And what did we learn?

One of the most interesting encounters I have with people is when they figure out that I was the front line of business plan defense at Union Square Ventures in 2005-06--roughly the time period they submitted their business plan. "Ah...I know your name....You turned my business plan down."

:)

What's a guy to say there, "Um...yeah...sorry."

Once in a while, you get someone who bashes all VCs...at least all the ones who turned them down. My favorite thing is to ask them what they learned about their interactions with VCs, like this exchange I had the other night.

"So what did you learn?"

"I learned that VCs only like to invest when all the risk is off the table."

"Ok, and what did you learn about your idea?"

"I learned that we're going to be bigger than Facebook and we don't need those guys to be successful."

Ummm...ok. Not exactly the learning experience I was hoping for.

I've said this before but if you can't take anything away from a conversation with someone who turns you down...no lessons learned, you're not backable. Period. Its fine if you believe strongly in your idea, but you have to respect the fact that the guy on the other side of the table is no slouch either, and has seen way more startup ideas than just yours. So, perhaps that person is terribly wrong about your business, but even then, it points to an issue in your presentation. How could you have made a more convincing argument?

Try and take something more away from every "no" than just frustration and spite.