The Waiting Game

I cannot remember if it is week number eight or nine of the virus lock-down. But, I suppose, it really doesn’t matter. When most days feel largely the same, I’m not sure if marking time is that useful.

On the home front, Mrs. T. put up a chores schedule, and assignments, on a white board. We take turns cooking dinner and cleaning. Every other Saturday, we all do a multi-hour deep-clean of the house.

Connecting with my family and friends has been the highlight for me. And, cycling.

Tired of feeling sluggish, I bought my first road bike some weeks ago. Weather and schedule permitting, I ride every day, usually for a few hours. Breathing fresh air and feeling the air whip by my face has been energizing. West of our house, there are some beautiful views you can take in on a bike.


Work-wise, I’m grateful that all of my CEOs quickly came up with a Plan B. They revised their revenue projections, adjusted their burn, and published potential milestones and dates.

As Eric and I often discuss, it is a bad sign when a Board has to lead a management team on what to do; it’s a great sign when management leads the Board.

Venture capital is an odd job. When a macro-economic shock hits, there’s a mad scramble of Board meetings/calls/Zooms as companies figure out a Plan B. Then, once there is one, as a VC, you…wait.

Entrepreneurs don’t want to be told what to do (it’s a big reason they are entrepreneurs in the first place, IMO). They relish autonomy, and, as a VC, you have to respect that. You also don’t want to be the VC who calls over often and distracts the CEO.

So, once a Plan B is in place, you then wait and see what happens. Sometimes, you need a Plan C. But, other than that, you give the team the freedom to execute.

I’ve described VC this way: you’re a management consultant but with nukes. You help advise the management team, you come for meetings, but you then go. You have the power to fire a CEO or shut down a company, the nukes in your arsenal, but those are levers you never want to use unless you absolutely have to. So, 99% of the time, you’re a management consultant, trying to influence a team without being a jerk.

So, right now, I’m in the wait-and-see mode. It’s boring, but I know I’m one of the lucky ones. So many people in other industries are still in mad-scramble mode.

On another issue, we recently received news that someone whom we know well has tested positive for Covid-19. This unleashes a whole new set of emotional turbulence and unknowns. And, I know our family is not the only one to be going through this.

There are many decisions to make, but, for now, that too is a waiting game to see what the virus does and when. The timing and severity of the symptoms dictate what happens next.

I feel the whole world is in this major waiting game. We all used to be in control of our lives. Right now, the virus is in charge. We just have to wait it out.

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