Chris McCann's Personal Blog

Life's too short to not do awesome things

Learning From Others – My Conversations With a Serial-CEO, Entrepreneur, Inventor, and Venture Advisor to Kleiner Perkins

with 6 comments

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“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton

I’m not perfect, and sometimes I think I know more than others. This is a highly fallible position to be in, even with all the experiences I have been through it is still limited and I can always learn something for everyone. Depending on what school of philosophy you look to “true knowledge” is never attainable (or at least a very difficult thing to obtain) and given this viewpoint it is an individuals goal to be open to all experiences with no prejudices and biases.

Given this, one of the toughest personal traits to develop is humility and the ability to put one’s ego aside and learn from other individuals. It’s a very easy thing to say out loud that you are humble but its a very hard thing to internally convince yourself you are truly equal to everyone and to take the time to actually learn from all people.

Without getting to philosophical I had a very humbling experience this week after having lunch with Russell Bik who has by far one of the most impressive and experienced backgrounds of anyone I’ve met before. Russell Bik, is a Cal Poly grad, serial entrepreneurial (was on the early teams of Intel and Sun Microsystems), CEO of multiple Kleiner Perkin’s portfolio companies, and a venture adviser to the Kleiner Perkin’s fund.

During lunch I forced myself to put all preconceived biases aside and attempted to suck in every bit of knowledge he shared with me. We talked about a whole range of topics such as the startup vs. corporate lifestyle, best practices of teams, advisors, negotiation, and courage.

Here are a few of the lessons I took away that I want to share with everyone:

Startup vs. Corporate Life and Career Decisions (Which I’ve wrote about before here)

  • You don’t want your only work experience to be a string of failed startups
  • It’s good to have corporate experience with a growing company
  • Of course there are always exceptions to the rule (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc)
  • The reality is most startups fail
  • You don’t want to have just corporate experience though, you need a blending of entrepreneurship and corporate
  • The downside to corporate experience is you feel like you need to play in the proper channels/bureaucracy vs. in a startup culture you get things done no matter what

Working in Teams

  • Companies are all about the right mix of team members
  • Each discipline of the team (engineering, production, business) is all equal in taking the company to realization and need to be compensated as such.

Value of MBA’s

  • There are 2 main benefits to a MBA
  • You experience what is possible and you become not afraid to attain that reality
  • Develop relationships with other Alums from that school

Grades and School

  • Grades tend to fall once you experience the real world and understand the skills needed to compete in this environment


  • Listen to people who have been there and done it before, only the ones who have actually experienced that particular situation



6 Responses

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  1. Mr. Bik is also inconsistent with his own offers, exploits employees and applies nepotist spiteful and unreasonable policies among his teams. He thinks people is on sale.

    Phillip Giraud

    January 20, 2012 at 12:29 am

  2. I am serious. Mr. Russell Bik has serious issues. Hurting people makes him feel powerful. He should look for professional help or continue to spend a lonely and selfish life. He thinks he is more than anyone who disagrees with him.


    January 28, 2012 at 2:32 am

  3. I worked with Russell Bik. This person was disrespectful. He did not pay me for my work. He was happy while he was able to execute oppression to me. He seems to be making sure I never get paid. His word is not worthy.

    Daniel Holguin

    April 21, 2012 at 12:18 am

    • I was actually a big miss-understanding. My bad. The prior comments should be deleted.

      Dan Holguin

      April 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

  4. Except for the part where Russell Bik manipulated 3 kids to force me buy them food based on a policy that was never written in paper because it was abusive and that the company government never knew. I was a volunteer in his company and, yes, Russell Bik forced me to put money from my credit card to feed his brain washed kids. I think he does not know about sustainable management. He only knows about forms of oppression and coercion. He is very proud of his business skills. Please God help this guy and those who follow him. Sustainability is creating long lasting relationships. Thievery is taking what you can while you can sustain your abuses from those that are unsuspecting then bleed the relationship while you can. That is what I experienced.


    May 9, 2012 at 5:20 am

  5. If you want to understand why you get humbled (put down)
    by the guy check

    Bik's target

    July 20, 2013 at 11:44 am

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