Ten Reflections on 2019
A.T. Gimbel shares 10 lessons he learned at Atlanta Ventures this year and how we’ll take them into 2020.
As we wrap up another year and the end of the decade, I wanted to reflect on some of my key learnings from the past year.
10. Predicting the future - I love the quote “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” There are so many amazing ideas and businesses that may take a little longer than expected to get going, but we will soon look back and realize how obvious it was the world would be different.
9. Maintain optionality - Partially due to above, you can’t always control market timing and predict the future. If optionality does not come at the cost of focus, there are advantages to keeping option value for the future.
8. Keep learning - I always enjoy reading and hearing speakers as a way to keep learning new concepts. A few of my favorites for this year (both old and new) were: Ray Dalio’s classic - Principles, Angela Duckworth’s - Grit, and locally Clay Scroggins’ How to Lead When You Are Not in Charge.
7. Serve others - It is amazing how much you get back by serving others. Whether this is through hosting Meetups, producing content, advising startups, leading in church, supporting your team, or helping your family, you usually get back more than you give.
6. Fun to build community - This past year we recognized an opportunity for Atlanta to better leverage its amazing resources in HealthIT to move towards becoming the premier place to start and grow a HealthIT business. It has been fun to start a series of Healthcare Entrepreneur Meetups filled with amazing speakers and guests that has grown from nothing to a group of over 700 in less than a year.
5. Stay positive - Another famous quote I love: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Stay positive and not only will you likely achieve better outcomes, the journey will be more enjoyable as well.
4. Value of culture - As David Cummings always says, the one thing 100% in your control is your culture. It is amazing how companies with amazing cultures, such as our portfolio company SalesLoft, continue their incredible growth solving real problems while building an outstanding team.
3. Prove customers will pay - There are so many meetings where new deals are about to close or customers have verbally committed. I have been on the other end of many of those that drag on forever or ultimately do not close for some reason. There is so much proof and learning from getting paying customers versus just verbals and free pilots.
2. Be thankful for what you have - Life is too short. Be thankful for all we have living in a first-world country and surrounded by so many amazing people. There is always somebody, somewhere in a situation way worse than yours. We truly are blessed.
1. Starting a business is hard - This past year we started a Studio model to build companies from scratch. After supporting launching three businesses, we see all the ups and downs of getting something off the ground. We got some things right and made many mistakes, but that is par for the course. Starting a business is hard! We are always looking for great entrepreneurs to start a business so if you are pondering your next move definitely reach out to us.
Enjoy the holidays and hopefully you get the chance to take some time off and recharge before 2020.