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This Twitter thread caught my attention a couple of weeks ago, in particular, this:
“Live performance TV shows are *never* this good. All the camera work & switching was finely planned and rehearsed (up to the last song, clearly the last song was not). This was two hours. On a *borrowed* stage. A one time shot. They did this ONCE? What? HOW? Every bit perfect.”
It was a series of tweets about the live performance everyone was talking about – Beyoncé at Coachella I wasn’t paying attention to #beychella until I saw that thread and it got me thinking.
Rather than perfection in the performance, I saw something else:
  • Clearly, Beyoncé wanted to have huge impact.
  • Impact and goals were clearly communicated to everyone on the team – be it the big band, the dancers, the light and sound technicians, the set designers. Everyone involved in that production and performance knew what that impact was and they were all aligned to achieve the same goal.
  • Strong communication (including non-verbal) amongst team members.
  • Team members empowered to make decisions aligned with the overall impact and goal.
  • Team members equipped with broad tools and techniques to act in the case of uncertainty – it ends up looking seamless to us because there’s no getting flustered nor anxiety from any team member if something doesn’t go to plan. We, the audience, simply don’t notice.
  • Comes across as perfect, but really it’s being prepared and impactful.
As an investor and manager of Pique Fund, working in the world of early-stage ventures and startups, I and the entrepreneurs we back face a lot of imperfection and uncertainty. The stages on which entrepreneurs dance are almost always borrowed – it’s new territory. We are investing in new territory.
So how do startup entrepreneurs manage to wow and impress and leave investors feeling excited about the investment opportunity (like they’ve seen the best live performance in their lives)?
Let me share this other anecdote. As a kid, I wasn’t great at memorizing history and facts. Instead, I preferred learning formulas, models, and ways of solving problems.
Memorizing with the goal of perfection is risky. If things don’t go to plan (and they often don’t go to plan in some way, shape or form), how do you recover? How do you fall back into step? You can get flustered and anxious if you’ve momentarily forgotten what to do, which creates an additional barrier to carrying on.
To earn an investor’s admiration and respect requires focus on preparedness and impact, not perfection.
  • Don’t aim for perfection. Be clear on the impact you want to have or make and be prepared. That means having a cohesive way of dealing with uncertainty.
  • In a team, you need strong, clear communication and transparency. Each team member is empowered to achieve the shared goal of impact. Each team member takes responsibility for being prepared.
  • Be equipped and equip your team members with broad tools and techniques to make decisions and act when you encounter uncertainty.


For more resources and tools, for making impact investment decisions, particularly with startups or in the face of uncertainty, buy Integrated Investing: Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body, and Soul, available at all major online book retailers.

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