We gotta do a deal together

“We gotta do a deal together”

Those six words are pretty common in the VC world. It’s typically said when one VC sees another VC at a conference, breakfast or whatever.

I often smile inside when i hear those words because unfortunately most people don’t mean it (sadly). I can see it coming almost every time. I’ve had too many VCs say that to me ever since I got into this business. Only a small subset of those folks have meant it.

Instead those six words are just a polite way of saying, “nice to see you”. Or the cynical interpretation is “please show me your best stuff early”. The latter is one sided and doesn’t feel very good.

Just this month a well known VC told me, “we should really do a deal together”. Yet later in the same conversation he said he only backs successful, serial entrepreneurs, won’t back first time founders and needs a solid business model. I’m not exactly sure why he wants to work with me because that’s not how I think about things.

The VCs I like best show it with actions instead of words. They brainstorm with me about our respective thesis, we talk about where the world is going, we talk about themes we like, we talk about entrepreneurs we love, we talk about ideas that are powerful and crazy. We don’t spend time pissing on other VC deals.

There are number of folks that I’ve been dying to work with as a venture capitalist. And luckily I’ve been able to do just that. There are also number of VCs that I still haven’t worked with formally yet but I know we will because we both have tried in earnest over the past year or two and it just hasn’t happened yet. I have high hopes and believe its only a matter of time.

But for all the others that meet me for the first time, my suggestion is simple. Instead of saying “We gotta do a deal together”, let’s skip that part and just get busy getting to know each other, find interesting stuff and see if there is a connection.

And in the meantime, I’m happy we met because it’s good to be in the people meeting business.