P511 - The three horizon mindset - how visionary founders win big, with Chris Tottman, General Partner, Notion Capital
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The journey from startup to global category leader is a daunting task, for a million or less in revenues, when we might invest 100 million revenues, or more, in less than ten years. This is what VCs hope to find, and it’s what many founders plan to achieve. There are strategic challenges of balancing short term operational excellence, with long term transformation and category dominance. One of the most enduring frameworks for this is the McKinsey three horizons, which describes optimising for current performance while maximising future opportunity.
- Three horizons is a powerful way to combine short term execution with long term vision.
- Feeling comfortable in the grey area between the present and the future.
- There can be such a thing as too much vision!
- Getting the right balance of mindset & resources between the three horizons is critical.
Chris Tottman is one of the founders of Notion Capital, but also one of the founding members of MessageLabs, a tech company that went from an idea in 2000 to more than 600 people and $150m in recurring revenue in eight years before its acquisition by Symantec. Amongst many other responsibilities at MessageLabs, Chris oversaw nearly every single senior hire, shaping the leadership team and organisational structure.
Since then, over the last ten years with Notion Capital, he’s been investing in SaaS founders to help shape their vision, nurture their ambition and, critically, help them hire ever more extraordinary people. An original thinker in a traditional industry, he uses the three horizon framework to help the founders that he invests in build big, beautiful and enduring companies.
A conversation with Stephen Millard, and Paul Papadimitriou.