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Good and bad board members (and what to do about them)

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Ryan Caldbeck, co-founder and former CEO of consumer-brands-focused crowdfunding site CircleUp, recently published an email he’d written to a former director on the board of the company.

According to Caldbeck, he wrote the letter after CircleUp had bought out the investor’s firm because he wanted to provide constructive feedback, given that this individual’s “involvement was incredibly difficult for all of CircleUp and our board,” as he explained to this person, whose identity was shielded.

The saga begged questions about what happens behind the scenes at startups and about board composition specifically. But Caldbeck’s situation may be more anomalous than not, suggest some veterans of the industry who have common sense advice around how to avoid problematic board members and how to deal with them if they can’t be avoided.

First, and most obviously, get to know a potential board member as well as possible because who winds up as a director with your company can be a “life-changing decision” in both good and terrible ways, says Joel Peterson, a professor at Stanford’s business school, a former chairman of JetBlue Airways and the founding partner of Peterson Partners, a Salt Lake City-based firm that invests directly in startups and has stakes in many venture funds.

Peterson’s advice is to “interview investors just as they’re interviewing you,” including not only to get a sense for whether someone is knowledgable and shares your same values but also to get a sense for how much time they have for your company. In his view, venture capitalists are “often the worst board members while angel investors are often really good because they really care about the entrepreneur and have a more hands-on connection with them while they’re developing the business.”

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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