My friend and old business partner, Jeff Hilimire, recently sent me an article about Pave, the crowdfunding platform for investing in people. Pave’s approach differs from crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter that focus on the idea or product where you fund the startup and get ownership of the product or similar. Alternatively, Pave allows you to invest in an individual and you get a share of their salary in the future (regardless of the company they work at or start-up they are involved with).
Pave’s approach of investing in the individual certainly resonates with me. Every start-up I’ve invested in has been mainly because of the people (founders, key employees, etc.) as opposed to the idea/product. Don’t get me wrong, the idea/product matters, but not as much as the people leading the effort that are on the ground day and night. You can have a great idea, but it still takes a special type of person to make a start-up successful. So my rule over the years has been to first make sure I like and believe in the people involved before I look at the idea/product in depth.
As I perused Pave to possibly find individuals to invest in, I came across an issue that’s put me off doing anything with Pave or similar crowdfunding platforms. Although some of the folks where inspirational, everyone seemed so packaged up and put together. I almost felt like I was shopping at Tiffany’s for expensive, perfectly boxed up jewelry. A lot of the individuals looked great, knew what to say, how to act, and were all shining stars in their own right, but I came to the conclusion that these folks would do great in life regardless of my money or involvement. They’ve generated enough interest on sites like Pave and have already learned how to market themselves. I discovered I am more interested in the diamond in the rough; someone who has all the potential but hasn’t been discovered (at least not in a shop I can browse in with the rest of the world). I have more fun, and find more value, meeting and discovering people the old fashion way, and generating my own value as a result of what I see in the individuals I come across through my life.
Raj, I also find that there are folks who can market themselves well, and then there are people with dynamic personalities who are much better remembered. I think what drives this difference is that a digital profile has static communication while, in meeting someone in person, you can have a more memorable and interactive experience.
Totally agree Anita. Interacting with someone for 5 minutes gives you a sense in ways a digital profile can never give you.