Ideas vs execution

It’s well understood that ideas are one thing but execution is everything.

The execution part is pretty comprehensive as we all know. It’s about obsessing on the user experience, team building, product development, dealing with heartaches & setbacks, growth and turning a dream into a real company. 

That’s why I have trouble investing in companies that are born from the ideas of great founders but who don’t actually want to join the startup. These founders want to create but not operate. 

You see this happen within various universities. A brilliant faculty member comes up with an audacious, powerful idea and wants to form a company & raise venture capital. That’s great but not necessarily sufficient. The next part is they ought to commit to the venture in a meaningful way. That’s key. Universities need to encourage faculty members by giving them “startup credit” for their path to tenure (instead of limiting it to traditional things like grants & publications).  

I’ve also seen this happen outside of the university as well. 

Now, the counter arguement could be, “hey, bijan, venture capitalists spread out the risk, why shouldn’t we?”

Fair question and for better or worse here’s my response:

1. It’s harder to be an entrepreneur than a VC. The risk and reward is much more dramatic. Given all of that I believe entrepreneurs need to be focused on one company at a time.

2. As a VC I am working for one firm. I’m not a VC at one firm, and at the same time an entrepreneur working on a few side projects in parallel. My LPs wouldn’t go for that and I wouldn’t be doing my partners any favors either. Plus, it would be a distraction from the work that I love.