This rarely works well, particularly when the two decisions are in fact related. One coping mechanism is being able to ignore advice (if you haven't taken their money, you can probably ignore their advice). Another is having a list of knobs people can twirl which are off the critical path (salaryman survival skill #1: distract the boss with rearranging a Gantt chart which can't kill anyone).
The solution is to give him a helicopter. A helicopter is something glaringly, obviously wrong, deliberately thrown in to satisfy a busybody’s need to “do something.”
It comes from a video producer I once knew who would always include an actual helicopter (for aerial shots of the city) in the estimate every new proposal he made. The helicopter was always obviously far more expensive than anything else on the list, and the client would always immediately cross it off before approving the proposal. End result: the producer got to do the project as he wanted, the manager got to feel useful, and everyone was happy."
There's no reason B can't be complicit in this and take the day off to play golf instead...
This is the stuff I understand. Technology, web design, psychology of people online, etc. I notice that when I design a business plan, I think in terms of actual use cases from each participant, and why they would do each step. And if there's a missing piece somewhere then that's a red flag. I ask how it would spread virally, or how it would make enough money to spend on user acquisition. This is how I approach business, using what I know.
But there's other stuff out there, SEO, guerilla marketing, PR, etc. and I completely avoid it in my designs because I don't know too much about it. That's why it's good to have a partner who can be involved with talking to PR people and marketing agencies and architecting real-world campaigns when the time is right. Whenever there was a problem, I tried to solve it myself using the tools that I know. All my business plans have been of this nature -- sites that are viral by design and get people to spend money by design. Not that it can't work spectacularly, but it's a one-sided, internet-centric approach.
As a technical founder I'm really well aware of it. After all, I'm constantly pushing projects that my non-technical partner (and by extension our board) really doesn't grok. Things like site security, more robust backups, improvements to the software stack... these are all things that don't really show up in any visible way within the product but they're all crucially important. It's my job to put the risks in proper context and help him understand that. It's his job to learn, understand, and help me make better decisions as well. I've often championed projects that addressed risks that weren't worth the effort to properly deal with. I need him to reign me in when that happens.
I think it's far to shallow to say "well they don't understand so their just flailing about trying to turn it into things they do comprehend." Assuming that you've assembled the right board and the right investors it's much more likely that you've done a poor job of engaging them in the topic. To them the advisor LOOKS like a commodity because from their position he is.
I'm wary of fooling myself into thinking most thing's an opportunity rather than a commodity. Besides getting more experience and seeing more, how does one guard against it?
On another note, did you put it to a vote? Do you still hold a majority?
Being in business means being flexible and having a bunch of beancounters on the board that are scared to be diluted is not going to help at all.
In such a case stating your case as clearly as you can, possibly in a follow up meeting (because he clearly was not well prepared for this one) would have been much better, also, and that's another critical mistake here, before you approach an outsider you first agree internally that you will do so, and what the budget for that particular outsider is. That could have saved some friction here.
A ship has only one captain, if the VCs are on the board they are represented as guardians, but not in a decision making capacity, only an advisory role.
Board decision are not nearly always unanimous, and it could very well be that a decision like this is determined during a general shareholders meeting if the board can not find a resolution. 1 share, 1 vote.
I think what he really means to say is to don't negotiate too much where you can have a great profit. In fewer words, not to be penny-wise and pound-foolish.
So negotiating as a general rule is good. But in specific cases, where you're dealing with an opportunity or "non-commodity" thing, no, negotiating can sometimes be bad. That was his whole point.