Sometimes The Secret Is To Just Show Up & Do Your Job

This is definitely the only blog post I’ve written from a Milan airport lounge, returning from my first trip abroad since we started Homebrew. So what got me out of my San Francisco routine? The chance to work with a group of global mayors to help push thinking forward on how cities and technology companies can work together productively. Cities are my DNA and where I feel happiest — raised in New York and now for the past 20 years in San Francisco. They are the hubs of population and of innovation. I’ll write more about the CityXChange event once it’s settled in my mind a bit more, but this post is about how I got invited.

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There were six VCs attending from US and global funds. All of those funds are substantially bigger than ours — as much as 25x larger! While obviously bigger isn’t always better, I did want our hosts to understand the difference in resources that those sorts of funds have compared to a seed firm like ours, so as the attendee list was solidifying, I checked in with the organizers just to make sure they wanted to use an attendance slot on lil’ ole me.

“Hey, I’m totally honored to be invited but you know we don’t quite have the team or dollars that some of these other partners have at their access,” I told my friend who had invited me to the summit.

“Yeah I get that,” he replied, “but you sometimes have good ideas and you follow through on what you commit to doing. You’d be surprised how much that matters.” [note: *sometimes* ?!? 🙂 ]

So that’s what stuck with him. And I think it’s a reminder that sometimes nailing the basics of being someone people want on their team opens doors wider and broader than putting endless energy into window dressing.

While there’s a lifetime of good fortune, work and, yes, some privilege, that I benefit from, if you show up, have good ideas, and do the work, you might end up with opportunities you didn’t expect. Some may even be in Italy!

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You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .

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