Reminder for Startup Founders: VCs Are Not Demigods

August 24, 2016

5:00 pm

Responding to a recent tweet from Joe Fernandez, VC Fred Wilson has stepped up to offer an important reminder that any young entrepreneur needs to keep in the back of their mind: Venture capitalists aren’t superheroes.

Why It Happens

VCs are driven to incubate hero-worship thanks to the specifics of their jobs. First, its a highly competitive career, so VCs need to find ways to bolster their past successes and establish themselves as experts. That means they need to stay on social media, offering a stream of advice and insights. To young up-and-comers, that’s a huge draw: VCs are both constantly available and appear infallible. The path to success, it appears, is to emulate them, starting with an ego enlargement.

What You Should Do About It

So should entrepreneurs accept this information? It’s complicated. First of all, you’ll need to recognize it for what it is: content marketing. But as Wilson goes on to say:

“That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful or insightful. It may well be. But you should understand the business model supporting all of this free content. It is being generated to get you to come visit that VC and offer them to participate in your Seed or Series A round.”

Treat VC advice as a “single data point.” There’s nothing wrong with it, but you’ll need more info backing it up before you start changing your startup based on it. VCs aren’t infallible, even if they like to look like they are.

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He’s based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state’s slogan: “sayWA.” In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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