Recently, I have become fixated on completing my sentences. Though this may sound like something the parent of a second-grader may say, it is instead bred from an intense desire to provide meaningful dialogue with those we engage with at KdT. Let’s see if I can explain this.
As an investor/board member/mentor/father depending on the time of day, I wear lots of different hats. Regardless of the hat, the aim doesn’t waver: provide a meaningful experience for the other party. The more conversations we have and our team/family grows, the more experience we have with the various counter parties throughout our ecosystems. Almost exclusively, conversations with companies, limited partners, service providers, etc… center around a variety of queries:
— Will you invest in me?
— What should I do?
— How can we best work together?
For awhile, we were maniacally focused at the firm on transparency, which by proxy generally meant speed and constant/consistent communication. The shift, and where this nagging idea of completing our sentences comes in, centers around the content delivered. Generally speaking, with the exception of a few, I think that the Venture community is rich on ego/storytelling but poor on content. Enter completing sentences.
The following sequence of events is all too typical in venture: bigwig X tells a story about company Y, who brilliantly executed on a plan that created a huge arbitrage/business. I appreciate stories as much as the next person, but what makes interesting cocktail banter versus what provides actionable insights and frameworks to businesses are not the same. Many times, I am left thinking: “That is great for company Y, what does that mean for me?”. Or said another way, how do I complete the sentence?
Action takes many forms, and it does not always have to be the prototypical a-ha strategic insight. In fact, I think that many folks shy away from even trying to complete the sentence out of fear that their action clause may be deemed insignificant, short-sighted, or just plain dumb. In order to help myself get over this fear, I consistently try to do two things: 1) remind myself that we are all on the same team learning from each other in parallel and 2) as long as I act with humility, even if wrong/unhelpful, the team can correct me and we can move along unimpeded. Once unhinged from the encumbrance of fear and judgement, it becomes infinitely easier to start to finish the thought with action.
Please continue to hold us to completing our sentences.