Top Five Tips for Investors
Musings from a Entrepreneur
I’m not an investor. I don’t have a fund. But I love people.
I’m a founder and entrepreneur. If I was an investor, this is what I would do though.
Tip 1: Believe in people
Most investors already know this, but investing is really all about people at the early stages. Ideas really don’t mean anything when you have three people and no product. Iteration and pivots are at core of every successful startup. It’s often hard to judge the future success of a startup at an early stage when every founder is fresh with no history.
The picture of success is an ever-changing reality. The Facebooks of tomorrow will not be started by the same people as Mark Zuckerberg. Founders of tomorrow will have evolved to a more powerful being than their predecessors. This is inevitable because as our world advances, only those that advance themselves as well will have the ability to make an impact.
The only real solution is to know the traits of successful founders and try to detect it in early-stage founders. Hard work and determination are the most important traits in any founder. Another synonym for this is grit, coined by bestseller Angela Duckworth’s famous talks.
Some other important traits include belief systems (see Vinod Khosla’s GSB talk) and intellectual humility. Humility is a tricky concept though. Many entrepreneurs have to embrace a confidence that is not warranted in order to progress. Try to tell the difference between confidence and arrogance. Just remember, the very best entrepreneurs are going to see the future better than you. Don’t let your pride get in the way of recognizing that.
Tip 2: Invest in software platforms that connect people
We are at a point in history where change is accelerating like crazy. Practically nothing should be taken for a fact. The only thing we can predict about the future is that we cannot predict it. At least not rationally.
I am a firm believer in the power of our spirit. Each and every human has a beautiful and infinitely powerful spirit at their core. Most people don’t realize their power within. I don’t believe any person can ever overestimate what they are capable of. Humanity has overcome, created, and progressed over the centuries in unimaginable ways.
Venture capital is all about technology. But advancement of technology is not the end goal, that leads nowhere. Technology is only useful inasmuch as it empowers people. We are also social beings. We thrive when we are connected.
The most groundbreaking technological advancements involve connecting the world better. The steam engine revolutionized travel, the telephone revolutionized communication, the computer, internet, and mobile phone are all continuations of this trend. Hardware innovation has seemed to slow down in the recent decades. Behemoths like IBM, Microsoft, Apple or Tesla are stalwarts in the field. Software on the other hand, has only accelerated.
Invest in the platforms that connect and empower people. They are the most valuable companies in the world. What is the single common theme between Amazon, Airbnb, Alibaba, Facebook, Snapchat, Linkedin, eBay, and Shopify?
They connect people.
Tip 3: Use more quantitative methods
We are in an information revolution. The amount of data out there is too much for any single person to parse through. Luckily we have computers. Thousands of companies exist to help people sort through and manage data. With one click of a button, a marketing company can download 10K leads and with a few more clicks, setup personalized ads and targeted marketing.
Yes, business is all about people and connections. But systematizing certainly helps. Practically every business today uses a CRM. Innovate with your data. Let computers help you save time. There is an endless amount of incredibly innovative and helpful startups arising every day to help people do better business through software.
Tip 4: Invest in companies that others overlook
Don’t follow the crowd. Too many investors just invest in the companies that other top investors invest in. This does nothing for society. What our world needs are more investors who follow their conviction even when no one else agrees. We need more iconoclasts and rule-breakers.
A drug-smoking hippie from Reed College founded the most valuable company on earth today. Two college dropouts founded Microsoft and Facebook. Not a fancy Stanford Business School graduate.
Just know that the next Facebook, Google, or Airbnb will never appear like they’re fully blossomed giant form at the start. Everything ocean starts with a drop. Embrace every little drop because that is how an ocean is formed.
Tip 5: Try to overcome ego
Self-awareness is the key to success. Meditation and belief systems allow people to gain a deeper understanding of themselves. It allows oneself to become comfortable enough to embrace life and love to the fullest. The problem is, too many people think that they know everything. They think reality is a fixed truth. The only truth of life is in ourselves, embodied in love. Listen to the founder of western philosophy.
To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.
— Socrates, Philosopher
We are each a mirror image of the great divine. We have God in each and every one of us. The problem is that most of us do not realize it.
In society today, people are waking up like never before. The most successful investors in the world are connected to something more than themselves. They realize they are on earth for a purpose, to bring about change through empowering and serving others. It allows them to be happy, feel secure, and in turn understand and invest in the right people.
Thank you for reading and good luck in your investing.
Sign up for our listserve
Want articles written by delivered directly to your inbox? Subscribe to our listserve here.