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I’ve figured it all out

A professor once told me:

“When you’ve graduated from school you think you know it all. When you’ve graduated from college you know that you really know nothing. By the time you get your Ph.D. you see that no-one does.”

The most useful insight here for me was to realize that this is actually good news. It’s precisely the fact that I don’t know that leads me to look closer, to figure it out, to learn about it.

A similar story exists for startups. When you start out, it’s tempting to feel like you’ve got this covered. Your idea is definitely going to change the world. Just do this and that, and success is pretty much a no-brainer.

Until you discover that, well, there’s a lot more to it than you thought. As you dig deeper and build your product you discover all the nitty-gritty details that you should have thought of and all the mean traps of having to make compromises.

Only to discover that a new competitor has suddenly surfaced who seems to have solved all of it.

Which they haven’t, of course.

At the time you’re a venture capitalist you know that no-one has figured it all out.

That’s why VCs are not interested in founders that have it all figured out. They wouldn’t believe you, anyway. They are looking for people who are willing to figure it all out.

What you need to prove to them is that

  1. it’s something that’s worth figuring out and that
  2. you are able to figure it out.

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