I'm here in Monrovia, California, working with the folks at MusicIP, a JLA portfolio company.
Today, I had lunch with a business friend at a nice place called Caffe Opera. We were deep into it, the food was great, and "server number 13" was friendly, helpful, nice.
We wrapped and I wanted to get out quick as I was running late. The check comes and out comes the American Express Card.
Now, as anyone out there will tell you VCs actually suck at math. It's why we hire all those associates that model you into the twilight zone. Being the competitive guy I am, naturally, I want to suck at math the most.
Check comes back, I quickly rattle off something resembling math, scrawl a signature on it and we are gone. Later tonight, while inputting my expenses and time sheet for the day, I look at the receipt and realize I had hosed "server number 13." It wasn't a major disaster but it wasn't nice. So, I hop into the car and head over to leave some extra money with my apology for being such a tool.
Upon getting there, I ask to speak to the manager. What's funny is that everybody standing around me, starts looking worried. One guy whispers to his wife (wedding rings) "Bet he got overcharged." Another guy leans over to his friend and mutters, "excellent, let's watch the fight." All -n- about 6 people milling about.
Manager walks up and I simply say I was in for lunch, here is the receipt, could you please give server number 13 this extra money because I was in a rush at lunch today and I screwed up the math on the tip. Please give her this money with my apology. After the stunned look, a smile and I certainly will, I was out of there.
On the way out the door, the wife says, that was very nice but the other guys look at each other with one guy saying, whatta tool, I'd have kept the money.
Back in the day, I worked as a slave at a Sambo's restaurant and know first hand the crappy treatment wait staff put up with to eek out a rather small living. So to me, it was totally normal to correct my error because I know how it feels.
My point of this blog post is not me nor the few bucks moving around.
The larger point is about you as a start up leader. Do you remember the butt head bosses, the uncaring teachers, the yutz co-worker? Hopefully, you do know how it feels and you can create a leadership style based on a bit more then the golden rule. Because this start up/investing business is mostly about people, give thought to the things in business and actions that you think are just normal for you.
You never know, it just might be the thing that put an investor over the edge with "I love this women, we have to back her."
Now back to our regularly scheduled VC blog.