I Should Write More Often
I should write more often. I like doing it. It helps me crystalize my thoughts both about the venture and startup industry and the subject matter that permeates each work day. When I first started at RRE one of the insights I had (now pretty obvious) was that effective communication with a readership was actually a critically important bits of connective tissue that have been developed in connection with the opening up of the venture capital industry. Long before I invested for a living I was reading David Hornik’s blog and Bill Gurley’s, eventually I added Fred’s and Brad’s. When I was an entrepreneur and later while I was in business school these guys taught me the venture industry even though I’d never met most of them.
Yet as important as the conveyance of information is (not to assert that I have a ton of information that can’t be easily accessed through other sources, including the individuals listed above), I think there’s an even more important reason to keep writing and letting people know what one is thinking. Ours has become a rapid-paced and ultra-competitive business. It wasn’t always so. In some prior eras the basic modality of startup finance involved lengthy courtship periods between startups and investors and often by the time a financing is consummated there’d be a strong relationship in place. In today’s world of “looks neat, here’s a check”, a method that is widely lauded in some corners of the ecosystem, this simply isn’t happening.
Writing and sharing thoughts is more than just information – it’s a durable and long-standing expression of values that can be quickly accessed and assessed. If I meet a company and the process is moving swiftly, it’s of enormous help if both the founder(s) and I maintain a creative, substantive and active written presence on the web. Being able to see how someone thinks about events, trends, new products and ideas – all of that enables a richer and more nuanced view than what you can get in a few pitch-oriented meetings. If a founder is pitching me I know I’m getting very particular facet of that person. Similarly if a financing is competitive the founder knows he’s getting a facet of me. There are a lot of reasons for founders and investors to choose one another – I know that shared values and vision and core personality grain are all important reasons why I choose to back the founders I work with and why they chose me.
Over the past 30 days I’ve watched my wife go through a 30-day “challenge” of writing something public every day (here). Now – she’s a much better writer than I am, but it has inspired me to recommit to sharing such thoughts as I have with those who may choose to read them and hopefully share their thoughts back. There’s so much amazing stuff going on right now. The whole ecosystem (startups, the internet, NYC, down to my little family of three) is in the crucible. There is no shortage of things for us to talk about.