Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, talks through how he built his board of directors, and shares lessons-learned.

Topics discussed:

  • What you’re really looking for: What to look for in an investor who’s joining your board — good board members should love your mission, listen more than they talk, and attend every meeting in-person. Glenn also discussed why it’s good to bring on a fellow operator who can relate to you as a peer (talking about Selina Tobaccowala joining the board).
  • Take the time to draft a job description: This should cover the background and skills needed in your next board member. Use it to guide your recruiting process. Consider asking founders at similar companies for advice, and use executives and board members from your company to source candidates.
  • Diversity: Incorporate diversity in the board early on.
  • Interviewing: When interviewing potential board members, don’t focus on being impressive or being impressed. You cannot truly listen in either mode.
  • Problems are your problems: At the end of the day, the CEO is the one in charge of operating the company. If the product is not selling or working, that is the CEO’s problem — not a board problem.
  • How to get the most from your meetings: Board meetings should always be held in-person and include printed documents. The act of projecting a powerpoint can diminish participation, and you can lose a lot of people. Afterward, Glenn also recommends that you share most board meeting documents internally with the whole company to maintain transparency.

This conversation took place at The Scaleup Offsite, a private CEO gathering hosted by Y Combinator Continuity and Greylock Partners in April 2017.