I posted yesterday via Twitter a link to O'Reilly's post regarding working on stuff that matters. Although I wholeheartedly agree with his thoughts, I wanted to add a bit of a VC spin to it. This stems from a conversation yesterday and last week talking to folks looking to dive into the VC-backed environment. This of course is a decision not to be taken lightly.
I firmly believe that you can only be good at something you enjoy doing. At the same time, you can only truly enjoy doing something if you are good at it. This is a prerequisite for doing "stuff that matters." All too often I find that people forget this little tidbit of reality. Before you truly become good at something, you will have to invest the time. I am not talking about the 10,000 hours Gladwell postulates in Outliers, but still, a lot of time. In order to invest this time, you will have to like what you do or you will simmer in your own personal hell doing so (even worse when sitting in a cubicle!)
How does this tie in to venture capital? Well, all too often I hear people tell me they want to start a company. Great, go for it! But wait! Do you want to start a company for the sake of starting a company? Or do you want to solve a real problem, change the world, do stuff that matters? I recommend you do the latter. There isn't really a position called "entrepreneur". You can be an entrepreneur but this is not the essence of what you do as an entrepreneur. It more or less defines your "status" but not your "job".
If you want to start a business, you better be able to convince people to work for you. You also have to convince your backers to fund you. Your customers need to be convinced to buy your product. Partners need to be found and convinced to work with you and so on and so forth. Are you good at this? Have you done this before? Were you successful at it? Did you enjoy it and get up every morning raring to go at it? Did you sacrifice in practically every aspect of your life to make your venture work? Are you willing to do all this as a founder, again and again? Think about it long and hard before taking the plunge. No one can guarantee success if you are good at doing what you do. There are too many other factors out there determining your chances of success. But you'll significantly swing the odds in your favor if you are good at what you do and enjoy what you are doing because you are good at it!