Episode #218: David Hornik – Why Givers Win

Show Notes:

  • Sustained Excellence:
    • Great story-tellers — Every message is better told as a story
    • Great sales people
  • Why generous people win in the long run — David is naturally generous
  • He answers every email
  • VC’s invest in people more than investing in a product
  • The story of Danny Shader and their daughters’ soccer team
    • The many conversations which led to working together after Danny initially turned David down because he thought he was “too nice” — Why he was wrong
  • The aspect of the job that David doesn’t like — Narcissistic people – “You don’t have to be that way”
  • “In the long run, doing the things you like, with the people you like, will be better”
  • What percentage of your job do you love? — “North of 80% of it. I’ve been doing this for 17 years. You have to do it with people you enjoy. If not, it’s terrible.”
  • Do you have a boss? — “Not really”
  • How to handle a bad loss? — “We lost $35m at one point. A lot of sleepless nights. It was very hard. This business is not all about succeeding.”
  • Why doesn’t David use hard end dates on his term sheets like all other VC’s? “Investing is a big decision.”
  • How to differentiate from other VC’s?
    • Money is all the same, does not differentiate
    • “It’s about help, guidance. I tell them to speak with every person I’ve ever worked with. Ask them what they think.”
    • “I genuinely care about people I work with”
  • “The Lobby” — David’s annual conference — “The best values from conferences are the relationships with other attendees.”
    • Do work outside at a table in Hawaii — It promotes better work
    • Best advice for hosting and event?  “Maniacally curate the guest list. It has to be full of givers. If takers are there, it won’t work.”
    • Start the conference with a fun game
    • Do NOT gather in conference rooms (Hence the name “The Lobby”) – The best conversations happen during the breaks in the lobby
    • Goal is to break even on the event. The budget is more than $1m — Get sponsors, the guests all pay
  • “The goal in life is to have a good time… To have a good life. What’s the point otherwise?”
  • “My goal is to surround myself with great people and enjoy my life. See what’s out there if you don’t like what you’re doing.”
  • Making a lot of money… Impact? “If I make more, I can give more away.”

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