I work on initiatives to improve and scale our decision analytic approach to evaluating startups and building robust portfolios.
I consider myself a lifelong student of decision making. My pursuit started in sixth grade when I stumbled upon a book on decision-making techniques. In the following years, I would try them all—but they would inevitably fall short as my decisions became more difficult. What was I missing? Eleven years and a half-dozen books later, I found my answer as a graduate student in Professor Ron Howard’s Decision Analysis course at Stanford. Ron pointed out that our most challenging decisions often involve uncertainty about the outcome. If there were no uncertainty about what would result from our choice, our decisions would be straightforward. He proceeded to teach us how to “surf the sea of uncertainty”: removing risks when it made sense, and confidently choosing a path forward after properly considering the remaining risks. I left Stanford equipped with powerful decision and risk analysis tools, and a passion for helping others take intelligent risks.
Over the past 30 years, I have helped executives and their organizations implement decision analysis and seen the results in faster, more informed decision making. I have worked with dozens of organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies in life sciences, energy, technology, consumer products, and other industries. At Ulu, I work on initiatives to improve and scale our decision analytic approach to evaluating startups and building robust portfolios. We believe we lead the industry in applying best-in-class decision-making processes and tools to venture investing. It’s my aim to maintain that leadership.
It’s common to hear other investors express a preference for relying on intuition over analysis. What I love best about decision analysis is it doesn’t replace the judgment of our venture partners; it helps them structure their intuition and apply it intelligently. Research shows that humans are prone to myriad unconscious biases when using intuition alone in decision making; I’m continually on the lookout for where biases might creep into our process and how we might keep them at bay.
My passion for decision analysis extends beyond Ulu. I regularly lead courses in executive programs in strategic decision and risk management at the University of Texas at Austin and Stanford University. I believe in sharing what we learn at Ulu and am always eager to discover what I can learn from others.