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Having a POV

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will do!" - Anonymous

As a venture capitalist, I think its important to have a "Point of View" (the POV in the title) when I'm looking at potential investments.  As the quote above suggests, you have to have a destination in mind when undertaking a journey or you will wander, taking the roads as you find them.  The same is true for making investments or running a company.

The Point of View is a perspective on the trends and developments that affect a particular investment area or company - it's not an investment hypothesis or thesis, it's a process of connecting the dots; seeing what is happening, considering the implications against all the other things you see and being prepared to extrapolate what might come next.  Your POV can't be static otherwise you run the risk of making decisions based on stale data.  It goes without saying that it takes time and continued effort to keep a POV current and that an insatiable curiosity really helps!

As an investor, you need to share your POV with your colleagues.  Most venture firms make investment decisions by strong group consensus so it's important that the folks making the decision have a shared POV ahead of time and are not getting a first look at a particular area at the time of making the decision.

When you consider an investment from a particular VC, make sure that both the individual you will be working with AND their colleagues have a POV that is relevant to your company.  You shouldn't expect each person's POV to be exactly the same (in fact, you want different perspectives that factor into each POV) but be cautious if some of the people appear not to have a POV at all.

Make sure that you have a POV about your company that factors in goals, financial plans/metrics, competitive threats, etc.  Expect your POV to change and think about having alternative strategies to deal with events and challenges before they are encountered.

Having a POV is a recognition that things change and plans seldom unfold as intended.  Make sure that both you and your investors have one and keep it current!!!

Comments

thomas alexander

...ummm VCs. barring a few, most of the current VCs are portfolio managers. The POV is how fast and how high a multiple I can get out of this baby? However, the entrepreneurs who come to me for recommendations constantly ask me the POV question when I suggest some one. Thank you for pointing out.

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STU PHILLIPS
MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA

Intense Brit, lived in Silicon Valley since 1984. Avid pilot, like digital photography, ham radio and a bunch of other stuff. Official Geek.

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