Back in 2005 Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called Blink that was about how our subconscious allows us to make fast decisions that are often as good or better than slow considered decisions.
I was talking to someone yesterday evening about how the venture capital business has changed over the last decade and I explained that we used to have weeks, if not months, to make our investment decisions and now we have days or if we are lucky a week or two.
And I observed that the rapid pace of venture investing and decision making has not, yet, impacted the quality of our portfolio and that it may have actually improved it.
The woman I was talking to said “like Malcolm Gladwell describes in Blink.” And I nodded affirmatively.
There is another thing going on with our decision making at USV, which is that we are regularly taking the time to articulate to each other, and ideally the world at large, what we want to invest in and why.
That work, which we call thesis building, helps us make rapid decisions in the absence of time and information.
It is tempting to mourn the loss of careful and considered investing but from where I sit it seems gone for good, at least for early stage venture capital, so I think it’s a better use of our time to spend adapting to the market, as my partner Brad likes to say, and building the conviction to act quickly and decisively.