January 22, 2013

When I am a VC overlord

When I am a VC overlord:

  1. I will not fund any entrepreneur who uses the word “disruptive”, unless she has actually read at least one book by Clayton Christensen.
  2. I will not fund any entrepreneur who mentions “market projections” in other than ironic terms. Nobody who talks of market projections with a straight face should be trusted.
  3. I will not fund any software entrepreneur who is unfamiliar with “The Mythical Man-Month”.
  4. I will not fund any software whose primary feature is that it is implemented in the “cloud” or via “SaaS”. A me-too product on a different platform is still a me-too product.
  5. I will not fund any pitch that emphasizes the word “elastic”. Elastic is an important feature of underwear and pajamas, but even in those domains it does not provide differentiation.
  6. I will hire a 16 year old intern of moderately above-average intelligence. I will not sign or propose any contract that intern finds difficult to understand.
  7. I will hire a second intern of moderately below-average intelligence. I will not fund any product whose documentation that intern finds difficult to understand. Exceptions may be made for products sold to orienteering athletes, crossword puzzle solvers, or engineers.
  8. When a board on which I sit approves revenue targets for the year, I will further stipulate that the year-ending sales pipeline must comprise more than a Chinese hair salon, an Italian pushcart vendor, the CEO’s brother-in-law and a bankrupt bait shop in Nome.
  9. I will only hire a CEO who can explain the technology at his previous company. A CEO who doesn’t know what his products do can’t sell or market them either.
  10. I will only hire a CEO who can also walk me through a sales cycle at her previous company. A CEO who doesn’t know how a customer buys may well have trouble producing revenue.
  11. I will support any plan that I agree is good for a company I have invested in, nor matter how modest or how bold. I will participate in any funding round that I think is profitable for my limited partners.
  12. I will remember that a board of directors has a fiduciary responsibility to all shareholders, and not just to the preferred ones.

Please offer your suggestions below. An associate will get back to you with our decision.

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Comments

4 Responses to “When I am a VC overlord”

  1. Thomas W Dinsmore on January 23rd, 2013 10:31 am

    1a. I will not fund any entrepreneur who uses the word “analytics” in a context that the intern hired under rule 6 cannot understand.

  2. Notes and links, February 17, 2013 | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on February 17th, 2013 10:55 pm

    [...] In my recent When I am a VC Overlord post, I wrote: 4. I will not fund any software whose primary feature is that it is implemented in [...]

  3. “Disruption” in the software industry | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on July 31st, 2013 8:02 pm

    [...] lampoon the word “disruptive” for being badly overused. On the other hand, I often refer to the concept myself. Perhaps I should [...]

  4. Fluency | Strategic Messaging on August 30th, 2013 3:09 pm

    [...] said some of this more flippantly in my VC overlord post (items 9 and [...]

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