Learning by Doing

I connected with an investor who shared how he evolved from a start-up founder to venture capital investor. He had an idea of what it meant to be a venture investor, but he learned that the reality is quite different. His first year was one of not knowing. He didn’t know what a good company looked like, so everything looked good to him. He didn’t know what his approach to finding great companies was, so he tried a bunch of stuff. The list of what he didn’t know is long. But the big takeaway from his first year was that he could learn by doing. There’s only so much that people can tell you about the craft; you have to get your hands dirty to learn and get better.

Having always been a practical learner, I agree with the learn-by-doing mantra. Action produces information. You learn from the information, improving your decision-making and actions. This was true for me as a founder, and it’s true for me as an investor. Some of my learning has been painful and expensive, but I’m comfortable with that. Instead of being unhappy about the money, time, or energy lost, I consider them the tuition I paid for knowledge.

If I want to learn how to do something, I now think about ways to do it so I can learn (and maybe pay some tuition too).