October 16, 2007

Will Price: Burn the Boats

Will Price, hotshot VC at Hummer Winblad,  says:

“I continue to regret that so many brilliant people that I know, full of energy and ability, sacrifice their passions on the alter of safety or indecision.

The conquistador Cortes provided a model for all intrepid souls….that is to burn the boats on the shore and ensure no way back and the stark need to make the expedition succeed or go down trying.”

I love the metaphor and I really don’t have anything to add to it, except to say that I have a great deal of respect for entrepreneurs who have the guts to burn their boats and go all-out.  At the same time, I feel sorry for those who have had the entrepreneurial itch and never satisfied their urge, or only pursued it half-heartedly.  There are few things as haunting as the “What if?” that will follow them for the rest of their professional lives.

The other day I went to lunch with a couple of entrepreneurs who have burned their boats.  They’ve quit their jobs and cut ties in order to make their dream happen.  I love their passion, and their idea is a good one.  But, I don’t know if they’ll ever successfully raise the money they’re looking for.  It’s highly unlikely at the very least.

However, one thing is certain: They will never lie in bed at night wondering, “What if I had given it my all?”

Will you?