I have been into the martial arts for a number of years, though I started very late in life. I remember my first night in class…….. a 40 something VP from Hewlett Packard, standing there in my new uniform and White Belt. I was in between an 11 year Black Belt and a college age Brown Belt. It was a humbling and exhilarating feeling all at the same time. I was humbled by how little I knew, especially when the 11 year old gave me that Keanu Reeves/Matrix hand wave saying ‘bring it on’. But, I was also really excited to be learning something completely new. I decided that night that you should always be a White Belt in something.
Well, here I am, a White Belt VC. I have been with Highway 12 Ventures for about six months and it has been a humbling and exhilarating six months. I learn something everyday from my partners, other VCs and the entrepreneurs that I get to interact with. I love it. I will probably write more about my observations of moving into the Venture Capital world, but two things have really exceeded my (high) expectations.
First. None of the VCs that I have met sleep in coffins during the day. Or suck the life blood out of their companies during the night. (I may be caught up in the “Twilight” hype) The openness and willingness to help newcomers like myself, the drive to help make their companies successful and the high level of integrity and ethics has been impressive and heartening. Part of it may have to do with the inter-mountain region and the type of folks that choose to live and work here.
Second. The energy, enthusiasm, drive and innovative spirit of the entrepreneurs that I have met has been exhilarating. I knew it would be, but it is far exceeded my expectations. Interacting and working with you pioneers is a privilege. Being able to help in anyway is extremely rewarding. And yes, I know that sometimes helping is just a matter of getting out of the way.
Martial arts provide a life long learning opportunity and when you achieve Black Belt rank, you are officially recognized as a beginner. I think the world of Venture Capital and Entrepreneurism is similar in that respect. I love it.