What Entrepreneur Behavior Drives You Nuts?

Seraf Co-Founder Christopher Mirabile interviews several experienced angel investors from around the country to ask: What Entrepreneur Behavior Drives You Nuts? Hear from leading angels why they avoid working with entrepreneurs who lack integrity, don't listen, aren't coachable, and won't stop pitching. 

Video Transcript

C. Mirabile: What entrepreneur behavior drives you nuts? [00:00:08]

B. Peters: Well, I think the entrepreneur behavior that drives me nuts the most is when you have something valuable to share and because they're entrepreneurs, it's their nature - sort of like teenagers - not necessarily to be good at listening yet. And when you have something valuable, something that might make the entire difference between success and failure, sometimes it's hard to get that across. [00:00:12]

D. Berkus: We go back to coachability again, don't we! I've said several times when entrepreneurs have just wanted to do their own thing to a point where, in one case, I convinced the board to resign en masse and sell back the stock that we had bought to the entrepreneur for a dollar. The tax loss was more valuable to us than the agita and the risk we were taking with an entrepreneur that couldn't be coached. [00:00:35]

J. Huston: The one just seems to soak in all my true wisdom I'm dispensing, and then, of course, makes no course correction through behavior changes. [00:00:58]

F. Peters: I think it's, you know, not listening. On the one hand you want to be able to give advice to an entrepreneur. And on other hand, you want somebody who has great conviction, never take no for an answer. So that's a dilemma for the entrepreneur. What advice am I going to listen to and act on. And in what ways am I just going to press on with my own vision. That's a balancing act that can be a challenge. [00:01:13]

J. Caruso: The ones where they are always pitching me rather than having a conversation about the state of their business. This is post investment. I don't want him - the day I write a check I want to stop hearing stuff. [00:01:40]

J. Hammond: Entrepreneurs that just cannot stop talking about "it" - the project, the product, and refuse to sort of think about the business around the product because that's what we spend our time as investors doing. Once we understand what "it" is and who buys it, we spend a bunch of our time thinking, "How can we get into the market?" Is that possible? How will that go?" I'm trying to get conversation over to the business. [00:01:53]

R. Sheridan: The hiding information drives me nuts. In a early stage situation, what you're trying to do is create a community around an entrepreneur where you have mentors, you have advisors and some expert knowledge. And when they hide events because they're embarrassed by them or they view they reflect poorly on them, then you don't get to solve them. And my motto is "Fail fast, fix it and move forward." [00:02:24]

M. Heymann: Not being completely honest. Not full disclosure and lack of self introspection of what the person might be doing wrong or the effect they're having on their team. [00:03:01]

N. Ravikant: You know every entrepreneur is unique, idiosyncratic and different. I would say availability bias is probably one of them where people just want to associate with whoever they've seen on camera or whatever name they've heard recently. Entrepreneurs shouldn't be brand focused. They should be more rational than that. [00:03:14]

D. McClure: You have to be tolerant of craziness if you're going to invest in entrepreneurs. But I guess making decisions quickly is something that I like to see, so entrepreneurs that are taking a long time to make decisions, or get a product out, or are spending too much money right away or in big chunks. I think, again, genius emerges slowly. Don't try and blow it all too quick. [00:03:31]