When There Is No Plan B

I had great heart-to-heart conversations this week with many of our portfolio company CEOs. The themes spanned a number of topics, but they all revolved around, more or less, “grit.”

I’ve found that grit takes form in many shapes, depending on the person’s personality. For some, grit means getting angry. For others, it is about being cerebral about issues and potential solutions. For others, it is a quiet resolve to do more and to do better.

And, I find that all three manifestations can happen in one personality. It all depends in the situation for that person. But, each person usually veers towards a particular “style of grit.” People tend to be consistent.

As a VC, I work with many personalities. The management teams go through tremendous roller coasters. One company may be “up,” while another may be “down.” A few months later, they switch places.

I think VCs often are accused of being emotionless. Frankly, I think there is truth to that. It is like being a doctor. If you become too wedded to each patient, when one dies, it can be very difficult. The other patients need you.

For me, this has always been the toughest part of the job, to try to be detached. I don’t think I’m good at that part of the job. I want all of our companies to win. I want all of these entrepreneurs to create outcomes about which they can be proud.

And, as I think about it, it is more than a “want.” It is more of a “need,” as investors have given us quite a bit of capital over two funds.

There is no Plan B. I know the entrepreneurs in our portfolio feel the same way about their ventures.

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