Tech people use the phrase “there is a pony in here somewhere” to describe a tough situation where there is a hidden big opportunity. I hear it most often in the context of a stagnating business that can’t seem to break-out and needs a new catalyst for growth. For example, in businesses that need to make a pivot (btw, the most overused word of 2010/2011 in my mind).
I like the idea behind finding the pony, although not the specific phrase for reasons made clear below. Which leaves a very important question: How do you find the pony? I recommend the following process:
Some years ago, I promised myself I would start a blog, but only after I crossed the chasm of having been in the venture business for five+ years. After all, what could you possibly have to say that is of interest to anyone before you’ve seen a few great outcomes and a couple of disasters. Well, I’ve now been in the game for over six years and I’ve finally gotten off my duff to get this going.
I’ve learned a lot in my six years in the business. The first thing I’ve learned is that I have a lot more to learn. Failure is part of the system; you can not be a VC without encountering frequent failure. I’m pretty comfortable with that; the trick is to learn from your mistakes and learn fast.