On seed investing

Yes, yes, everyone online apparently wants to hear your thesis. Please tell me what you think of this market, what the future looks like for such and such industry. Please take part in a panel to share your views on this.

My take is that all of this stuff is largely irrelevant and wrong.

In my experience, it has often been the most cerebral, intellectually rigorous investors who have missed the greatest early companies.

And that’s because they try to be too smart, to have an overly precise point of view on the business opportunity. They want to sit in their board room and be oracles and then write a twelve-part tweetstorm or LP letter on the subject.

But you cannot blame them. People want to feel smart, and it’s almost impossible to raise a fund by telling LPs to just trust your intuition.

You need a thesis, you need arguments, you need unique access, etc. You have to be able to point to whatever it is. There is only room for demonstrable, pragmatic strategy.

No room for magic.

That’s why it’s always easy to back ex-Google / Facebook / Uber / Airbnb people. It’s right there, look! Their future is written in their resumes.

But of course that’s hardly any fun, nor is it interesting or unique.

Who needs you as an investor in that case? You are a commodity and if it’s not you it’ll be someone else with the same ape-like approach.

Seed investing is art. It relies on intuition.

You will disagree with me and point to 15-year database experts who create Snowflake. Sure. There are certain spaces that are more fitting to these blueprints.

But this is not the case for most anomalies.

I am convinced that it is an advantage to be a little inaccurate and loose at seed. To do something just because you FEEL there might be something there.

This is why I love it.

I am not advocating for a world without opinions. It is good to have an opinion and to be looking for a type of company to invest in or to have a plan when you are building one.

But I am convinced that people are too pretentious and fixed in their opinions… and not only in venture capital.

They care more about sounding smart than anything else. It is easier to have a thesis, it is easier to be negative on most things. These are the safer choices rather than saying “I don’t know” or “ maybe it could work… ”

Be more tentative, be more nuanced, be more delicate, be more unsure and let yourself be guided by more than just your left-brain.

 
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