Learning The Hard Way

I got schooled on Crypto Twitter yesterday. It turns out many believe I was wrong about most everything in my post yesterday and they let me have it. Crypto Twitter is a really special place.

One of the comments was that I learned the hard way that crypto networks are not companies:

Pretty much everything I have learned in the venture capital and tech business I have learned the hard way. Easy lessons aren’t very powerful. Hard ones are.

I have gotten more things wrong than you can possibly imagine.

That’s life, that’s learning, that’s winning.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Intranet vs internet?Ego is a great learning engine.

  2. kenberger

    Love it– “I got schooled (on Twitter)… but then again, at least I’m the guy that early funded that school ! ” 🙂

    1. Richard

      At least Fred is an expert on straws and climate.

  3. Vendita Auto

    “That’s life, that’s learning, that’s winning” by Frank Wilson

  4. Matt A. Myers

    But you don’t listen to the teachers who share knowledge you don’t like or are biased, incentivized against liking?Is it schooling and indoctrination or learning (open mind, critical thinking) you’re doing?

    1. Richard

      Smartisist or narcissists

  5. Mike Chan

    Crypto Twitter is a special place.

  6. Pointsandfigures

    Cool thing is you’ve sunk a lot of money in the sector and not afraid to say you got schooled. A lot of people wouldn’t do that. Some might say it’s easy to be humble and admit mistakes when you are at the top of the mountain since there is little risk. You are secure with money/reputation etc. truth is the more one does it on the climb the easier it is to climb the mountain

  7. Erin May

    The hard way is the only real way to learn. I really believe this. Thanks for this post.

  8. Kelly LeValley Hunt

    What is amazing about the Ethereum, Bitcoin, Token, Blockchain Community is when you dont know, they will advise and educate. When you think you know, they will advise and educate and when you assume you know, they will get the FIREHOSE! They will advise and educate until you shout “UNCLE!” Fred, please attend Ethereal, Devcon, EthDenver where the Builders go to BuidL.

  9. JLM

    .The smartest people in life RENT the experience of others/the crowd, rent being way cheaper than tuition.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  10. Mike

    I continue to think about yesterday’s post. I don’t undestand the dynamics behind the valuation of Bitcoin beyond speculation, but that is not an argument against being long on emerging crypto/blockchain applications in general. I thought about the hundreds if not thousands of business concepts that have floated through venture offices over the recent months/years that help shape their thinking on the space. There is an asymmetry of information and unless you are a professional investor in this space, it is most likley not to your advantage.

  11. Girish Mehta

    Re: “I have gotten more things wrong than you can possibly imagine.That’s life, that’s learning, that’s winning.” Nice sentiment, but maybe not the complete truth for the world at large.Yes, that is definitely life and definitely learning.But for most of the world, that is not winning. It is usually losing, sometimes irrevocably.And I am not talking about edge cases. I am not saying – Imagine an air traffic controller who says that I have gotten more things wrong than you can possibly imagine, but hey… that’s life, that’s learning, that’s winning. That would be an egregious example of an edge case.No, I am saying the legions of people doing regular jobs in the business world (or most endeavors) simply cannot afford to be wrong so many times. It stalls their careers or it ends them.VCs are an edge case. Where you can be wrong most of the time, and still be successful and winning. How Power Laws work.So when I hear a VC say something like this, I smile quietly and I wonder.

    1. JLM

      .Haha, having had my ass in the hands of air traffic controllers I have to second your sentiment.I have had my ass saved by a couple of excellent air traffic controllers who guided me through some thunderstorms when the weather closed in on me twice.The only time I ever encountered an ATC error was when I was holding in the clouds at 6,000′ and a controller cleared a big piece of iron to descend from 10,000′ to 3,000′ to clear them for an instrument approach. When you descend like that, you descend in the holding pattern.I had to quickly remind the ATC that I was holding at 6,000′ and that plane could not descend through my altitude without running into me. He fixed the situation quickly. After that about four other planes told ATC at what altitude they were holding. The controller should have cleared the landing traffic from the bottom of the stack, not the top.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Girish Mehta

        Your flight stories are always interesting JLM.You know of course what I was saying was that the ATC would be a really bad/disingenuous example for me to use simply to make a point.Its the regular business jobs (or most endeavors). Most people in most jobs cannot afford to be wrong half as many times as VCs can, and still be winning.

