VC Cliché of the Week

Not all cliches come from the venture business.

This week’s cliche was made famous by Colin Powell in his comments to George W. Bush when he was told the US was going to invade Iraq.  Powell said to Bush:

You break it, you own it.

The same is true of a company.  The VCs on the board often have the power to change out the management of a company.  But if they do that, they are responsible for fixing the management and the company.

And startup companies are fragile.  They often don’t recover from the breakage that results from a restructuring of the team.

So, just like Powell was cautionary in his advice to Bush, so am I in my advice to my colleagues in the venture business.  Don’t go into a company thinking you can swap out management easily.  And don’t make a management change unless you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty for a while.  Because that’s what’s required when you "own" the business.