Brad Feld

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Relationships Matter – A Lot

May 08, 2009

It blows my mind how many people think they can treat entrepreneurs and other investors poorly and think that it won’t come around to negatively impact them some time in the future.

I had two interactions last week with companies around a particular VC investor.  I’ve worked with them in the past and had a crummy experience.  I have a “fuck me once” rule where I’ll always give someone a second chance, but I’m wary and – if I have a second bad experience – I’m done.

When this VC came up in the first conversation, I couched my feedback with the appropriate disclaimers (e.g. “it might have just been me.”)  Interestingly, several other people around the table expressed much stronger negative feelings about this particular investor.  I noted that.

When this VC came up in a discussion later in the week, I stated my feedback and echoed the feedback I had heard from earlier in the week (keeping the names of the people involved appropriately confidential.)  Interestingly, the negative feedback was reinforced by another person in the meeting.

Now, I’m sure some people out there think I’m a dunderheaded lummox who occasionally takes leave of his senses, makes a mistake, or let’s someone down.  But – when I do – I try really hard to own up to it and apologize for it.  In both of these cases the VC in question behaved poorly and trashed at least five direct relationships.  There were at least a dozen key people involved in the various discussions that this VC will interact with again in the future.  My guess is that a dozen people have little to no interest in engaging with this VC.

Remember – the smell of shit can linger for a long time especially if you don’t clean it up.