Weekend Podcast – Investors Are Human Too

On my run this morning (yay – I’m running again) I listened to a wonderful podcast between Jerry Colonna and Bijan Sabet called Investors are Human Too – with Bijan Sabet.

If you follow me, you know that I’m incredibly close friends with Jerry (he’s one of the people on this planet that I comfortably say that I love). I’m also a huge fan of his company Reboot.io. If you want a taste of what they do, listen to a bunch of the Reboot podcasts (I’ve listened to them all and the least interesting one is still excellent.)

I’m also a big fan of Bijan. We’ve had a number of great conversations over the years. While we haven’t sat on a board together, I have deep respect for how he functions as a VC – and as a human.

At Foundry Group, we’ve done a number of investments with Bijan’s firm Spark Capital, including AdMeld (sold – very successful investment), Trigget (sold, but not a successful investment), and most recently Sourcepoint. We’ve also got another one in the works together that should close by the end of August.

Unlike so many podcasts with VCs where you get lots of personal history followed by advice, prognostications, bloviating, and predications, this one was all about being human. Bijan and Jerry explored things in the context of the relationship between a founder and a VC. They covered things generally, had some great examples (including Jerry and Mainspring, which was a blast from the past for me), and then Bijan went deep on his own journey to figure this out over the past ten years.

My favorite line came near then end when Bijan talked about encountering VCs who hide behind the phrase “fiduciary responsibility” to justify their actions, when in fact they should just say:

“I have a fiduciary responsibility to treat you like shit.”

Even though I was huffing and puffing on my run, I laughed out loud.

If you are a podcast listener, spend 45 minutes of your life on this. It’s worth it. Bijan and Jerry – thanks for the conversation and for brightening up my run.

  • So happy to hear you’re running again – and so glad we could keep you entertained! 😉

    • Thanks Ali!

      • Awesome to hear that you laced them up again … I just did to after a few months off due to work … feel’s great to be getting back into a groove … keep it up!!

  • “Bloviating”, wow, that’s a brand new one for me 🙂

    Also glad you’re running again. I’m sure you know how to pace yourself — pun intended!

    I’ll listen to the episode tomorrow, thanks for the recommendation. I consume a lot of podcasts / Audible, but I have yet to get around to Reboot.io. — perhaps that’s the opportunity to get hooked.

    • Monday update: I’ve just finished listening to the episode and fuck was it good, thanks.

  • I don’t post enough, but five years ago I did post this:

    When a VC says: “I have a fiduciary responsibility to my investors”


    This phrase should never be used unless it is absolutely uncontroversial.

    I.e. “Look you cannot just take a private jet on vacation with your family and expense it to the company.”

    I have a fiduciary responsibility to my investors.

    But instead it is used for very nuanced and sometimes shitty situations: “Look we need to do a re-cap and cram down your early stage investors, and push you out as the CEO for my buddy who is going to get a big step up in options and will scratch my back later”

    I have a fiduciary responsibility to my investors.

  • You can tell this one gets my blood pressure up. I had a VC once say: “We have a fiduciary responsibility to to the stockholders!!!!”

    Yell at the top of his lungs. I asked who owned 80% of the stock???? (Founders)

    Bloviating is a great term: “I have a fiduciary responsibility!!!!”

    Threw the keys to the office on the table and asked how long he thought he could keep the servers at the data center running. Lets take a vote.

    Classic response: “You guys are fucking unprofessional” as he slammed the door

    Better come back from my CTO co-founder: “lets lock the door and see if that is unprofessional”

    • Hah – I love your CTO.

      • Better response from him:

        Me: “I know we don’t just jam shit into releases last minute, but we would have done this when we started this company”

        Him: “Don’t ever talk to me about what I did behind the dumpster when my kids were starving” (edited because it was much more graphic)

        Me: “I know where we just ended, I just don’t know how we got here, I will tell the big client, no”

        (Feature was put in)

  • HIs podcasts are so good. Wish he would do more more more!

  • Pointsandfigures

    Love his podcasts. Transparent and honest. Wish people were like that more often. A lot of the time they aren’t because of fear. Not apologizing for but hypothesizing, maybe the VC that said they had a fiduciary responsibility was actually afraid of confronting their investors or their partners? I think that line is a cop out- and it makes me sick when I hear public company CEOs utter it too.

  • I was mostly off the grid since Friday and missed your post.

    Talking with Jerry is so good for the soul. I always learn so much from him and for that I am thankful.

    I am glad our we are about to make another co-investment together. Super exciting.

    • Glad you were off the grid – it’s summer time, enjoy it!