This morning I had one of those coffees with one of the founders in the AdCap portfolio. His latest round just isn't closing as quickly as the company needs and our back-of-the-napkin calculation of runway didn't suggest they were going to make it in time. His co-founders are talking about turning in the towel, he's lost a couple key engineers to Facebook, and his CAC and LTV are more upside down than the mortgage on my SoMa loft. He clearly hadn't slept in a while and his hands were shaking, clearly not from the double-shot espresso he barely touched during the meeting. He counted three pay periods left for the couple dozen folks whose livelihoods were his charge. The leads on his next round have stopped returning his calls.
He was looking at the end of the road, the final stop sign on the company he'd been working on for three years.
So I looked across the table at this man on the edge, staring him dead in the eye. "Alan," I said, "Have you just tried being awesome instead?"
He blinked a couple times. "What?"
"I'm not hearing a lot of awesome coming from your side of the table," I continued. "Maybe if you just stopped with the crying about the death of your life's dream and started being awesome instead things would start going your way?"
He was quiet for a long moment. He sniffed back his sob, took the shot, and declared in a low voice, eyes to the table.
"No Rob," he uttered. "In between worrying about the success of our important mission, the trust placed in me by my shareholders and the lives of the 26 souls I've asked to join me on this venture, I never once thought about 'being awesome.' Apparently that's what we've been doing wrong this whole time."
"Thanks for your time," he murmured and hopped up from the table.
Of course, I picked up the bill. As I finished my egg-white frittata I thought to myself, "This is why founders come to AdCap."
Can't wait to ring the bell on NASDAQ with this founder I set back on the right path.