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Why Are You The Best Person In The World To Execute Your Idea?

5312435881_19982faa7c_bRead in a startup forum I manage: “How do you answer when a VC asks you in an interview ‘Why are you the best person in the world to execute your idea?'”

I believe the question asked by the venture capital investor is stupid and naive. (And I know the firm who asked the question.)

Stupid, because the question is formulaic and bland. It’s almost a “shibboleth” – the VC is expecting a certain answer, a secret password that will get you past the gate and to the next level.

Naive, because it assumes that the Silicon Valley stereotype of a brilliant, monomaniacal and borderline autistic founder is the only one that works.

If you truly believe you are the best person to execute this idea, then you’re doomed. Any business cannot survive with just one person. It takes a team of committed people and a big dollop of luck: being in the right place, at the right time, and with the right preparation. The problem is that you cannot know what is the right place, the right time and the right preparation.

Believing that the founder is the best person in the world to execute their idea is a symptom of Silicon Valley hubris. It blinds you to what you do not know about what you do not know about yourself and the world around you.

Silicon Valley does not have a monopoly in imagination, creativity and innovation. Actually, I wish there was more humility in Silicon Valley. The ego of the place is ripe for disruption. But then again, when billions of dollars are at stake, humility tends to go by the wayside.

Why would the investor ask this question, especially when then entrepreneur knows that a good chunk of the accelerator participants are disqualified on the spot for not answering it to the investor’s satisfaction?

I hope if you are asked this question of a VC, that you don’t try to project an ego-driven caricature of who you really are. Answer directly: there exists no such perfect person. Challenge them on the assumptions and hypothesis behind the question. Turn humility into strength.

All you can do is work hard, constantly challenge your assumptions, be open to input, and stay true to your what and your why.

I don’t know if this is the magic answer to the VC’s question, but it is the truth.

 

For more information:

Indirectly related, but interesting:

The Decision Trap by Roger Martin in HBR
https://hbr.org/2010/07/the-execution-trap

 

Image credit – Pascal via Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/96rC76 Used under Creative Commons licence

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