Spare a thought for the ridiculously rich

Many, many people become filthy rich for no other reason than luck and happenstance.

But this truth is anathema to their somewhat fragile belief systems. To realize that fate rather than their supposedly innate genius is responsible for the pooling of wealth and societal status cuts too close to the bone.

They want to convince themselves their wealth and power are the direct results of their smarts, insights and ability to foretell the future and profit from it.

Venture capitalists are particularly prone to such magical thinking. Despite being in an industry where the strike rate is one success (if you’re lucky) for every nine failures. What sort of a genius gets it wrong nine times out of ten?

This is not what venture capitalists think about. What they think about is how they’ve been maligned and misunderstood by the mainstream media. And how they should become their own media company. And how the next iteration of the web will save the world. And how crypto is go. And how whatever they’ve invested in will disrupt history.

Even when they’ve invested in a dumb idea with little utility and terrible user experience. A shallow idea with value to venture capitalists (usually in the form of social cachet) but no value to users (because it’s been poorly thought out).

Arrogance and insecurity make strange bedfellows. Venture capitalists are particularly thin-skinned about their investments. In searching for meaning, they invest themselves as well as their wealth. Given they define themselves by their wealth, they essentially have everything riding on an investment.     

To question the fundamentals of an investment by a venture capitalist is taken as a personal affront. How dare you question the (in their minds) oracle.

It’s a personal insult to suggest a venture capitalist may not be the smartest brain in a room.

When by definition that’s so obviously true.

Older note Newer note