Upon launching Lattice Ventures a friend and fellow investor posed the question — What kind of VC are you? Are you a dreamer or dream killer?
His sense was the entrepreneur is the dreamer and a great VC is a dream killer. I reflected on my partnership at Lattice and appreciate the balance of thinking big to align with the dreamers and the reality lens on markets their unforeseen challenges, along with our knowledge base of failures from the thousands of companies we have seen.
You have to think about what might kill your business so that you can realize your bigger vision. This requires sense and balance.
Companies have the same challenge — too many dreamers does not prepare you for reality. A great CEO of a Fortune 500 company once said his CFO is the one that keeps him balanced and vetoes all and anything that might kill them. Her reality check on his big vision spending is what has allowed them to grow. They also trust and respect each other, which has led to their success in a struggling industry.
Later I applied this concept to the pairs of people in my life, personal and professional, from couples, small business owners to friends. It became clear that the CEO and COO roles — dreamers and builders, respectively, are what helps ensure success. Redefining dream killer to builder had to do with the outcomes associated with the role, they close things out, complete projects, and helps realize the vision that has been set out for the team/company/family. The world is full of builders and dreamers.
That is where I see Lattice — we are investing in the world we want to help build. We will empower you on your dreams and growth, pushback on how you plan on getting there, and we will challenge the wins and pitfalls along the way. You need both; we are balanced as dream killers and dreamers but more so as dreamers and builders.
Dreamers and Dream Killers are a healthy balance to have on the team and you want that from your investors. They should challenge you on the world you are building and how it will fit and shape the future you are always growing.