A crowd is not company
In the last 18 months I’ve really honed in on what William Green talks about in his recent TEDx talk, above. Namely, trying to invest better and indeed live better by “Subtracting, Simplifying and Not being a Fool”. As soon as I heard William’s talk I even wrote those words on my whiteboard as a reminder.
Do less. To get ahead most people look at others, copy what they do and then try to do it a bit better by adding something else. And while we all take inspiration from others we should think twice when it might mean adding things into our lives that needn’t be there.
For me, I’ve subtracted many meetings and calls I’d have otherwise had pre-pandemic. Imagine if you counted up all the ‘Quick Calls’ people have requested — how many hours, or days, would that be in 2021 and would they all have moved things forward for you?
Process improvement. If I do want to meet someone then I’ll suggest coming to a meal with 9others. If a founder gets involved in 9others it allows me to help where I can, find out where I can’t and observe how they conduct themselves. Plus, if nothing else, they get a nice meal and the benefit of being part of a helpful, global network.
The interesting thing is, by subtracting all those quick calls and coffees and simplifying my processes I am actually meeting more high quality entrepreneurs than ever and am getting closer to understanding their quiddity1, an important part of my investment process.
Don’t be a fool
Be in the game you can win. Many early stage investors get a bit panicky and envious about what the likes of A16Z and others are doing by raising hundreds of millions to invest in seed stage startups. Are they essentially indexing the startup market by investing in pretty much every startup they see? Can you do the same?
I can’t do that so I don’t do that. With the small number of investments I make each year I have to accept that there will be month’s of ‘inactivity’. That is, no signing paperwork or sending money. But then again I’m looking for Stars and have my process that works, it’s just a different game.
In other news
Portfolio company Coconut is hosting an event in London on Wednesday 15th December from 6pm to launch ‘Coconut 2.0’. A lot has happened at Coconut in the past year. They’ve pivoted the product, raised another crowdfunding round and lots more — all about making Coconut the ultimate accounting and tax tool for self-employed people.
None of these posts are investment advice. If you are thinking about investing you should seek the advice of a suitably qualified independent advisor.