Are Two Passions Better Than One?

I received an email from a friend today. She was asking me what's going on with FounderSensei. Here's my unedited response.


Hi. I’m well. I was a beta customer for LaunchPad Central. This is Steve Blank's software product. I haven’t found anything that I like in the lean startup software space. I was thinking of doing my own, but I haven’t had time to work on it. I use Trello, which is a generic kanban board.

I was thinking about you the other day. I’ve been thinking about FounderSensei lately. I’ve come a conclusion that I will eventually need my own fund in order to make FounderSensei into what I want it to be. I think what I’m doing is re-inventing the accelerator model. I think the current accelerator model really sucks. It’s wasteful and the failure rate is 99.8%. Certainly, we can do better.

I can’t raise a fund right now, I don’t think. I need to raise some money for A16E. But, we can move the ball forward with FounderSensei in the interim.

The plan for getting there looks something like this.

1. Run class with presentation to investors at the end of the class. I just need to call around to angels and VC’s and get a handful of people to say they will attend the demo day.

2. Get someone well known involved in the program. Mark Suster? Jason Calacanis?

3. Change the definition of demo day. Focus more on validated learning and evidence. Remove polish and make it more authentic.

4. Raise a seed fund. To run the experiment, I need 20 investments to test the thesis. I want to do this with a different fee structure. Instead of 2/20, I’ll offer 0/25. I’m not charging any fees. I’ll make money on the carry only. We need a $10MM seed fund if we invest up to $500K per company.

5. Mobile focus. I like the idea of being 100% mobile.

I’ve been feeling guilty about spending time on A16E and FounderSensei. But, you know what? Everyone does it. Look at all these Uber successful entrepreneurs who split their time between two passions:

Steve Jobs - Apple & Pixar

Elon Musk - SpaceX & Tesla

Jack Dorsey - Twitter & Square

I think it worked out pretty well for them.

So, fuck it. I’m doing both.

Dave Linhardt
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