“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.”
“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.”
“[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.”
“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.”
June 25, 2008