VC:VC Let me get to that

A little while ago I wrote a post on a favorite phrase of entrepreneurs answering VC's: "Good question!" Someone recently told me that "good question" means "I have a slide on that", and "very good question" means "my next slide covers that".

Today I want to talk about "Let me get to that," the phrase that asks you to hold the question for a little on the promise we will cover it in due course.

This answer means one of these things:
1) I am stuck in a Powerpoint presentation flow that I have rehearsed for many hours and do not feel capable of leaving the script [Ed note: I hate Powerpoint.]
2) I don't want to answer that question yet, since my answer will give you a bad impression, and I am hoping to make you like me more before I give you the bad news
3) your question is based on an incorrect understanding of my business and if you allow me to elaborate you will see that it is not useful to focus on this
4) this is a very complex business and if I give you that answer right now, however simple the question, you will get the wrong impression of what is going on until I have given you the full context
5) I don't know (and I hope you will be hypnotized by the Powerpoint into forgetting you asked this question) [Ed note: I hate Powerpoint.]

Most of these answers send fairly dangerous signals that you are not a good communicator and got yourself and your story into a situation where misunderstandings may accrue if you answer that question right now. My suggestion is to answer the question right away, even if you have to qualify it.

VC: "How many paying customers do you have right now, and what is the average price they paid?"
Entrepreneur: "Let me get to that." (Thinking to self: "only two but once they see the pipeline it won't seem so bad.")
VC (thinks to self): "Must mean none or they all hated it."

How about this:
VC: "How many paying customers do you have right now, and what is the average price they paid?"
Entrepreneur: "We have two paying customers; both paid about 30% of the list price of $150,000 because they were beta customers. I do want to add that we have three more customers each close to signing up to buy several units at full price, and they are willing to talk to investors about their purchase intentions."
VC: "OK, sounds good."

So far, so good -- but why is this a VC:VC post which compares Venture Capital to Venture Cycling? Let me get to that.

The work of Hazon (which made me the venture cyclist I have become) is multi-layered and multi-faceted, like many of the business plans I see. Why might you want to support the work of Hazon (which I may ask you to do by sponsoring me for the Hazon NY bike ride)?

Hazon is about creating communities of Jews (and some non-Jews) across boundaries and differences. Those differences are of background, upbringing, identity, age/generation, involvement, commitment, religious observance, education and outlook. Hazon does wonderful work making real communities across these differences, and makes the world a better place through this work.

However, Hazon is also about raising consciousness and awareness of issues relating to the environment, the natural world, the food chain, physical challenge, biking and hiking, in the USA and in Israel. It is also about action with our Community Supported Agriculture projects and our series of bike rides as well as other related work.

I definitely find myself stumbling over answering pointed questions about Hazon, and I know I am not the only one. The story of our purpose, our mission and our work needs honing so that I won't have to answer "let me get to that" any more.

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