VC Cliché of the Week

I’ve been getting some suggestions for cliches via email and I am going to start using them every now and then. We’ll start with one sent in from a guy I’ve known since college who is also in the VC business. He told me about being in a meeting and blurting out "that vacation didn’t match the brochure".

I smiled when I saw that email because I know the feeling. You go for something; a hire, a partnership, or a new investment, based on a certain set of facts and promises. And then it doesn’t work out. You feel like you were sold a bill of goods. But when the vacation doesn’t match the brochure, you only have yourself to blame. It means you didn’t do your homework.

My wife (nineteen years yesterday!), the Gotham Gal, does all of our vacation planning. She looks at the fancy websites, but then she does blog searches, talks to people who have been there. She does her "diligence". It’s a ton of work, but it pays off because we have never gone on a vacation that didn’t match the brochure.

The same approach has to be used if you are in business. If you are a VC, you don’t need to read the business plan (the brochure) cover to cover, but you do need to do your diligence. If you an entrepreneur making a key hire, you don’t need to spend a ton of time on the resume and prepared references. Even the interviews will only tell you so much. You need to pick up the phone and talk to people who’ve worked with and for the person in question to truly get a feel for them.

The bottom line is you can’t rely on the brochure in whatever form it may take. Because if you do, the vacation will surely not live up to it.