How to be a VC and not act like an entitled douchebag
Hi, Miko here.
This blog post is supposed to be a guide on how do your job as a Venture Capitalist and yet not to act like an entitled jackass.
The problem is, I am not sure how to do that.
After 30 years of entrepreneurship, I have seen many VCs act like Ivy League wank-shifter*. I don’t wake up in the morning and see an asshat looking at me in the bathroom mirror. However, I do see how doing the job makes you look and act like an A-class F-Tard.
gumi Cryptos is my first time as a General Partner with a Venture Capital fund. It is also my induction into VC twatwaffledom.
I’m sincerely trying. But I need your help to avoid becoming a complete tool.
I won’t hold it against anyone for calling me in (or even call me out) and feel free to throw the words from this blog post back in my face. If I agree that the behavior you point out is troubling, I will apologize to anyone affected and make an effort to do better.
Things I’ve seen myself do already:
Parking Asshattery. Yesterday I pulled my car up in front of an entrepreneur’s office and parked my car directly across their driveway. Why did I do that? It was San Francisco and I wanted to avoid being late to the meeting. Just the kind of good intentions that the road to hell is paved with.
“California no”. Instead of simply saying “no” to an opportunity, just saying vague things and letting the conversation trail off.
Short email replies. When faced with the passion and lifes’ mission of an entrepreneur, I have sent emails essentially saying something like “thank you for showing us this opportunity, after careful study I do not feel that it is a good fit for our fund at this time.”
Not “getting it”. Of course I am going to not get it. Travis Kalanick of Uber and Joe and Brian from AirBnB had the hardest time getting anyone to invest in their concept of “strangers will pay to jump into your car” and “people will allow strangers to stay at their houses for money”. Most huge companies have a contrarian thesis and most VCs including myself have their own views of what the future will look like.
“Ghosting”. Not getting back to entrepreneurs for extended amounts of time. Or ever.
Looking at your phone or laptop during a pitch meeting. That’s what those douchey bound half sized notebooks are for. Tip of the nib to Jason Calcanis for pointing this out, and to Pantera for supplying me with many such notebooks.
I’m sure the list goes on.
Without excusing it, I can see how easy it is to become a walking cliche simply by valuing doing a good job as a VC and not trying to do a better job being a human being.
VCs face a lot of investing deadlines in parallel, and get a deluge of thousands of requests for financing. They also have to manage high pressure situations with existing portfolio CEOs and their own partnerships. It doesn’t help that anyone in a position of power or authority is a target for people’s projections and unresolved parental issues.
But it doesn’t excuse bro-baggery.
I’m happy to be held accountable to this, so if you’re read this far, feel free to use this to your advantage. If you can share this or indirectly point other VCs to this, feel free to do that also.
*I use the term “Ivy League Wank Shifter” to imply both that many VCs went to ivy league schools (Yale in my case–wanker points for mentioning it here) but also in the spirit of “World Class Wank Shifter” as if there were a top grade A5 level of wank shifting that one can get pedigreed for.
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“Looking at your phone or laptop during a pitch meeting” its not just VCs that do this – pretty much everybody does much to my annoyance and disappointment … its too late we are all addicted!
I believe I read somewhere that driving while using a device is about the same as/or worse as driving drunk – so from now on I think I am going to attend meetings drunk – and leave my devices behind!!! 🙂