20VC: Why Operating Experience Becomes Irrelevant Fast and Operators Often Give Bad Advice to Founders, Is Silicon Valley Really Dead? Are Gen Z the Most Entitled Employees? What Will Happen to a Generation of Pre-PMF Companies with $50M in the Bank with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sujay Jaswa

Posted on 23rd November 2022 by Harry

Jeffrey Katzenberg is an entertainment industry executive and entrepreneur, who throughout his career has repeatedly reshaped the media landscape. Jeffrey co-founded DreamWorks SKG, serving as CEO of DreamWorks Animation, which he grew into the world’s largest animation studio, known for ShrekKung Fu PandaMadagascar and more. In 2016, DreamWorks Animation was sold to Comcast for $3.8 billion. Before founding DreamWorks, Jeffrey was Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, where he took the studio from last place to first at the box office with hits like Three Men and a Baby, Pretty WomanFather of the Bride and Sister Act. Most recently, Jeffrey co-founded WndrCo alongside Sujay Jaswa and has led WndrCo’s investments in Airtable, Frame.io, Quibi, Vise, Placer.ai, NexHealth, Deel, and ID.me.

Sujay Jaswa is one of Silicon Valley’s leading business innovators. At Dropbox, he created and led the company’s global business and finance organizations. Sujay and his teams raised over $1 billion, launched and scaled Dropbox’s products for businesses, created partnerships responsible for over 100 million users, executed some 20 acquisitions, and scaled the global business team from two to more than 500 employees in seven global offices. During this period, the company significantly scaled overall revenue from $12 million in 2010 to over $500 million run rate, Dropbox for Business revenue from $1 million to over $200mm run rate, and users from 15 million to 300 million. Most recently, Sujay Jaswa and Jeffrey Katzenberg co-founded WndrCo and Sujay has led WndrCo’s investments in Figma, 1Password, Databricks, Pango, Pilot, Rally, Zagat / The Infatuation, and other great companies.

In Today’s Episode with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sujay Jaswa:

1.) From Dreamworks and Dropbox to Venture with WndrCo:

  • How did Jeffrey and Sujay both make their way into the world of venture from Dropbox and Dreamworks?
  • What was Jeffrey’s single biggest lesson from his time leading Dreamworks and being in Hollywood?
  • What was Sujay’s biggest takeaway from being at the helm as COO at Dropbox?

2.) Operating Experience is Irrelevant and Can Be Dangerous:

  • Why does Sujay believe that operating experience is irrelevant?
  • What are the single biggest mistakes that operator investors make when it comes to advising their founders?
  • What do both Sujay and Jeffrey do to try and refresh their operating experience in real time?
  • How did Quibi impact their willingness and desire to take large risk both investing and operating?

3.) Building Teams and Hiring People:

  • What are the single biggest hiring mistakes Jeffrey and Sujay have made?
  • What did Jeffrey mean when he said at Disney, “if you do not come in on Saturday, do not bother coming in on Sunday”.
  • How do Jeffrey and Sujay feel about remote work? Why did it not work for them?
  • What did Alfred Lin @ Sequoia teach Sujay about the question all managers need to ask themselves on questing whether they should let someone go?

4.) Silicon Valley: Dead and Entitled?

  • Why does Jeffrey strongly disagree with the death of Silicon Valley?
  • What will happen to the generation of companies that raised too much with no product-market fit?
  • How will the mass layoffs in the valley change the valley as it is today?
  • Does Sujay agree that millennials are the worst segment to hire from? Are they entitled?

Want the latest 20VC insights?

Get all of the insights from of our latest epsiodes and more in our monthly newsletter. All venture, no spam.