At certain times in your adventure as an entrepreneur, you may have to talk to the rich and delusional. As many you know, I advise teaming up with someone who specializes in this. Just in case you find yourself unarmed in the presence of a rich guy who is looking to invest in your start-up, here are some tips learned from observing others much better at this than I am.
Oh and, when I speak of weird rich people, I’m not talking about VCs or experienced angels. Most of these guys at least have a semblance of a process and logic behind how they operate. I’m talking about loaded dudes who know almost nothing about your business but are looking to get in on the tech bubble.
Anyway, those tips…
Ask for something. Have a reason for the discussion. A lot of super rich dudes are just lonely. They break up their solitary existence by inviting you on their boat to have long, rambling, pointless discussions. Have an agenda and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Otherwise, you’ll spend hours going in circles.
- Never say no. When you reach a certain level of wealth, you stop hearing the word no. When talking with such people, disagreement is considered “resistance” and jeopardizes the progress of your conversation. You might just phrase “no” in a softer, more creative way. Unless he asks you to drown a basket of puppies or something. In that case, look for a life raft.
- There is no problem that can’t be solved with the simple application of more money. The idle rich do not want to hear about technical limitations of your product that might make their input unfeasible. Worst case, it’s an issue–but can simply be solved with more money. We know this isn’t true–after all, we build stuff. However, being realistic will paint you as a naysayer and killer of dreams. Keep the reality distortion field powered up.
For many, these talents are natural. For nerdy programmer types, talking to money men is usually a learned skill. It’s also a full-time job–you can’t develop a product yourself and raise money simultaneously. Find help.