So i've been debating whether to write this post all day.
Unfortunately i probably have more balls than sense, but it drives me fucking insane to see some bullshit superangel conspiracy theory get whipped into a frenzy by people who weren't there, have no idea what the hell was discussed, and are ready to believe anything when someone yells FIRE!
so here goes nothing... first a few clarifications:
- mike arrington is a friend, an imposing figure, and a hard-nosed, hard-working journalist. that said, he's dead fucking wrong about there being some story around " collusion" (def'n). makes for great red meat on TechMeme & Twitter, but it's just so much horseshit.
- yesterday i was invited to a dinner with some well-known startup investors to discuss the latest & greatest in tech & startups. the agenda was drinks, good food, & shooting the breeze... it wasn't to collude, to price fix, to put out a hit on Paul Graham, or generally bust a cap in any founder's ass (ok maybe Zuck & Jobs have it coming, but people might notice if we shoved them furtively into Davy Jones' Locker). Yes: it was a private affair, and No: mike wasn't invited. neither was Barack Obama, your mom, nor any of 500 other friggin' awesome people in silicon valley or around the world. meh... whatever -- i don't get to go to every cool kid party in the valley either. sorry, mike... but if you want, i'll knock one back with you before we go onstage Monday morning at Disrupt.
- startups & investors bitch & moan about price (aka valuation) all day long, but i don't really give a damn what other people think most of the time. buy or don't buy. negotiate or don't. This is America, This is Capitalism, and it's a Free Fucking Country. me? i like convertible notes just fine, albeit usually with some kind of cap. sometimes a deal is "too expensive", sometimes entrepreneurs really are "awesome". usually, we're all W-W-W-WRONG about 10 different reasons why shit is gonna fail anyway. you still in? yeah, me too... so ante up, mofo. you're here in Silicon Valley because you're trying to change the world, or at least build a better mouse trap. either way, odds are against us. deal with it.
- from an entrepreneur's perspective, Paul Graham & YCombinator are killing it right now... and bully for them. sometimes you got leverage, sometime you don't. regardless, PG should be commended for innovating on the venture model, and for encouraging startups to push the envelope -- on both product, and price. still, people should realize the wheel comes around for everyone, and it's a small valley. people on both sides shouldn't get too comfortable, and shouldn't try to fuck with each other too much. Personally i prefer to leave a little more on the table for the other person, and focus more on building a long-term relationship and less on the tactical zero-sum crap.
regardless: haters gonna hate, players gonna play. just focus on the important stuff (build product, solve problems, get customers, make money... and don't be evil... much ;)
- my fund 500 Startups is investing in 7 or 8 YC startups out of the recent batch, and they are some very smart young entrepreneurs with some great business opportunities. most of them will fail, but that won't stop them from starting, or me from investing. and sure, the pre-money is definitely on the high side compared to rest of market / previous years. so be it. Mercedes Benz ain't cheap either.... but that shit is SHINY. if you don't like it, don't buy it.
- innovation & investing is not about price. it's about finding great entrepreneurs to build solid companies, and solve customer problems. price matters, but innovation & execution matter a helluva lot more. find good people, bet on them, help them succeed. try to improve the ecosystem, and try not to be a dick (that last one is actually hard... it's sort of easy to be an asshole as an investor).
- at the dinner, there was a fair amount of kvetching about convertible notes, capped or not, hi/lo valuation, optimal structure of term sheets, where the industry was headed, who was innovating and who wasn't, and 10 million other things of which 3 were kind of interesting and 9,999,997 weren't unless you like arguing about 409a stock option pricing.
however, in addition to pricing & valuation, some of the more interesting things discussed were:
1) how can we increase access to startup capital (new geographies, new investors, Second Market, etc)
2) how can we increase M&A for startups & increase awareness of startups for non-tech acquirers
3) how can we increase startup innovation (more smart entrepreneurs, cool new platforms, better techniques for mentoring / entrepreneurship)
of course, none of that shit is nearly as sexy or exciting as how we're going to screw over some n00b startup founder at YC, beat the crap out of some clueless old dinosaur VCs whose IRR sucks ass, or hide our secret tinfoil cabal / conspiracy at Bin 38 from the Valiant Fourth Estate.
in short: if it Bleeds, it Leads... and Fuck. That. Noise. about Fair & Balanced, right?
on the other hand -- some folks really are trying to innovate in venture capital, support & invest in thousands of entrepreneurs, that employ millions of people, who create billions of dollars in value, for customers and shareholders around the world. we ain't trying to kill the Man in the Arena, mike... we're rooting for him (or her).
naah, screw that shit & lets get back to Collusion cuz that sells newspapers.
and like Gordon said: Greed is Good... even if we're counting page views instead of dollars.
as for lil ol' me?
i'm here to Disrupt, motherfucker. so go right ahead & Hate On Me.
If I could give you the world
On a silver platter
Would it even matter?
You’d still be mad at me
If I could find in all this
A dozen roses
Which I would give to you
You’d still be miserable
In reality, I’m gonna be who I be
And I don’t feel no faults
For all the lies that you bought
You can try as you may
Break me down but I say
That it ain’t up to you
Gone and do what you do
Hate on me, hater
Now or later
‘Coz I’m gonna do me
You’ll be mad, baby
Go ‘head and hate
Go ‘head and hate on me, hate on
‘Coz I’m not afraid of it
What I got I paid for
You can hate on me
Ooh, if I gave you peaches
Out of my own garden
And I made you a peach pie
Would you slap me high
What if I gave you diamonds
Out of my own womb
Would you feel the love in that,
Or ask “why not the moon”?
If I gave you sanity
For the whole of humanity,
Had all the solutions
For the pain and pollution
No matter where I live,
Despite the things I give,
You’ll always be this way
So go ‘head and….
You cannot hate on me
‘Cuz my mind is free
Feel my destiny
So shall it be
"Hate On Me" – Jill Scott