Big thank you to Steve Hall for speaking at a pre-Snowpocalypse Rock Star Venture Capitalist on Tuesday, January 17. Steve brought a fresh perspective and practical advice in his “A VC’s Guide to Joining the Right Startup” presentation.

After a brief introduction, Steve jumped in with why joining a startup is like being a VC. In his view, both VCs and those thinking of joining a startup eed to look for the same things. Here are the highlights:

1 Execution over ideas.
Ideas do not make a great company, but execution does. Think Facebook, not Friendster.

2 Due diligence is critical.
Understand the market and the competition. If you are not willing to pay for the product or service, why would anyone else? There will always be gaps in due diligence, but minimize them.

3 “Know where the puck is going” ~ Wayne Gretzky
Some great local examples of Gist and Redfin. Be sure to join the company for what it will be tomorrow.

4 Understand valuation and stock option value
This resonated the most with me. Startups are typically not prepared to deal with sophisticated questions around valuation. If you are willing to take the risk, they should provide a picture of the value of options as compensation.

5 Diversify
Time is capital. Give an opportunity 2-3 years, if it is not there do not be afraid to cut your losses.

Thanks again, Steve, a true Rock Star!