This is part of my Series on Angel Investing.
Another observation I’ll make is this. With the advent of the internet we’ve obviously seen a remarkable democratization of information and in particular, unprecedented access to heretofore difficult-to-obtain information. Previously arcane disciplines such as venture capital, for example, have been “opened-up” and laid bare for anyone with a laptop and some free time to explore. Chess is another example. In the past decade the internet and sophisticated chess software programs have created the phenomenon of the 12 year old Grandmaster! No longer are years of practice and study with dusty old chess tomes and wizened instructors required for a really talented human being to acquire the knowledge needed to ascend to this kind of playing strength. Now 10 year olds can course through thousands of classical grandmaster games with the click of their mouse and, through pattern-recognition and raw talent traverse in a few years’ time a landscape that required almost a decade of study only a generation ago. Do we even need to discuss the technological revolution we’ve seen in golf? Videos, DVD’s, handheld GPS devices to tell you the yardage, hybrids, belly putters, and titanium shafts lined with kryptonite. Everyone has access to equipment that Sam Snead could have only dreamed of. We now see things that are shocking to the senses as a result. I already mentioned the spectacle of the baby Grandmaster in chess. What about that celebrity golf event I stumbled upon on TV a few years ago? Remember that kid actor from the movie Sixth Sense who could “see dead people”? I watched this tiny fellow stride up onto the tee like King Kong, suddenly pull out his driver like it was Excalibur and start smashing huge drives way out there on every hole. I think he was hitting it past Marky Mark. He'd probably hit puberty by then but still looked like he was maybe 15 years old to me. No doubt he’d shelled out a lot of his movie royalties for professional golf instruction out in L.A.
For the most part though, most of us who are not quite in the league of the Andreesens, Kasparovs and Tiger Woods’ of the world are simply walking around with an immense amount of superficial information in our heads. (Certainly an order of magnitude more than our parent’s generation). Thousands of Google and Wikipedia searches, films, DVD’s and the like are no doubt responsible for this.
And in this particular context- which involves the judging of entrepreneurs, you’ve simply got to be aware that plenty of people looking for funding have read pretty much everything that’s available on the net having to do with raising capital. So what I’m saying is that a ton of entrepreneurs you’ll meet all “know what to say”. You’ve just got to get good at seeing when they don’t “know of what they speak”.
The bottom line is: just look for authenticity. You’ll know it when you see it.
For the next post in this Series, click here.