The VC and The Fisherman

Eric Norlin emailed me an old VC joke that I thought I’d start your day off with.  I put it in the category of “it’s an oldy, but a goody.”

A fisherman owns a boat and is running a nice fishing business with it. He meets a venture capitalist who promptly offers to invest in the man’s business.

Fisherman: “Why would I want you to invest?”

VC: “Well, with my capital you can buy a second boat and double the size of your business.”

Fisherman: “And why would I want to do that?”

VC: “Because eventually you’ll grow your business so large that you’ll end up selling it and making a big wad of cash.”

Fisherman: “You mean, so that I’ll be able to retire down here and buy a boat?”

Hopefully Aesop isn’t turning over in his grave.

  • Brilliant

  • zmann

    I dont get it… lol

  • This is the version that I most clearly recall (I guess you could substitute the words investment banker for venture capitalist):

    An investment banker from the United States was at the pier of a coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The investment banker complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

    “Only a little while,” replied the Mexican. The banker asked why he did not stay out longer and catch more fish, and the Mexican said that he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

    The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

    The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, and stroll the village each evening where I sip wine and play my guitar with my friends. I have a full and busy life.”

    The investment banker scoffed: “You should spend more time fishing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.

    “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually New York where you will run your own expanding enterprise.”

    The Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”

    The banker replied, “15 to 20 years.”

    “But then what?” the fisherman asked.

    The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would float your company on the market and sell your stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

    “Millions . . . then what?”

    The investment banker said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village, where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends.”

  • zmann

    That clears it up. Money doesnt buy happiness.

  • I have to admit, I have caught myself several times going down this path with a prospective investment only to smile and say – keep up the good work.

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