What’s the Worst Part of Being a VC? ‘The High Asshole Factor,’ Apparently

At least according to a Quora thread.


An interesting question showed up in our Quora digest email this afternoon. “What is the worst part of being a VC?” one user wondered. No, “sexism” wasn’t one of the answers, but apparently there are quite a few grievances for the partners on Sand Hill Road. The main complaint? Turns out there sure are a lot of assholes in the VC business.

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An anonymous poster who claims to be “a VC general partner for nearly 10 years at a large brand name fund” posted the following missive:

But if forced to pick – the worst parts of the job are:

1. Dealing with your partners. At a large fund, there are lots of partners. And what it takes to become a partner at a big fund and stay there for years is often a high asshole factor, ability and desire to deal with firm politics and internal jockeying for power.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some great great partners.  But I think 2/3rds of the people in the GP ranks at big firms have massive egos.

He added, “As one LP put it ‘VCs have more ego per dollar of return than any asset class we know of.'” Dude’s got jokes!

The poster continues to elaborate on the ways this assholery manifests itself, including being a partner in name but not actually have control, and “crazy backroom politics,” where VCs agree, “‘You vote for my deal at a Monday meeting and I will vote for yours.'”

The answer received 23 comments, almost all of them gushing in their approval of the poster’s honesty. Roger Ehrenberg, a managing partner at IA Ventures, lauded it as “a truly brilliant and candid response.”

We can’t disagree. In fact, all of the answers to the thread provide some compelling insights into the walled garden of venture capitalism.

Ramy Adeeb, a principal at Khosla Ventures, was more blunt about the drawbacks: “Wasting your life cheering on the sidelines instead of making things happen.” Do we detect a hint of bitterness, good sir?

Other cons mentioned:

  • The fact that VC is an inherently lonely business.
  • Having to say “no” all the time.
  • Dealing with the failure of a company you invested in and really believed in.

In the end, we’re more partial to VC Mark Suster’s response: “You’d have to be a pretty big baby to complain about being a VC.” It does seem like a pretty cushy gig, at least for dudes.

What’s the Worst Part of Being a VC? ‘The High Asshole Factor,’ Apparently