December 31, 2009
Every once in a while something dawns on you that applies equally to your personal life and professional life. I just had one of those this week, and so am making it my New Years Resolution.
VC’s are (rightfully) notorious for falling in love with the “shiny new thing,” the “hot” new sector, business model, deal, whatever. B2C, B2B, Web Services, Search, Web 2.0, Cloud Computing, Realtime Web, Mobile, Social Games, blah blah blah, you name it, we fall in love with it and just gotta have one. Every VC worth his salt can look him/herself in the mirror and identify an investment he/she made which was influenced at least in substantial part by the allure of being in a “hot” deal or sector, and much less so by truly compelling investment fundamentals. Actually, if you’ve only got one you are much more disciplined than most.
So, the professional aspect of my resolution is to maintain the discipline to be focused on the stuff that *really* makes something a compelling investment opportunity — to be excited by compelling entrepreneurs/products/markets even when not in a “hot sector,” and equally unexcited by “hot” entrepreneurs/products/markets that are more sizzle than steak.
My resolution applies equally, I hope, outside of the work context. At times like New Years, and other milestone markers, when I look back on things I am always struck by the ability to separate the things that *really* mattered from things that are much more temporal and fleeting in importance and/or value. Relationships, personal endeavors, material acquisitions, etc. As with venture investing, in life generally it is so much easier in hindsight to look back and recognize things that, from the outset, were and were not likely to create lasting value. Obviously, we would want to invest as much of our personal time as possible in those things that really matter over the long term, and yet we still go through life investing alot of time and energy in things that we ultimately realize didn’t really matter.
So here is to a 2010 spending my personal energies, and my LPs’ capital, in the stuff that really does matter.