Annual Investor Day with Blackbird — Day 14 as a VC intern
Today its Blackbird’s big event, the annual Investor Day and it’s at one of the coolest offices around town. The event is held at Canva’s office (a portfolio company) and the place has it’s own kitchen, chefs and event venue.
There were presentations about Blackbird’s master plan, founders from companies Blackbird has invested in and the Blackbird community.
Some of the most wisest and successful people were in the room and they were extremely down to earth. Here are some things I learnt during the night.
What it means to not give up
500+ meetings/pitches, that was what it took for Blackbird to get their 1st fund up and running. They were trying to grow a VC fund in a time and place that was completely dry, where the general perception of venture capital was ‘glass half empty’.
And they did not enjoy the pitching to potential LPs (at first). But they did it so many times that they became really good at it, to the point where they began to enjoy it.
It was a long and difficult path to walk, but Blackbird is now one of the biggest and most successful funds. Their first fund is also doing extremely well.
View a job as an investment
Would you invest in the company you’re working at? Taking a job is much like making one huge investment. Unlike monetary investments which you can diversify and operate concurrently at the same time. A job is an undiversified, all-in investment. You can never take that time back.
What does a job mean?
I unconsciously used to view a job as a checklist. You tick off things you’ve done and you prioritise the things you’ve yet to do. But a checklist is not the end in itself, it’s a means to an end. The end is the mission the company is trying to achieve.
With this perspective in mind, I’ll definitely start approaching a job with renewed vigour, more creativity and a greater drive. What can I do to help the company achieve their mission?
During the night I also heard someone mention that it’s easy to see when a good employee comes aboard, the workload just dramatically decreases. This was a simple concept but it made me reshape my thinking around what mindset I should have in order to become a ‘good’ employee.
What is networking?
Honestly, networking used to give me bad feelings, it felt too close to leveraging on someone else to achieve my own goals than I was comfortable with. But one of the guys at Blackbird said, networking isn’t about creating connections with the powerful and successful, it’s about helping those who need a hand and seeing potential in those who have yet to see it in themselves. They could become the next generation of leaders and experts.
Networking is about giving, before asking.