It’s really humiliating to ask for money from people.
When I was a venture capitalist I hated everyone who asked me for money. And I hated my partners who pretended like they had the ability to make important life or death decisions over people.
All we really wanted to do was make a lot of money for doing nothing and then get divorced and live lives of heathen destruction.
Investors will give you money but they make you do all sorts of disgusting things to them first. For no reason other than cruelty and ego.
It’s like a concentration camp where the barbed wire is made out of money. To be clear: Jews had it worse than entrepreneurs. But I didn’t want to be either and unfortunately I was both.
So I’m going to tell you what it’s really like to be Jewish. No, wait. I didn’t mean that. They’ll kill me if I do that.
I’m going to tell you what it’s really like to be a venture capitalist. Because I was that.
Don’t tell the other venture capitalists please. Because I did bad things to them.
I was running a $120 million venture capital fund. I had three partners. Alex, Mark, Ed.
Ed has previously been a CEO of a three letter TV company. Mark had been a top guy for the biggest bank in the world. Alex had introduced us all. I had sold a company that later went bankrupt.
So, in other words, we had zero qualifications. And then a firm whose big investor was the Bin Laden family gave us a hundred million to manage. I should say “allegedly” their big investor. I don’t want to get them upset.
Our three other investors were all bailed out by the US Government eight years later, thanks to deals like the one they did with us.
I was a very bad venture capitalist. I’ll give you two examples or maybe three.
One, I hired my relatives at firms we invested in. See, I wasn’t even planning on saying that one. So now I have to give you another example.
Two, every company we invested in went out of business. There were businesses that were actually PROFITABLE when we invested in them and we forced them to grow so fast they all went out of business.
I was addicted to Percocet while I was a venture capitalist. I would go into meetings and Mark would be yelling at me. The first time I ever took Percocet was after a dental visit.
Then I went straight into a meeting to discuss salaries for everyone in the firm. Mark and I were arguing. But I couldn’t hear anything he was saying.
Suddenly time slowed down and everything was going in slow motion. His words bounced off the walls so it was as if I were hearing them many times but all at the same time. It sounded like gibberish.
Which, of course, made me laugh hysterically. This was the beginning of the end of the firm.
Then I got an arcade game for my office. It was a 1980s Defender arcade game. We all became obsessed with it.
Companies would be nervously waiting for us (their lives depending on us) in the conference room and we would delay the meetings so we could have Defender tournaments.
John Smith (his real name) would even come in on the weekends to practice. Eventually, he had the highest score in the firm and we’d all benchmark ourselves against him.
This all sounds bad and unprofessional.
The real problem was that I was reading the emails of my other partners (note to self: check the statute of limitations before posting this).
I had set up all of their emails and nobody ever changed the passwords.
One time Mark, I saw, wrote to Alex, “you better check in on your buddy” I knew I was in trouble.
Alex and I went out to dinner and he told me I needed to shape up. I agreed with him and I was scared.
Because I was losing all of my money at the time, planning on getting a divorce, and basically scared I was going to end up with a needle in my arm while lying in the gutter. So I was scared to lose the only possible way I could scratch money out of the system.
Eventually it all fell apart. Our investor bought out our ten year contract and wanted me to stay with them. Finally I quit and told them it wouldn’t be fair to them to have me on salary.
I don’t know what gripped me with this moment of honesty but after that I was free to sit in my house with the shades closed and cry myself to sleep at 11am every day until I lost my home and life.
Alex stayed with them. Mark went back into banking at Bank of America. The last day I saw him he punched the Defender machine, cracked the window, turned to me and said, “Have a nice life” and then walked out.
I don’t say any of this out of spite. The spite I have is against me. I did everything wrong.
A year later, black smoke from the World Trade Center covered my home a few blocks away, the ground shook and I stood on the roof and watched while both buildings collapsed. A year after that I was broke and exiled upstate.
When the firm closed, one of the employees went to one of the partners for his final paycheck. The partner kept the money for himself and said to the associate with a smile, “Welcome to the real world”.
The real world is no fun. It crumbles and is sad and empty and lonely and filled with bad people.
I deserved all of my bad luck. Nobody just goes broke. It happens from a string of bad decisions that all add up to bad luck. Bad luck is well deserved.
It’s not a lesson either. That’s a myth. And life is not a cycle. Bad luck could turn into worse luck.
Then much later I had good luck. But good luck is earned. Live healthy, be around good people, exercise your idea muscle, and be grateful. That’s it.
You get to keep good luck only if you generously give it to all the people around you for free. This is how you switch from one “real” world to another.
I’m really glad you read this. This is my new real world and I plan to stay here.