5 Quick Questions with Jeff Bussgang, General Partner at Fly Bridge CapitalRachel Herskovitz | December 6th, 2011
Peter is misdirected on that point. College is an important time not just to be a student, but to learn life skills. Social development relationship-building, emotional IQ, and other skills critical for a successful life beyond the vocational ones.
2) Is there a formula for being an entrepreneur?
I think great entrepreneurs are made in the first fifteen years of life. It is during those years that you develop the skills to handle adversity and uncertainty, develop resilience, and many of the skills involved in processing information and making decisions. I have the opportunity to teach at Harvard Business School and lecture at MIT and I can tell who the entrepreneurs are in my classes, within reason. They might not be successful the first time they start a company, or even the second time, but they possess the characteristics.
3) What is the most exciting part of being a VC?
I would say the most exciting thing is always to see the development and growth of people whether it be my colleagues who rise to become principals and partners, or entrepreneurs who go on to start their own companies and grow as leaders. That is the greatest thrill. What you do on a day to day basis is ephemeral but your personal growth and development is everlasting.
4) Are there investments that you missed?
Many! We are never going to fund all of the good deals, but try to make sure the ones we fund are good ones. When Logimen, who we unfortunately turned down, went public and achieved a one billion dollars market capitalization we cheered them on.
There is a lot of randomness in terms of success, which makes making great early-stage investments difficult. There is so much randomness. Just like baseball, a venture capitalist can control process but you can’t control your outcomes.
5) What was your biggest learning moments as an entrepreneur?
The biggest learning moment was at Open Market. There was this moment in time where we shifted from being a raw start up to a serious company (because we went public). At that moment, management changed, communication changed, even every line of code in our software changed in a very short period of time. We developed a series of more robust end to end processes. It was at this time, that I learned what it takes at the beginning of a company to build the elements that anticipate what can happen when you scale.
Click here for the first chapter of Jeff’s book, Mastering the VG Game.
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