Q: You always remember the ones that got away. Tell us about the startup you regret passing on the most.
A: I actually don’t specifically remember the ones that got away, but I do recall that in every instance we chose not to get involved but should have was one where we didn’t trust our gut instincts–where we overthought it. I do however remember the grand plans and amazing visions we got involved with that were never realized, that didn’t work. Summize version one was a blog sentiment engine that no one used (though John and I did); only as it was falling apart did we stumble upon the use case of Twitter search. As Springsteen wrote, “If dreams came true, oh wouldnt that be nice.”
Q: What “me too” trend should we avoid or invest in?
A: By definition shouldn’t any “me too” trend be avoided? I once read an article where a famous entrepreneur said that by the time something appears in print (newspaper, blog etc), you’re already too late to capitalize on that trend. That being said, we have built betaworks around the idea that there is no old media or new media, it’s all internet media, and all internet media is social. So if you believe in that, like us, keep investing in it.
Q: What’s the weirdest pitch you ever heard?
A: Every single one is weird, that’s what makes them so interesting. But last February 2010 Bre and Zach came in to one of our brown bag lunches and demo’ed a Makerbot for all of us. 50 peope sat in rapt attention for an hour while a loud machine hooked up to a laptop printed a 3D…coathook. Of course the next day we went out and bought a Makerbot for ourselves.
Q: What’s the best way to ride out a bubble?
A: Be very zen about it; don’t get high on your own supply (btw I am the first result on google for that phrase). When I get asked this question it always make me think about this quote: “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”
Q: The last thing you want to hear from a founder is?
A: “I give up.”
Q: Explain, without jargon, what the word pivot means to you.
A: It means to do what every business has ever done in the history of businesses–try to find the most efficient use of your capital. I looked back at the first business plan for betaworks John and I wrote four + years ago; to this day we still aspire to the same goals and results we did back then, we have just tried different ways over that time to get there. That’s pivoting.