Armchair Advisors

Salute

 

PaLaCart is proudly based in New York. Its team, customers and investors are global and as such there are plenty of meetings in various parts of the world. 

During my travels, whether it is for fundraising or sales, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of incredibly smart people - and all of them envious for a number of different reasons about “startup life.”

The reason I put startup life in quotes and add the word envious in the prior statement is because if you ask any entrepreneur, startup life for most outsiders is looked upon as:

  1. Globe trotting
  2. Flexible hours
  3. Freedom

Where as, here is how a startup founder looks at those things:

  1. Globe trotting: spending a considerable amount of time away from friends and family making sure you are closing deals so that you can run your next payroll.
  2. Flexible hours: not because it’s false, but because flexible hours means working when the rest of the world is sleeping. And hustling when the rest of the world is working. 
  3. Freedom: this one a misnomer. As a start-up founder, your freedom relies on 2 things - the ability to keeping going through hell or the calling it quits. 

Lately, with booming success of technology companies and multi-billion dollar exits, it is difficult to not look at this industry with rose colored glasses. Some days, being an entrepreneur is the best thing in the world. Other days, everything works against you. 

However, these successes have also generated armchair investors and advisors. People who have tons of feedback without the experience, knowledge or risk. 

Some of the feedback I’ve been hearing from the sidelines:

  • Burn is too high
  • Burn is too low
  • Design is too forward
  • Design is dated
  • Technology is too easy to duplicate
  • Technology is extremely powerful

And the issue isn’t about positive vs. negative feedback. It’s about feedback without context. 

A few weeks ago, I was seeking advice from people who have been in the tech start-up space. After scouring AngelList, I came across Joe Caruso. He spent nearly an hour with me on the phone - simply asking questions and clarifying items in our investment deck. And that feedback - despite being an hour long is incredibly valuable. Joe is a person who is experienced, knows the market and more importantly - gets to know you and your business. 

Positivity, feedback and criticism are all incredibly valuable for entrepreneurs. They thrive and survive on this information. 

These things define the future of a startup and hence why founders and entrepreneurs are hesitant in accepting feedback from someone they don’t trust - because unless you know the entire story, a decision based on incomplete background and experience will more likely than not, result in disaster. And worst of all - if you ask for a consulting fee and a retainer just to show up to a startup meeting, you will be ignored by any serious entrepreneur.