My talk from The Next Web conference: Purpose, Mission & Strategy

Last month, I went to the (most beautiful city in the world) Amsterdam, to speak at The Next Web Conference.  I did two talks, one at a sub-event focused on tech & social issues, on the topic of Data & Power, which I will post when it comes online, and a main stage talk on the topic of Purpose, Mission & Strategy — how to connect the three to align efforts within a company.

In the talk, I take examples from throughout our portfolio of how leaders define and communicate their purpose, within their organizations and externally, and then use that to make tough strategic calls.  For example, I wrote last week about how Cloudflare is fighting hard against patent trolls, and how deciding to do that is not just a narrow corporate decision, but a tough strategic call that draws from the company’s sense of purpose and mission (frankly, I explain that example much better in the post than I did in the talk).

For another example, Brian Armstrong from Coinbase just posted their long-term strategy yesterday, and this another example I discuss in the talk. I’ve been impressed by how Coinbase’s efforts are aligned internally, and by the way Brian has connected the company’s purpose and the strategy.

You can watch the whole video (about 25 min) here:

And you can see the slides here:

This was my first time giving this talk, so of course there are things I’d tune for take two.  I would in particular like to thank the awesome folks at Praytell who hosted me for a dry run of the talk and gave me great feedback and questions.  And of course I would like to thank all of the USV leaders who, over the years, have shared their stories, which were the foundation of the talk.



  • Twain Twain

    The most beautiful city in the world is Amsterdam?!!! Nick, you need to take your family on a proper European escapade.

  • Lawrence Brass

    Very interesting talk Nick. Thanks.

    Liked the story you tell about Coinbase people responding in unison to the question by Brian about their mission (at 14:00 into the video), it fully complements the AVC topic today.

    • thanks! yes, I love the coinbase example and that moment really stuck with me