Years ago I went to meet someone who was an investor. He did not invest in the spaces that I invest in but this one investment was a crossover and our mutual friend thought we should meet. And so we did.
I remember that I felt like we were circling each other when I got into the office. It was like we were about to start sparring but it was intellectual sparring. He essentially began to tell me about how smart he was, the deals he had done, how he went about them, how it all works. There was zero humility there. I sat there listening and acknowledging as the thought went through my head “if you want to play this game I can play this game too”. So I pumped up my chest and began to talk about my world in the same vein. I call this game my dick is bigger than your dick. It is a game that women rarely play.
There is no doubt that I am playing in the boys sandbox. When only 4.4% of active VC’s are women that says something. I am not a VC but my involvement and many of the things that I do to engage the companies I have invested in is similar to the way VC’s operate. After all, I have been sitting on the sidelines for many years being involved in the backend through my husband. There was a learning curve getting into the investment business and I am still learning every day but the curve was not as steep as it would have been if when I made my first investment and did not know the different between preferred and common stock.
There is a competition in the investment world that nobody really talks about but it is there in black and white. Did you see this deal? I am in that deal. They are killers. It is going to be my best deal. Oh I saw that deal, you invested in them? Hmm. I was in that deal last week that got acquired. I made a killing. I was able to get out now and sell my shares, so smart of me. I don’t need to go on but you get the point. It is the same game, my dick is bigger than your dick.
Here is the thing, I really don’t like the game but I can play the game. I am extremely competitive. I do not like to lose. I also find myself playing that game when I find myself in a room of men investors. I always walk away thinking to myself “why did you have to behave like that”? It is probably better to say nothing at all and just smile. More than likely it is all my age old insecurities coming out. I don’t like the way this game makes me feel in in the post.
On the other hand, I am glad that the game was played at the end of the year. Gives me a lot to think about when it comes to taking some time off and mentally preparing for the year ahead. My biggest wish that is in 2015 there are more lone women investors who I work with. We probably play a different game but at least I find the game has more humility.