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用年总结的条经验


  做创业投资6年了,David Lee考虑到在SV天使基金的项目量和强度,感觉时间都是以狗年为单位(一个狗年相当于人的7年)。 投了数量不少的公司,他总结出一个独特而先进的"模式"来识别创业公司。
  You talk about this stuff like you read it in a book.
  -Ward Abbott, "The Bourne Supremacy"
  不是所有的东西都能从书本学到。
  I’ve been investing in or a part of startups for about 6 years. Given the volume and intensity here atSV Angel, I feel like it’s been in dog years. We’ve been a part of a prolific number of startups so I feel like I have been able to develop a unique and advanced "pattern recognition" when it comes to startups (and having Ron Conway as a mentor and advisor is a huge plus too, obviously).
  做创业投资6年了,考虑到在SV天使基金的项目量和强度,感觉时间都是以狗年为单位(一个狗年相当于人的7年)。 我们投了数量不少的公司,我感觉我能够总结出一个独特而先进的"模式"来识别创业公司。
  That said, I’ve only been doing this for 6 years. I have a ton to learn. And I don’t say that out of any sense of false modesty. If technology cycles for investing are about 14 years, then I’ve only been a part of a third of one technology cycle. And one thing I’ve learned the hard way is that there are some lessons that only time and experience can teach you. As Ward Abbott would say, there are some things that you can’t learn from a book.
  话虽这么说,我只做了6年,还有很多要学。如果技术周期是14年,我只经历了三分之一多一些。有件事,我也是很艰难才认识到的:有些教训,只有通过时间和经验才能被教会。
  Here are six things I’ve learned to commemorate the six years. Some I knew about already - for example, don’t invest in science projects - but you don’t really internalize this unless you’ve felt the pain.
  下面是6年学到的6条经验:
  Growth != Value. Growth is a prerequisite for a startup. We at SV Angel in particular look for these early signs. And there are many companies that can show explosive growth. But at least in the consumer internet world, there are very few companies that can translate that growth into value. Growth is necessary but not sufficient for success. That involves (at times) taking all the data you’ve amassed from your first growth stage and using that to create something larger and valuable. It’s transforming oneself from a "product" company to a "technology"-driven one. It’s really hard. For every Facebook and Twitter, there are literally tens that had similar trajectories and flailed ultimately. We’ve invested in a few.
  1.增长不等于价值。增长是一个创业公司的前提。很多公司貌似爆炸性增长,但是就消费互联网领域而言,很少有公司能把增长转化为价值。增长是必须的但是对于成功并不充分。关键是,要把一个产品驱动的公司转为一个技术驱动的公司。这很难。对于每一个Facebook和Twitter, 有很多公司都有类似的增长轨迹但是最终还是失败了。
  Complexity != Value. This is the proverbial "investing in a science project." Sometimes you can become so bedazzled at the science or wizadry and think that that’s sufficient for success. Or the team is so exceptional technically that they will come up with something sublime. That’s obviously not the case. As Max Levchin says, just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s valuable. Everyone knows that "best technology" doesn’t always win. But sometimes you think you have the exception. And sometimes you need to learn this the hard way.
  2.复杂不等于价值。典型的例子就是投资科学项目。有时你会被科学搞的眼花缭乱以为它肯定能成功。或者有的团队技术特别棒,你认定他们能搞出一些牛逼的东西。如同Paypal的创始人Max Levchin所说,难,并不代表有价值。
  One is Enough. We’ve passed on some companies because we thought one of the founders wasn’t that compelling. And those companies turned out to be some of the best. One potential takeaway is that it’s ok if one founder is "so so" so long as one has the potential to be great. (But doing this is hard per the last point below). This is a semi-false analogy, but if you look at companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, etc., they had many co-founders but ultimately there was one that led the company.
  3.一个足矣。我们放弃了一些公司,因为创始人中的某一个不那么出色。然而,那些公司最后成为牛逼公司了。教训就是:某个创始人一般没关系,只要有一个有潜力成为伟大的创业者就足够了。看看苹果、谷歌、Facebook这些伟大的公司,他们有很多创始人,但是最终只有一个领导者。
  Mental Toughness is Hard to Measure. Bill Belichick preaches "mental toughness." He values that over skill, ability, speed, strength or other qualities. I think this applies to founders as well. The problem is that this is very hard to measure in a short period of time when you are considering investment. Unless you know the founder from before, it’s hard to predict. We’ve invested in some folks who we thought were good but they turned out to be great because they were just tougher. Their threshold for pain was higher. The converse applies as well.
  4.心智的强韧度不好度量。 Bill认为心智强韧比技术、能力、速度、优势等更有价值。这同样适用于创始人。除非你以前认识创始人,否则很难预测。我们投了一些不错的创始人,但是他们最后变得非常伟大,原因就是他们更加强韧。
  Nonlinearity is non-intuitive. Many have said that humans have a hard time internalizing or comprehending non-linearity. For example, it’s easy to describe Moore’s Law but it’s hard to grasp or predict what may come as a result. As a corollary you can easily fall into the trap of using "pattern recognition" to invest in a startup, thinking you can use the past to forecast the next big thing. But by definition, the next big thing is nonlinear and therefore literally impossible to predict. Even while it was happening in their earliest days, no one could have predicted that the next Microsoft would be a search engine; or the next Google would be a social network. And using this lens, at the earliest stage of investing, you can put too much stock into false negatives or even worse, dismiss certain startups as unable to monetize or just a feature.
  5.非线性是非直觉的。人类很难将非线性内化。举例而言,摩尔定律大家都知道,但是用它来做预测却不容易,因为它是非线性的。投资也同样,你很容易陷入到利用模式来投资的陷阱里去,认为你可以用以前的经验来预测下一个伟大的东西。然而,从定义上讲,下一个伟大的东西是非线性的,所有无法预测。过去已经证明,没人预测到下一个微软是搜索引擎,下一个谷歌会是社交网络。用这样的方法投资,你会错过很多公司,会因为无法商业化或仅仅一个特性而否定它。
  "Success is a lousy teacher." Bill Gates said this. He said that it seduces smart people into thinking you can’t lose. As an investor, in my opinion, one of the worst things to have is early success. Especially on a non-realized basis. In the past few years many investors - both individual and institutional - saw huge increases in their investments due to subsequent financings. But this was all paper gains. Again, it’s easy to learn this from a book. But when you invest in these companies and you see those "gains", it can seduce you into thinking you’re a great investor. As I say (and have learned), it don’t mean a thing until you got the bling.
  6.成功是个坏老师。这是Bill Gates说的。 成功引诱聪明的人认定他们不会输。作为一个投资人,我认为最坏的事情就是成功太早。特别是基于一个还没有实现的价值之上。过去几年,估值高企。但是这些都是纸上回报。虽然,似乎书上也说过。但是当你投资了这些公司并且看到这些纸上的收益的时候,它仍然会引诱你认为:你是伟大的投资人。如我所说和学到的,没有落袋之前,都是浮云。
 
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