Shut-up and Listen! Rachel Chalmers Explains the Biggest Mistake You Can Make

rachel chalmers - venture capital podcast interview

Rachel Chalmers knows your Achilles heel. After two plus decades sitting in Silicon Valley’s front row watching start-up technology companies, she has a very clear idea of the single biggest cause of start-up failure.  Rachel was kind enough to sit down for a few minutes at the Montgomery Summit and talk about it. Listen in to hear what she sees as most critical for entrepreneurial success.

My Guest

Rachel Chalmers has been a long time observer and analyst in the world of technology.  She describes herself as a failed English teacher.  She received a BA degree in English from the University of Sydney and a master’s in philosophy, with a focus on Anglo-Irish literature, from Trinity College, Dublin.  But her time hanging out with engineering students pointed her towards technology writing.

She started her career writing for MIS Magazine and Computerwire during the mid-late 90’s.  In 2000 she moved to the 451 Group and focused infrastructure computing for the enterprise.  As she puts it she covered: “tools for programmers, power systems administrators and data center operators…and virtualization. Lots and lots and lots of virtualization.”

Then in mid-2013 Rachel joined Ignition Partners as a principal investing in enterprise software companies such as BlueData, Carmelo Systems, StreamSets, StrongLoop and

Since 201 Rachel has been an adviser to the Ada Initiative, a non-profit that supports women in open technology and culture.

Resources & Links

I also mentioned a presentation by Bill Gross of IdeaLab from the Montgomery Summit.  Here’s his slides for the same presentation at a different conference. The whole thing is good, but slide 20 is the key factors in failure. There’s also a 15 minute video of his presentation from a conference in Europe.

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Why a Venture Capital Podcast About Failure?

From early childhood you always hear the saying “Learn from your mistakes.” In the venture capital industry you frequently hear “Fail fast” to learn and get to the right idea. Great advice. So, for this venture capital podcast I interview venture capital backed entrepreneurs about what they learned when their start-up didn’t go as planned. I hope you can learn from their valuable experience.

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