Early stage investing is as much about what to remember as it is what to do.
A long time ago, someone did me wrong. As I was discussing my options for revenge among my contemporaries, an older guy shared the most important thing to remember; “Don’t go to jail.”
The book “Into Thin Air” illustrates how the most important thing to remember when you’re climbing Mt. Everest is to get back home safely.
On my first center ref assignment for a local U9 girls’ soccer match, with the sidelines full of anxious, opinionated parents I caught a small panic attack as the girls warmed up. Despite two full days of training, the rules were starting to blur — direct kick on penalty or indirect. Yellow card on foul or straight to red? Five minutes before blowing the starting whistle, I casually asked Jordan, the seasoned, 16 year old line judge “What’s the most important thing to remember if I forget everything else?”
He looked me dead in the eye and calmly, almost reverently replied, “Mr. Wilkins, you’re the center ref, whatever call you make is the right one.”
“What to remember” is often more important than strategy, tactics, what people will think, models you create or the fame, money and reputation you desire.
In 30 years of angel investing, I’ve learned a lot about investment policy, objectives, guidelines, constraints, micro-tests, deal structures, difficult conversations with founders and investors, tax strategies, asset allocation, when to double down and when to cut the cord.
All that won’t fit into a reasonably sized post.
What’s important to remember will fit into a digestible post so here’s my version of it…in order of importance.
There are no sustainable shortcuts. I think it is true that the harder you work your process, the luckier you get so savor the journey, work your process and, of course, don’t go to jail.
Top 3 Most Important Actions To Optimize Sales During an Economic Downturn
I heard a Warren Buffet quote once that made me laugh out loud; “I try to invest in [mature] businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”
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