More wisdom from Randy Komisar‘s The Monk and the Riddle (emphasis added):

Passion

“So why were they doing this? Why was it worth their time? I am always amazed that venture capitalists don’t ask that question. Perhaps at this point everyone assumes it’s obvious: to get rich.

“Passion and drive are not the same at all. Passion pulls you toward something you cannot resist. Drive pushes you toward something you feel compelled or obligated to do. If you know nothing about yourself, you can’t tell the difference. Once you gain a modicum of self-knowledge, you can express your passion…

[Passion] is the sense of connection you feel when the work you do expresses who you are. Only passion will get you through the tough times… It’s the romance, not the finance that makes business worth pursuing.

“I can’t get excited by a business whose biggest idea is making money.”

Venture Capital

“Most VCs (even if they insist otherwise) simply don’t have the time to give close management attention to the companies they’ve funded. In addition, in contrast to the original VCs, who often gathered years of operating experience prior to becoming venture capitalists, many partners in today’s firms have no executive management experience. They could be working on Wall Street as easily as on Sand Hill Road.”

“I have never seen a company fail for having too much money. Dilution is nominal, but running out of money is terminal.”

Excellence

[Mediocrity is] the biggest risk of all in Silicon Valley… Instead of managing business risk to minimize or avoid failure, the focus here is on maximizing success. The Valley recognizes that failure is an unavoidable part of the search for success.

“[Excellence] should be your primary measure of success… not simply the spoils that come with good fortune. You don’t want to entrust your satisfaction and sense of fulfillment to circumstances outside your control. Instead, base them on the quality of what you do and who you are, not the success of your business per se.”

Leadership

“Management is a methodical process; its purpose is to produce the desired results on time and on budget. It complements and supports but cannot do without leadership, in which character and vision combine to empower someone to venture into uncertainty. Leaders must suspend the disbelief of the constituents and move ahead even with very incomplete information.

Many ideas in this Valley happen against all common sense. It’s good when entrepreneurs are a little bit deaf and blind, but if they’re completely deaf and complete blind—and many are—they’re unlikely to learn enough from the market and their advisors to make their vision a reality.”

Topics Books · Entrepreneurs · Value Add · VC Industry

3 comments · Show

  • Eran Galperin

    “[Passion] is the sense of connection you feel when the work you do expresses who you are.”

    Wow, fantastic description. This sounds like the Book of Tao for entrepreneurs. :)

  • Marc Dangeard

    On VCs, the comment is sustained by science when it comes to returns: I just read a study on 1300 VC firm that shows that the results are actually on average less than market:
    – SP500 plus 3% before fees, but down to SP500 minus 3% after the VCs have taken their fees.
    – and then the concept of “track record” is not sustained by numbers. From one fund to the other, there is no guarantee that the returns will be consistent, even whether the management team remains the same are not. Experience is actually not a factor in the returns observed. So these guys who have no management experience clearly bring no consistency into the picture.
    You wonder why invest in a VC fund when you see this type of info.
    Check out my post and/or the actual study you are interested in finding out more…

  • Barry Chu

    Interesting to see Randy’s comment that “the Valley understands failure”. I definitely think there is a “right” way to fail and even then a lot of folks won’t be able to see past that. I think the ideas of failure and passion are interlinked in that passion allows you to take the risks that might result in failure. I used to think this “passion” and “missionary” stuff sounded like New Age baloney, but have since seen the light :) Wrote a post about my “discovery” that there might actually be something to this whole mercenaries vs. missionaries thing that Doerr and Komisar talk about ;)