Plan B

“When the decline comes, it happens quickly.”

– Limited Partner

I remember hearing that many years ago from a savvy investor in VC funds. Many firms have a hard time moving on from a senior partner. That individual often “owns” the LP relationships. And as I’ve blogged before here, they control the Management Company and cannot be fired. That particular LP was leery of firms where senior partners stay too long. An old person’s health situation can turn quickly.

We just got back from a family holiday abroad and so I missed the Presidential debate and have been listening to podcasts to catch up. What a tough situation. How does the Democratic Party at this point move on from Biden? And why didn’t they do so earlier?

A few months ago, a friend who is plugged in with Washington DC insiders told me that some Biden staff were terrified of his inability to do interviews. In retrospect, declining the Super Bowl interview, which Presidents never do, makes sense now.

One of the toughest decisions VCs have to make is this: fire an underperforming CEO and enter a period of uncertainty. Can you find a better CEO? Will the team be destabilized? Is the added risk worth the added upside?

The temptation in those situations is to embrace denial and to “kick the can” on a tough decision because the consequences can appear so unknown.

The Democratic Party is in that situation now. It will only worsen as polls, which are backward-looking, come out once the electorate has digested his massive failure in the debate.

With the primaries now over, only one person can really make the decision: Biden. People around him can influence him, but for those of us with aging parents, we know how hard it is to “take away their car keys” when they’re no longer capable of driving safely.

One thing I’ve learned the hard way in VC and in life: a Plan B gets harder the more you kick the can down the road. For a company, there is that much less cash available. For a political party, time dwindles, leaving few good options: a betting market now predicts Biden’s probability of winning is down to 31%.

As hard as it is, there’s a lot to be said for embracing intellectual honesty.

2 thoughts on “Plan B

  1. Good analogy – up to the point you realize that this “CEO” currently has the nuclear codes and can end the world as we know it. Frightening to the core. There has to be some sort of regular mental acuity test Presidents have to pass going forward or be moved aside.

Leave a Reply