3 comments posted · 114 followers · following 0
We diversified out of the Associates Program two years ago -- through circumstance, not foresight. Had we not, we would be road kill today, and I would be the lone idiot with the sandwich board outside the capitol building, with passersby wondering what could have caused my own peculiar brand of insanity.
The power to make or break businesses on the whim of some (typically big government) politician, is one of the things that seems so absurdly unfair and out of character for this country, a country that had been, for more than 200 years, quite overtly and innately favorable toward entrepreneurship.
Think of the time entrepreneurs must spend identifying firms and partners that would even read the pitch, and then trying to determine if they would pass through all the gates, without even knowing what or where most of those gates are. Multiply that by 10 - 20 VCs a firm might pitch and subtract that time from the company's resource pool.
While you and your firm may make it a lot easier by coming up with the quick no, others do not, making it worse than a multi-dimensional game of Battleship.
Perhaps this is just the nature of most things where there is scarcity -- a rock band trying to get signed, an author published, a ballplayer a tryout. It's much easier once it's been done the first time.
Unfortunately, I don't have any answers for first time entrepreneurs -- but it seems that VCs as gatekeepers of innovation leaves a lot of great ideas without backing. Hence the flight to alternate means of building companies and raising capital, which is both a natural and a positive response.
I've been both successful and unsuccessful raising venture capital for companies that I have founded. Once funding has been acquired, a lot of stress is removed from the company, but a lot is also acquired, not all of it positive.
On the other hand, the stress of building a company without venture capital is almost all positive -- greater cash efficiencies, deeper and more realistic understanding of markets and customers, slower but more sustainable growth. And opting out of the game of Battleship, if possible, is a great time saver.
Not everyone is a natural, early bloomer. There are late bloomers. And there are non-bloomers who are just hard workers. They may never succeed at the same level as the natural, early bloomers who are also hard workers --- but they should also be raised with the idea that most any ambition can be achieved if the vision is clear and the will and commitment are strong.
Anything less than encouragement from a parent or other adult figure is a disservice.
Cultivate childhood dreams and fantasies -- that's what childhood is for. And raise children to believe anything is possible for all who dream.
If you don't, who will? Certainly not their friends, if their friends are anything like mine were. Part of the boyhood experience in my neighborhood was putting the other guy down, for the most part. All in fun, but kids need a strong foundation to get through that.