“Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.“ ~J. Paul Getty
Ever since I won the Willamette Angel Conference, my relationship to money has been shifting. I find myself in meetings among some of the most well respected venture and angel investors having conversations about cap tables, series A and B rounds, among dozens of other serious financial terms that I recognize but couldn’t define. It is simultaneously exciting and mystifying to me that the subject of the conversation is me and Good Clean Love.
In some ways, it is not surprising. I have been envisioning big things for this love project of mine for years and only recently through this quest have the skills and discipline to get out of my own way. My confidence in our eventual success is greater everyday as our new talented CEO becomes both more grounded in the current reality and lucid about the future.
Business planning it turns out, even at the highest and most complex levels is really just another version of common sense wrapped in a language you have to acquire in MBA programs. The gist of success at every level is the same: figure out what your intention is, educate yourself about who you need to talk to and how to reach them, identify and articulate clear and achievable milestones and accomplish what you say you will do. This is the formula for success at every level.
Keep in mind that even with the best laid plans the statistical return on venture capital investing is somewhere about 20%. Eight out of ten companies fail. Seems incredulous, but true. Two ideas from all our conversations continue to rise to the surface- never take more money than you need and if you don’t know what you need it for, than your don’t need it. Money flows like water when it is around and if not properly directed can easily spill into wasteful piles.
The second brilliant idea from one of Oregon’s most well respected venture experts was even more inspiring. His belief was that the investment profile that is at once, most appealing and least risky is through selecting the entrepreneurs with the courage and insight to create the space and influence the market to their vision. Too many investors work to predict future trends and then try to situate themselves where they think their prediction will win. This attempting to predict the future and trying to find your place in this imagined reality is only slightly less risky than horse racing. Even beyond all the terminology that makes me glaze over, this idea resonated deep. The future belongs to those with the guts to make their dreams real. It is the only success story you can count on every time.