How I Continue to Overcome My Fear

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We never talk about it, but fear is the giant elephant in the room. It drives everything. On the outside, I am an extroverted, sometimes over-the-top cheerleader for my portfolio companies. The Startup Factory (TSF), the accelerator I run, has 31 investments. But I have a secret. I worry. I worry a lot. At its core, my worry is all about fear. What do I fear? I am afraid that my investments are bad and I won’t return capital back to my investors. I am afraid that my reputation (whatever that is) will be crap and I won’t be taken seriously. I am afraid that I will have wasted three, four, five years for no gain. Ultimately, I am afraid that I will be a failure. Again. Why me, you might ask? I have had success. I co-founded MapQuest, served as the president of Rand McNally, and worked as a corporate venture capitalist. Now I operate one of the best seed investment funds in the Southeast. But I have had real failures as well. In the late 1990s, I spent a year raising investment capital to roll up and combine a handful of map publishing companies that never materialized. I

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