March 30, 2005
Counter Cliche: Ready, Set, Exit
Fred’s VC Cliche of the week is the about the Quick Flip. My counter to that is Ready, Set, Exit (image from Google Images).
Most quick flips involve a huge element of luck. For every quick flip out there, there are dozens of companies that thought they’d be quick flips and ended up crashing and burning instead. Back in 1999, when we started Return Path, another Internet entrepreneur I knew loved the idea so much that he told me to start writing the book then, because I would be able to sell the for $100 million before we even had a product in the market. He said the title of the book would be Ready, Set, Exit.
We were careful not to behave that way, and that’s one of the reasons we’re still here and doing as well as we are doing today.
As nice as it is to be an investor or an entrepreneur who falls into a Quick Flip scenario, beware of anyone who’s planning on Ready, Set, Exit, whether you’re being pitched to invest, to join the company, or even to be a customer. Ready, Set, Exit scenarios can’t be manufactured or counted on (if they could, everyone would do them), and that whole mentality is completely antithetical to the stamina required to build a real company.
I think it’s analogous to what everyone tells you when you’re in junior high or high school: you’ll never find a girlfriend/boyfriend if you’re out looking for one.