The reason I started blogging was to contribute my small part to the entrepreneurial/venture capital ecosystem by sharing knowledge, insights, and experiences. I am not famous and I don’t know if I care to be. There are several individuals who have become widely known for their success and contribution to the ecosystem. People like Eric Ries who wrote the Lean Start-up; Ben Horowitz who wrote The Hard Thing about Hard Things; and Fred Wilson who writes every day on his blog at AVC. Each of these people (along with many others) have made immeasurable contributions that have impacted the lives of thousands, if not millions, of people. How did they do it? Simply by talking and writing about their experiences for the rest of us to learn from.
These individuals inspired me to start documenting my experiences and sharing them with the venture community. In fact, roughly nine months I started writing a book about my experience raising a small, micro-venture capital fund. Originally I thought the way to share this experience was to publish a series of blog posts about what I learned during the process, but I soon realized that was too difficult to do given the sheer quantity of data. Therefore, starting back in March of 2017 I casually started jotting down a few notes about the process of starting a fund. To my surprise, a month later, I had written a fair amount, but still not enough to explain the process in detail. As I started writing more, I quickly learned that explaining a process or event in written form requires a lot more specifics (hence more words) than it does explaining things in one-on-one communication.
Fast forward a couple of months and I realized I had written a few more chapters and had told just 40% of the story! To be honest I was afraid of fully committing to the process of writing because #1, I’m not a full-time writer, and #2, I knew it was going to be a lot of work. As I wrestled with the decision, I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t stop writing or all the time and effort I had put in up until that point would have been a complete waste of time. And everyone who knows me knows there are three things that I hate wasting the most and those are food, money, and especially time.
By August I was on chapter seven (or so) and had professionally transitioned to a new role at Spur Capital Partners (which is where I work today). I immediately found myself surrounded by some of the most brilliant minds in venture capital fund management. The four founders of Spur average 20+ years experience in the business and have been working with top-tier venture capital funds since the inception of the firm. After just a few months at the firm I took a step back from the book to think about how I could enhance what I had already written by integrating what I was learning in real-time from my partners at Spur.
I continued writing and by this point I had completed the first full manuscript. I knew I wasn’t done but I was far closer to being done than I had ever been. Further updates were needed, but I was making progress. Fortunately and unfortunately the “updates” evolved into a complete and total re-write of the book, and thankfully so. It’s not like I completely abandoned what I had spent the last six months writing, but I felt I couldn’t move forward without making several improvements to the content.
Now it’s November 2017 and I decide to spend the next couple of months reading, researching, getting feedback, and rewriting everything. I was determined to not let the book get too long, so I spent the majority of my time deciding what to take out. If it wasn’t additive, I removed it. One of my pet peeves I encounter in many of the books I read is when the author is rambling on about the same thing over and over again. It’s tremendously frustrating when I feel like the author has made his/her point and I suddenly realize I’m only 25% finished with the book! As a gesture of kindness to the public, my book is quick and to the point. My view is that most people are busy and when they read they want to get straight to the information that will make a difference.
What I’ve learned is that writing (even a short book) is a slow and sometimes arduous process. And I think what most people don’t realize is that writing a book (or anything of significant length) doesn’t really require a great degree of intelligence. But, it does require patience, discipline, and focus.
It took me nearly 11 months to write this (short) book and I’m glad to be finished with this project. My hope is that many people in all parts of the world can learn something from my experience. I guess now I’ll just have to wait and see! Cheers – KM