Great blog by Dave Barrett from Polaris Ventures recently titled "We...". I recommend that you all take a look when you have a second. I would like to take a moment to discuss the same topic from a slightly different point of view - that of the entrepreneur.
We (Seven10) have followed the selfless path for almost 14 years, building a company truly as a team. Together, we have experienced the highs and lows that come from being a customer funded company. We have never had a lay-off, never had to downsize, never had to tell a vendor that we couldn’t pay them because the money has run out. Together we have built a business, sometimes painfully conservative, but true to ourselves - each and everyone of us aware of the risks that come with being self-funded. Together, we have built Seven10 on a vision that is as close to unshakable as it gets in this day and age, where trends dominate the landscape and good ideas come in go with the wind (or the money as it is).
Together, we have stayed true to ourselves despite the chaos caused by over-funded companies with over exposed marketing lead by notoriously narcissistic “leaders” who think they achieved something special simply because they closed a VC deal. You and your firm may be different Dave, but we have found that VC's bear a significant amount of the responsibility for creating the big headed "I Monsters” whose chest pump out and confidence swells because they have mastered the art of closing the A, B and C rounds. It is these same delusional “I Monsters” who can't close a customer or build an effective team if their self-admiring lives depended on it – not because of lack of intelligence (the “I Monsters” are always first to tell you how educated they are), but rather a lack of connection with the end-user or partner. A connection that fails because the “I Monsters” are too interested in telling their own story and not near enough invested in the customer’s problem domain.
Admit it Dave, VC’s – for the most part – secretly love the “I Monsters”, they are often polished, full of promise and backed up by an endless amount of stats, PowerPoints, and spreadsheets that all prove how “their company” will be leaders in the next 10B market.
If you really want to see an end to the “I Monsters”, put your money where your mouth is and start investing in some true “We Companies”.