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Into the Unknown
Disney Princesses and the Irrational Nature of Entrepreneurship
Well, I did it. I managed to work a Frozen reference into a venture capital blog post. My toddler is going to be very happy about this :)
I have two girls, one that’s almost three years old and another that is 3 months old. Like many young girls, they love Disney movies, Frozen especially. We watch a lot of it…
One of our favorite songs from Frozen is “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2. The other day my wife says to me, “this song sounds like a lot of what you do.” Here’s a lyrics snippet:
“I can hear you but I won't
Some look for trouble while others don't
There's a thousand reasons I should go about my day
And ignore your whispers which I wish would go away, oh oh oh”
What we do, and more importantly our founders do, is ignore the “thousand reasons” we shouldn’t do something, and make the irrational decision to pursue it anyway. To a certain degree, there’s virtue in that. I think it’s part of the reason our society lionizes entrepreneurs and builders (insert your favorite “In the Arena” meme here…). For many of them, pursuing that path is irrational. But if these people weren’t willing to take massive (irrational) risks, we wouldn’t have so many important technological innovations we have today like cars, cancer therapies, or even luxuries like high-speed in-flight wifi (I’m writing this from 35,000 feet, so this one is top of mind…).
As early-stage investors we’re looking for those with just the right degree of irrationality. We’re looking for those willing to run into the unknown, but still in a general direction that we agree is likely to have a pot of gold at the end. If an idea or path is obvious and makes logical sense, it’s probably too late or that opportunity will be overcrowded with interest. If an idea is too crazy/irrational, we’ll likely just end up Lost in the Woods. The only way to build this intuition is through reps. Years and years of reps, thousands of conversations with entrepreneurs, and an honest reflection on one’s decision feedback loop.
Here’s to staying irrational, always learning, and trying to stay sane on our 155th viewing of Frozen…