time he was 23, but then proceeded to lose it all in the .com crash. He shared one of the personal guidelines he followed to successfully rebuild the organization: never compromise on your mission simply to appease your various stakeholders. He stressed the importance of watching ROI and urged the attendees to remember that it’s not about you, rather it’s about everyone in the company.

Gary Gysin, President & CEO of Liquid Robotics, offered his perspectives on maintaining transparent communication with company board members. He explained how he once found himself in a position with $85M invested in his company, only to discover that the board had differing visions for the company. His final takeaways were to: invest heavily in forming board relationships, recognize the motivations of board members, understand the capitalization table before taking the CEO role, and never count on a fixed set of executive sponsors within buyer companies.

Finally, Navin Nagiah of Sierra Ventures, described what he’s learned from studying his previous mistakes. “Human beings fight much harder to not lose something they already have, than to win something they don’t yet have,” he explained. “We make decisions of creation very differently than we do decisions of loss-aversion,” he continued. He concluded by asking his fellow Alliance members to consider how they can become more consciously disciplined in their own decision making.

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