Garry() @garrytan Managing Partner, @Initialized. Earliest investor in @coinbase @instacart @flexport & 100+ more—$36B in startup market cap so far. Forbes Midas List 2019 #21 🚀 Dec. 15, 2018 1 min read

1/ “The fundamental algorithm of life: repeat what works. If the system you are using comes to an asinine answer that finally won’t work, you throw out the system and find one that makes more sense. You don’t keep repeating what isn’t working.” —Warren Buffett

2/ Startups are a special case: your goal is to try new things and see if they work. (Do things that don’t scale.) But if they work, you need to get good at repeating it. (Scale.)

3/ Most early startups struggle to get the first part, and that is where most death happens. Catching lightning in a bottle is rare.

What is even more rare? Keeping that lightning - a momentary spark turned into a burning flame.

4/ This is why there are so many copycats and fast follows. Catching lightning is so rare and early teams fail so often that it opens an opportunity to steal that lightning and capitalize.

I used to wonder why people do that but now I know they do it because it works.

5/ Thats why there are 2 big questions for startup investing:

Can this catch lightning in a bottle? Novel new thing that could work, and be a worthy market with big impact

Is this the team to keep it in the bottle? Conscientious, agile, good to each other, get things done

6/ This is also why VCs worry so much about capitalization. More money cannot help you catch lightning.

But more money can unfairly advantage teams that are only better at raising money once folks know you caught it

Also a reason why people are not announcing funding anymore!

7/ Stage 1 is about finding what works. Again Buffett’s advice is still applicable: if it doesn’t work, throw it out and find one that does.

Stage 2 is repeating it until it is huge.


You can follow @garrytan.



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