The Obvious and the Oblivious

Something obvious is easily understood or self-evident where oblivious is not being aware or concerned about what is happening around us.

The best entrepreneurs have to have a balance of both. They see the obvious when nobody else does but can be oblivious to everything else such as culture, valuation, people around their table and sometimes a clear path because isn’t the goal obvious to everyone else?

You have to wear certain rose-colored glasses to build a company from an idea. It’s part and parcel of an entrepreneur’s makeup.  It shouldn’t be for investors. 

Institutional investors have one job which is to return capital back to their LPs hopefully at a good multiple.  How you do that is just not picking the right founder with a great idea but coming in with the right amount and the right valuation and figure out how to help grow the business with financial support, knowledge, experience and the right amount of tough love and of course portfolio management. Entrepreneurs want that from someone.

Too many investors and board members don’t do that.  They come in at a high number then proceed to push the company to grow at a ridiculous rate with no real help on how to go about it.  Help means working with the founder to execute and think and that means not telling them what to do.  Companies’ valuations are so inflated that nobody understands how this will all end.  My gut is not how they want it to end. 

It is being oblivious to the obvious.  Public markets, CAC, ROI, profit margins and more tell a story of what a company is worth.  Somehow it seems like the last couple of years has become so inflated due to the market of oblivion.  

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pointsandfigures

    Ha, blogged about similar today. Is it really “investing” if you put $50k to work in 100 companies? Or is it good networking?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yes it is really investing.

      1. Pointsandfigures

        I should have clarified; If you are an angel and put $50k to work in 100 companies I’ll make the argument it is investing. If you are a “fund” I don’t think it is.

  2. LE

    Too many investors and board members don’t do that. They come in at a high number then proceed to push the company to grow at a ridiculous rate with no real help on how to go about it. Help means working with the founderI have always thought about this – in particular – ‘help means working with the founder’. If you are just one investor in a company (angel or vc) there must be a entire psychology getting around putting in a large amount ‘helping the founder’ when you are only one (possibly) small part of who benefits from a good result or payback. Most (other investors) won’t even know about the help you give. And even if they do my guess is they won’t care or would overlook it. Or even worse take it for granted.And that said I wonder if the time spent with the help (if it’s considerable) money wise is better spent on vetting other companies to invest in and letting the chips fall where they fall.