(Following was in response to a post on Fred Wilson’s A VC blog regarding the imperative of keeping board meetings face to face, rather than telephonic.)
Chiming in from the other side of the table here. As a portfolio company operator, I also dramatically prefer the face to face board meeting. We have a pretty nice big screen videocon setup at our offices (not a Cisco Telepresence, but pretty high end). We’ve used it a few times, when the weather was really sketchy for travel. It’s nice to be able to have all your notes spread out in front of you as you pitch to your board via videocon. But it’s unnerving if your sponsor goes on mute for 15 seconds and is chatting across the table. Additionally, I get a lot of value out of reading the body language and watching which bullets they circle or pages in the book they fold the corners over. It’s much more educational for me to continue to learn how my equity sponsor thinks about the company and about value creation.
In person is definitely the way to go. It’s why we fly from rural South Carolina up to our sponsor’s office in New York every quarter. Worth the time and $$$ for us.