It’s almost been two years since I co-founded LA-based accelerator MuckerLab and since then, I’ve gotten pretty good at lying.
Not the “pants on fire” kinds of lies, but more like “Pretty Little Liars” ones. These are the types of lies that VCs and accelerators dole out to entrepreneurs because they are somewhat true, mostly innocuous, often keep people from crying, but are most definitely misinterpreted by entrepreneurs.
The truth is that we all make mistakes, we all have regrets, we (despite being world changing venture capitalists) are people too. The “best” kind of lies come from a good place because we don’t like making others sad, mad, or worse, so angry that they try to beat us up in the empty parking lot late at night for telling them their ideas suck. Other times, we tell lies to cover our asses.
Entrepreneurs seem to think we know more than them, and yet only two years ago I was on the other side of the table reading every single VC blog and their associated drivel like it was the Gospel. The reality is that customers, users, the market are the only true north, everything else is just opinion. Here are some of the “lies” VCs and accelerators that I picked up along the way and the associated translation. Hopefully, it will keep you from losing sight of your customers and users.
1. “We are very interested in investing, but it’s just too early.”
Translation: “I could be wrong, but I don’t think this thing will ever work. But just in case I’m wrong and this thing becomes another Snapchat, please give me a call and I’ll pretend we are best friends. Plus you seem like a very important person so I had better not piss you off and end up in some Oscar winning movie.”
2. “I’d like to build relationships with entrepreneurs first before investing.” Or, “We only invest in entrepreneurs we know.”
Translation 1: ”It really sucks when another VC buddy asks me if I’ve seen a particular deal, and I’ve never even heard of it. It makes me seem like I’m not the best and most connected VC in Silicon [add location] that I claim to be. So I had better tell everyone that if they want my money, they had better come to me first, even if (or because) it usually takes me six months to make an investment decision.”