Over the last couple few years an ecosystem of VCs and entrepreneur bloggers has built up. Why now, just as people are throttling back their blog engines in favour “tweeting” do I start to write? I will answer that in the next post. First though some of the challenges and pitfalls I have observed and will endeavour to avoid…
- Divulging sensitive information. A VC’s thoughts about sectors and trends are generally formed though the insight they get through meeting companies or board involvement. Conveying these ideas without leaking the commercially sensitive items (company strategy, metrics, product roadmap, marketing tactics, etc.) can be a tricky balance to achieve. Even though a Company itself might choose to be public and open about these matters as some do, these should never slip out via the VC. I put this item first because discretion is the pre-requisite for doing business as a VC. Whilst everyone in the industry intuitively knows this, occasionally VCs infected with blogitis can forget it.
- Engaging in flamewars. Venture Capital and even more so the start-up ecosystem is very competitive. While it may be a viable or even a good approach for of a Start-up company to establish a highly public and fractious PR strategy with respect to incumbents and competitors, this approach never works as a VC. VCs cooperate and compete on a daily basis and running a blog replete with gushing torrents of abuse will quickly put you at the back of the syndication queue for good deals. Should be obvious, but amazing how easily it can be forgetton when pressing the “Publish” button.
- Timewasting. Some VCs have a skill for maintaining a prodigious blog output whilst remaining highly effective investors. I wish I could be one of these. Don’t know what the optimal allocation of time to writing and reading blogs is, but I guess the key is not to let the allocation creep inexorably upwards until you eventually become a full time columnist and part-time VC.
- Taking credit where it’s not due. By this I mean using the blog as a tool to reflect the glow of successful companies or a successful VC franchise onto yourself. A Company’s success is 90% down to founders and executives and the most successful VC firms are those with the cohesive and supportive teams. Blogging is about building a personal brand online, but that brand shouldn’t be built at the expense of others.
- Being boring. So much of what a VC could write about is off-limits and rightly so. The danger is that in trying to be discrete and sensitive, the blog is reduced to a bland commentary on industry trends punctuated by occasional copy-pastes from other sites.
Let’s see how I get on and please tell me when I’m getting it wrong…