What Is Your Next Career?
I was recently asked the question “What is your next career?” as part of a discussion with an LP.
I thought it was the best diligence question that I have ever been asked. Upon reflection, the LP was clearly asking me indirectly about my long term commitment to venture capital and, without asking “how much longer are you going to do this VC thing?” she was looking for how I answered the question to get an understanding for how I thought about what I was currently doing along with an indication of how much longer I’d be doing it.
My quick answer was “I don’t have one.” I then unpacked this a little, explaining that I’ve never really thought about what I did as “a career.” While I have a LinkedIn profile, I’ve never had a resume, nor do I really feel like I’ve been on a career path.
But I realized that wasn’t an answer so I continued reflecting out loud in real time. I stated that when I think about it, VCs typically end up doing three different things after they stop being VCs: (1) be a CEO of a company, (2) politics, or (3) academia.
None of these appeal to me. I’ll never be a CEO of a company again – I did this for seven years between age 21 and 28. I was a good CEO but I never enjoyed the job. I have exactly 0.000000% in ever running for a political office. And, I was kicked out of a PhD program when I was 24 and have no interest in ever being a professor or an administrator.
I’m sure there are other things VCs do after stop being VCs, but I’m quite clear that I don’t have a next career in me.