Monday, May 27, 2013

Entrepreneurs are from Mars, VCs are from Venus

I have an inordinate fondness for outdated references.  Just one of the pleasures of getting old!

Yet while the famous bestseller, "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" was a cringe-inducing self-help book, it did touch upon a theme of gender differences that later, better writers tackled.

More recently, I read the fascinating book, "A Billion Wicked Thoughts":
http://bit.ly/18n7jrc

This book uses recent science (and a detailed statistical analysis of 1 billion pornographic Internet searches) to develop a model for male and female sexual behavior.

Don't worry; this post is SFW.  The "money shot" of the book is this insight:
"The female brain is designed to play it safe because the odds of a woman reproducing are very good.  Today's human population is descended from twice as many women as men.  Historically, 80% of women reproduce, versus only 40% of men.

In other words, men who don't take chances, are likely to end up childless.  Men ought to be willing to risk their lives to boost their reproductive odds, because if they don't, they won't reproduce anyway.

Women face a different problem--the odds are good that men will offer sex.  All that matters is choosing the best offer.
All of this makes me very glad that I already have two kids!  But back to entrepreneurs and VCs.  The divergent evolutionary pressures are quite analogous to those on men and women.

Let me rephrase the words above and apply them to a different context.

"In other words, Entrepreneurs who don't take chances, are likely to end unsuccessful.  Entrepreneurs ought to be willing to risk their professional lives to boost their odds, because if they don't, they won't be able to build a successful startup anyway.

VCs face a different problem--the odds are good that Entrepreneurs will offer to take their money.  All that matters is choosing the best offer."

I think this is a pretty apt description. An entrepreneur who sits around waiting for VCs to pursue him is likely doomed to failure.  And a VC who is unselective and says yes to everyone gets called...Dave McClure (I kid, I kid!).  The broader point is that most of the time, with the exception of the hot deals (in this analogy, the Brad Pitt of startups), entrepreneurs chase VCs, and not vice versa, with predictable results for the relationship dynamic.

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