There are many adjectives that entrepreneurs would use to characterize venture capitalists. Most, are probably not flattering…I would think that cynical is high on that list. There are, of course, many adjectives that VC’s use to characterize entrepreneurs. One that comes to my mind is Optimist.
This week, I had a chat with one of our entrepreneurs about the company’s progress with a specific sales account, which is “in the bag”. Some responses: “They love what we’re doing, we left a proposal, they didn’t blink at the price, they asked a lot of questions, they want another meeting”, etc., etc., etc. What do I learn from that – Nada! Is that the cynic talking, or just somebody who spent too many hours with prospective customers? What do I want to hear: “I’m bringing this to my manager for budget discussions”, or something to that effect.
Optimism is not only felt on the business side, but very often on the engineering side, especially with regards to release dates. I often wonder if it’s just naivete on the part of some of the less experienced entrepreneurs, but no. It’s a common theme among all of them.
I suppose that if one were to analyze the road ahead for an entrepreneur just starting out, all the common sense in the world says, don’t bother. All the odds are against you. Even once you’re funded by a top VC, 50% hit ratio isn’t that good for those on the wrong side of the 50%, even for those on the other side, huge success is less common.
So, what’s my summary? Optimism is a required characteristic for an entrepreneur. Optimistic people are probably better off than the others, or at least feel better most of the time. There are some other characteristics flowing in the blood of the entrepreneurs, will discuss some other time.