Sync’ up! … without getting drained

nov 20

Yazdani’s criterion

I haven’t done too much shoulder rubbing with VCs. In fact, I’ve probably dealt with them relatively little considering I am a tech person living in the Bay Area.

But one VC impressed me greatly. He was thoughtful, he listened and he had some great adages about the tricky game of company forming and investing. His name is Bobby Yazdani and he had a single piece of advise that struck a chord with me and is something I’ll never forget.

Go big, or go home

In a few words, Bobby’s advise for any start-up is to pursue big ideas. Up till then, a lot of what I had built were iterative ideas, hacks and fixes for mere annoyances.

(As a VC, I’m sure there’s opportunity in each of those. But for a start-up, what’s the point?)

If you hit a home-run with a modestly ambitious product, then you’ve done a ton of work but the rewards won’t be a windfall. Of course, a failed business looks the same no matter how ground-breaking the idea.

Going big is a strategy to save the founders if they indeed hit a home-run.

Inside the start-up, the turmoil is about the same no matter what, so why do something safe or marginal?

Poker

I think what Bobby was getting at is what happens in the game of poker. If you have an incredible hand, it will eat you alive for days if you were only able to make a couple of bucks from it. But if you had bet the farm, then the regrets won’t be: ‘I should have wagered more, darn it.’

The amount of BS an upstart has to deal with is mountain-high. Start-ups are a tough lift. But like a fractal, the start-up with the ambitious ideas has to cope with BS and do the most with a twenty-four hour day exactly in the manner the marginally ambitious start-up does. So, go big!

Do as Bobby says: dream huge, take a chance and let the chips fall where they may.

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