Oct 13 2008

It’s Monday. Do You Know What Your VC Is Doing?

A well worn tradition of most venture capital firms is the Monday Meeting.  While there are several variations of it, including having it the meeting on Tuesday or Friday in an effort to be counter-cultural, most venture capital firms gather on Monday’s to review their portfolios, have companies come in and present for follow-on rounds or new investments, and ponder the state of the universe.

I expect there will be a lot of pondering today.  Given that it’s only 1:23pm and I’ve already received several missives commenting on the Sequoia RIP article (including a skeptical email from someone forwarding the VentureBeat article stating that Sequoia raised the largest new fund in Q3), it’s clear that many VC firms are sitting around today discussing ways they can "help" their portfolio companies in these "uncertain times."

Get ready for a flurry of two things from your VC.  (1) Questions.  (2) Advice.  Not necessarily in that order.  Occasionally you’ll get a demand here and there. 

If you are a first time entrepreneur, be forewarned that this is normal.  The questions and advice usually start on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning (due to the timing of a partners meeting) a few weeks (or months) after the environment has changed.  Of course, a cynic could (appropriately) ask "where were these questions last week."  Welcome to the world of VC-backed companies.

Given that you now know this is coming, my recommendation regarding the questions is to actively engage your VC(s) rather than simply either (a) answer them or (b) dismiss them.  The questions – while often annoying, redundant, or nonsensical – will cause you to think about things you might not otherwise be thinking about.  Just make sure you’ve got the whole question, think, analyze, discuss, decide loop on a short cycle so you can iterate quickly as the environment changes again (either for the better or for the worse.)

With regard to the advice, my recommendation advice is different.  "Think before you act."  This doesn’t mean sit around with your thumb up your ass.  This also doesn’t mean the advice is wrong.  But it definitely means you should apply your (and your team’s) brain(s) to the advice and see if it matches your view of reality.  This is especially true when the advice is second or third hand (e.g. I read the Sequoia presentation and here’s what you need to do.)

Don’t forget to bring your towel to work tomorrow.