        1. JLM

          .I got it and agree more with you than you do with yourself. VC is uniquely a business of failure being acceptable in proportions that would not be acceptable in any other endeavor.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. Tom Labus

      The level of risk is substantial less in a regular job.

      1. Girish Mehta

        Nope. That’s my point. It’s higher, much higher in other jobs.A VC’s risk is lower in being wrong in any particular instance.

        1. Tom Labus

          If a VC has no homers , it will be very difficult for them to raise a new fund. It’s relative for me. The regular guy does not have Fred’s cash to fault back on but did earn that over a long period of winners.

        2. Salt Shaker

          In “regular jobs” there are circuit breakers that limit risk tolerance, leading to fewer grand slams or no-hitters. Opportunity for mega-failure is limited. In VC high risk is inherent to the biz, so failure or a bad decision (or three) is built into the model. If you’re not making bad decisions in VC you’re not pushing the envelope. Interesting, that a 50% hit rate consisting of singles in VC could conceivably be viewed as success or failure relative to industry norms, risk tolerance and expectations (e.g., not aggressive enough).

          1. Girish Mehta

            Yup, understand the VC model.Was referring to career risk more than business risk. In regular jobs, career risk is a function of frequency of being wrong in addition to consequences and magnitude of being wrong. Circuit breakers address consequences of being wrong from a business risk standpoint. But you are still not winning from a career risk standpoint if you are wrong.Frequency of being wrong matters in most jobs, regardless of consequence.

          2. Salt Shaker

            Couldn’t agree more. Career risk is under appreciated in the start-up community, and frankly on this blog, too. Fred espouses about the VC biz and readers lose sight of the fact he’s playing an entirety diff sport.

          3. Girish Mehta

            Bingo. Thats exactly right. It is right for Fred, but not for others. Hence I said – “maybe not the complete truth for the world at large”.There is a second order consequence of this ‘ability to win while being frequently wrong’. Be very, very skeptical of the ‘thought-leadership’ of VCs.

  12. iggyfanlo

    Owning your mistakes and errors IS a really good look.

  13. Tom Labus

    You whiff 7 times and get 3 hits in 10 AB, you may be an MVP candidate!!!

  14. Richard

    No man is a winner by means of omission.

  15. William Mougayar

    That said, the end game is probably somewhere in-between. Right now, the renegades and dreamers are leading the way, and gradually their blockchain visions will keep rubbing on us until we all totally get it.

    1. JamesHRH

      In the massive innovation space, the least likely outcome is ‘somewhere in between.’

  16. Semil Shah

    I thought your post was spot-on.

    1. Bolu Praise

      what do you got? after your inspection on the post

    2. Appilab Technologies

      If you are looking for laundry services app development for IOS, you must consider using an uber clone laundry app script. We are the right app development company to make that happen for you.

  17. Brent Naseath

    I count my painful experiences as the best teachers too. There’s nothing like losing millions of dollars to raise your awareness regarding potential areas of risk. But I bet if I came to you for funding and responded with a statement equivalent to yours in this post about my experience that you’d not fund me because the losses would scare you. 😉

  18. JLM

    .Some irony that USV/Freddie funded Twitter and Twitter administered the barbed wire enema?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  19. Alan Warms

    It’s a little bit too easy to say, “no these aren’t companies, their networks” isn’t it? The fact is you put out risk capital in the expectation of earning a return. When ethereum plain doesn’t work, is ultimately centralized on the edge, and other major problems, that makes it super hard for these returns to come. I thought your post yesterday was spot on.

  20. Richard

    Learning the hard way? The danger today is when one dilutes language for their own convenience.

  21. sigmaalgebra

    Crypto business values promise to be highly volatile. So, someone with a lot of information and insight might make some money.

  22. obarthelemy

    Maybe for you personally. But what about for the world at large when you fund and hype FB’s “crypto” *before* being schooled ?

  23. cavepainting

    Your original question was not a wrong one. Crypto networks are not companies but they also cannot work without intentional and focused delivery of new capabilities that drive adoption.People should push back when protocols are pushed to act like centrally managed companies but the challenging and push back leads to a healthy conversation on how to move the thing forward.Eventually if no one uses this stuff beyond speculation and Defi among the die hard crypto natives, it would be a real shame.

  24. Bladia voyages

    that’s cool