Reflections > Learnings > Guiding Principles

This is a post by our associate Siddharth Shah. It originally appeared here.


2020 has been a 180 degree for me personally & professionally since I moved from a public equity profile to an early-stage VC profile. The two worlds are connected, yet poles apart. I believe my professional and investing career is an extension of my personal self because it is impossible to have two different faces.

And it is only useful if: Reflections => Learnings => Guiding principles 

  • Relationships > Returns

    • This is my overarching theme for this year

    • Every episode in life (investing or otherwise) can be one to strengthen relationships

    • Good episodes mean you can strengthen relationships, bad episodes mean you can fall back on relationships

  • Human being first

    • Being an analyst in VC, one is permanently in the crosshairs since the position is one of gatekeeper without authority

    • Hence empathy, transparency, and communication becomes even more important

    • I have found that founders become much more appreciative the moment you start sharing your internal notes and memos with them highlighting how you are thinking

    • A few times despite us passing up on investments, founders have reached out for inputs, feedback & also provided references/introductions. This cant happen if you operate like a machine

    • Special mentions: Shiv, Divyanshu, Armaan, Niranjan

  • Jockey >/= Horse

    • The jockey is equally, if not more, important than the horse

    • Few times in the past year we have passed opportunities because we were not comfortable with the jockey. This reiterates #1 (Relationships > Returns)

    • This also means that you are the jockey for someone else:

      • They will prioritize your ethics more than your track record

  • Writing always helps

    • Speaking is easy since you use gap fillers

    • Writing is difficult, but highly effective if done right

    • This always reminds me of the quote below by Marcus Cicero/Blaise Pascal (attribution unclear, messaging is loud and clear nonetheless)

  • Purpose + Passion, not Purpose/Passion

    • Quote by Valerie J Coleman: "Passion without purpose leads to frustration. Purpose without passion leads to procrastination. Passion with purpose leads to success"

  • Words are precious

    • Choose and use wisely, or not at all

  • Subjective > Objective

    • Going out on a limb here, and disagreeing with a vast majority of people who prefer Objective > Subjective.

    • Even robots & machines can be objective

    • Being subjective is to take into consideration your surroundings, experiences, and episodes

    • This is where you and your learnings come into the picture

    • I am sharing a quote on this by Heraclitus: "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man."

    • It is vital to let your experiences, successes, failures, and learnings shape your decisions going forward. Stagnant water becomes putrid

    • Subjectivity embraces the grey areas in life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *