A Response To ‘Dear Dumb VC’

Mark Suster:

‘The industry is dying, except for the top 2%’

The industry isn’t dying. It is changing. And reinventing itself. And some firms will go under. And others will emerge. That’s normal. It’s a market, after all.

‘The best VCs don’t try to help entrepreneurs’

Great VCs create the fabric of their success by backing the best entrepreneurs they have access to and then helping them to lean on the scales.

‘VCs Spend Too Much Time Deciding’

Some of the most bizarre sounding deals end up being huge winners. Some of the most obvious companies and talented entrepreneurs end up not working or burning through too much capital.

VCs are wise to go slowly

‘VCs shouldn’t call their entrepreneurs once they invest’

So the VC’s job is to challenge. Cajole. Debate. Offer contrasting views. Play Devil’s Advocate.

And then step back.

‘VCs often don’t use the products of the companies in which they invest’

It’s hard for me to imagine investing in companies in which you don’t use and understand the products and markets.

‘VCs should never be late’

In a perfect world everybody would be on time. In reality, that is seldom the case.

‘You suck if you don’t have 2+ $1 billion exits’

And as John Doerr has noted, “your lemons ripen early” so I like to say that if I had a ton of exits it would be because I haven’t done my job as well as I would have liked.

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The Only Thing That Matters

Marc Andressen:

The only thing that matters is getting to product/market fit.

Lots of startups fail before product/market fit ever happens.

My contention, in fact, is that they fail because they never get to product/market fit.
Carried a step further, I believe that the life of any startup can be divided into two parts: before product/market fit (call this “BPMF”) and after product/market fit (“APMF”).

When you are BPMF, focus obsessively on getting to product/market fit.

Do whatever is required to get to product/market fit. Including changing out people, rewriting your product, moving into a different market, telling customers no when you don’t want to, telling customers yes when you don’t want to, raising that fourth round of highly dilutive venture capital — whatever is required.
When you get right down to it, you can ignore almost everything else.

Thanks Chintaka for sharing this.