3 SKILLS TO HACK THE HYPE IN TECH INVESTING
Technology can help us tackle some meaningful problems. But it’s the thinking and capabilities of the investors that will determine which will see the light of day. I have seen too many ‘bad’ projects get funded by supposedly sophisticated investors, burning their cash. This impacts the available capital for worthy founders and promising applications of technology. We need to know what to look for and how to avoid FOMO (fear of missing out).
Here’s a case in point.
Over a glass of bubbly, someone tried to convince me to invest in a blockchain project.
“There’s a great opportunity using blockchain technology in electricity.”
So, I asked how it works.
His reply? “I’m not sure, but it’s the same technology behind bitcoin, and a lot of people have made money out of bitcoin. Also, Branson, Gates and Bezos have invested $1billion in it.”
Brilliant! Yes, please take a lot of our money to invest in something you have zero clue about.
A significant injection of discernment, diligence and better decision-making are long overdue.
Pitches are great, but it’s how people answer questions that matter. It is probably a good idea to not put your money where the promoter can’t explain it and uses other people’s names to justify you joining the bandwagon.
Pitches are great, but it’s how people answer questions that matter.
Is it true? The pandemic of fake news shows how people love to share information without fact-checking. So, have Branson, Gates and Bezos invested $1billion in blockchain for energy? No – they are part of a $1 billion fund (Breakthrough Energy Ventures) investing in clean energy technologies, not specifically blockchain technology in energy.
There are many potential winners out there – but there are also a significant number of potential losers. The furore of hype is often hard to resist and, like any virus, a vaccine is needed. A useful resource is a checklist highlighting the elements that matter to you. Taking a leaf out of one of the greatest investors of all time – Warren Buffet – one of the principles should be ‘do I understand it’. If you don’t, seek out more information. If it still makes no sense, it might be worth staying away.
Please keep your wits about you while others are losing theirs, and let’s make sure we’re funding innovators worth backing.
We often hear ‘it’s a great company, they’ve raised $x’. This is the wrong metric, and recent disasters (e.g. WeWork, Uber and Theranos) have confirmed this. Thought it was time to peel back the layers on what we should be looking at. Here’s the article featured in Entrepreneur Middle East. read more