I recently read Boyd (h/t and thanks to rands) and it got me thinking about the role of the founder and the VC in a successful partnership. There is a stark difference in the mindset and approach required for founders and VC’s to maximize their contribution to a company. Winning depends on each knowing their role and respecting the role of the other.
The founders I work with know that a critical part of my working style is knowing when to be quiet. I prefer to create silence, even awkward, uncomfortable pauses after a question or a reframing of a challenge because when founders step in and fill the gap in conversation, the quality of the discussion goes up. Every. Single. Time.
My job is to help take a mental model apart. I push founders to pull at the building blocks of the model in an effort to topple the
. Done well, this leaves the specifics scattered on the table to be reorganized, remixed and rebuilt. The moment the structure breaks, when the pieces scatter, my silence is the most valuable thing I can offer a CEO.
The founder is driven to creation — proceeding from specific to general — like integral calculus the mental movement is from specific observation to general function. From inspiration to enterprise, founders are drawn to synthesis and born to deliver a new paradigm.
The VC is driven to destruction — proceeding from general to specific — like differential calculus the mental movement is from general function to specific derivative. From first pitch to critical strategy session, VC’s are drawn to deduction and live to deliver new analysis.
The very best partnerships between investors and founders foster this cycle of destructive deduction and creative induction. Failure is when the investor leads the creative. Survival is when the founder leads both the analysis and the synthesis. Success is when the investor contributes to more robust analysis and provides support as the founder synthesizes the pieces in a new, market expanding and category defining way.
As an investor, when I catch myself digging in an area beyond my natural strengths, I try to put the shovel down and create some peace and quiet for the founder to work.
VC/Founder partnerships and the cycle of destructive deduction and creative induction was originally published in sneakerheadVC on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.