No Huddle Offense for Startups

One of the CEOs of the Publicis-Omnicom merger, John Wren, commented in the Financial Times on the rapid changes in marketing recently introduced by the digital companies such as Google. The merger is a reaction to those competitive market transformation. In another scenario, I met an IT programmer who related to me why he moved to Orange County, California, when the work in and around Silicon Valley had become too intense. These two scenarios underscore why I am a fan of the “no huddle” offense in American football – football teams — and startups — that move quickly, score quickly in the Bay Area are the only ones that can succeed.

The “no huddle offense” is a great metaphor for this well known tactic used in American football.  Football teams that adopt this strategy  well prepare their game plan way prior to the match.  They anticipate what the opponents will do through careful study and preparation.  Each player is well prepared and knows what to do in every expected eventuality. They also give less time to the opposing team to react.   And their chance of winning is greatly increased.

Recently, I have been dealing with a couple of startups who represent the antithesis of the “no huddle” tactic.  One states that it will attract techies with stock options.  One problem, and not a minor one, exists: the company has not been created with a valid stock option program. It will difficult to attract any potential employee with the “vaporware or vapor-company.”  The no-huddle would say have all of that prepared before approaching these candidates.  It is not justified to waste their time, and reduce the company’s credibility.  Time is money and money is time.  A lot is wasted by not having the right legal infrastructure. Another company’s CEO states that he has to work on the “details” to move forward.  Since the first green light to move forward is dated June 4th, this CEO has taken 2 months to decide what to do what any other hungry competitive player can do in one week.  These details can represent the lack of understanding the competitive environment or the lack of focus or capital.  In any event, the execution is taking far too much time.

Silicon Valley is a very competitive environment with a large population of smart people, who can get there faster than those who procrastinate or do not prepare beforehand and execute quickly.  That is what the ad agencies, Publicis and Omnicom are facing. These ad agencies know that unless they act fast, they will close their doors like Woolworth or Kodak. Business is a game of musical chairs: once all the chairs are gone, there remains one player…and that successful player undeniably executes the “no huddle offense.”Image


About Juan Ramón Zarco, SVVGP 胡安•雷蒙•扎尔科

Juan Ramon Zarco, 胡安•雷蒙•扎尔科, Silicon Valley Ventures Growth Partners llp, Hygieia Healthcare Technologies Company, AllRest Technologies LLC, Crimson Growth Partners LLP,, is an experienced as CxO, General Counsel and Secretary to public and private companies with global operations. Established track record of producing practical, revenue-focused solutions. As Counselor and Secretary, demonstrating vision, integrity, and sound business judgment, to CxOs. Managed complex, strategic transactions, M&A, contracts support, PE Financing, IPO, SEC compliance, Corporate/HR governance, IP licensing, Budgeting, Staff, outside counsel management, International market access strategies, Domestic & foreign government relations and advocacy. Creative in designing and implementing market access strategies. Practices law beyond conventional model with low-overhead and project-based fees. Effective at managing departments, formulating marketing strategies, balancing budgets, and implementing cost-saving measures. Extensive in-house and private practice experience, advising clients on commercial, corporate, international business, and technology law and policy.; For Sprint, he managed iDen international development in Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Africa, and contractual issues with Verizon. In Private Equity, he worked with Pegasus in vetting international investment deals and interim President for portfolio companies, such as Data Foundation, a data storage company, handling marketing, strategy, fund raising, and accounting. Before Pegasus, Mr. Zarco, as CLO and V.P. of Corporate Development, played a principal role in the structuring, international expansions for 2 telecom companies, U.S. Cable Group and Viatel, Inc. in financing and M&A deals exceeding $200 million. Mr. Zarco earned a J.D. from NYU Law School, M.B.A. from Cornell, and B.A. from Williams College; is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German, with working knowledge of Russian, Arabic and Japanese.
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