Venture Capital is an industry defined by long feedback cycles and avalanches of uncertainty at every turn, yet the prevailing narrative and style of most new venture capital investors are to stay up to date daily with newsletters, funding rounds, deal sizes and the opinions of everyone but their own.
Perhaps daily updates provide some sense of security and utility not found in the structure most analysts and associates struggle to create in their role. I was guilty of this as well for a time. I spent many mornings digesting deals that had been completed, trying to get a retrospective on the future. Looking back, I equate it to traveling east until eventually, I end up west when I could have just traveled west all along.
Beyond the search for usefulness, the oversaturated social media environment can take a toll on someone’s mental health. From the demand to update one’s LinkedIn so that others can celebrate your success and pretend like failures do not exist, tweeting every thought that comes to mind to build a “personal” brand that oftentimes is much more “impersonal,” to the Clubhouse rooms that feign exclusivity while espousing nothing that could not be found in an Axios update from the day before, it’s a wonder that anyone gets any work done.
Or perhaps I am missing the point. Maybe the new age debutante/beautillion is to signal to no end. What is VC if not an elaborate marketing scheme? Distribution is everything.
Is it possible to be a VC without social media (especially if you are new to the industry)? I debate each day whether I want to keep my Twitter, Linkedin and Clubhouse accounts.
Not everyone has to make a visually appealing market map, do deep analysis, bring incredible new insights, write articles, host a podcast, write a newsletter, host a conference and build community on Clubhouse simultaneously. Find what works for you.
I don’t yet have my answer, but through many years of intentional reflection, I know that my strength is 1:1, not 1 to too many. As I seek to build out my “impersonal brand,” I aim to stay close to what I know and enjoy. The process is more important than the result.
Protect your mental health and choose to be happy.
A native of the Bronx, N.Y., Kai Cash ’19 attended Tsinghua University after Williams as a Schwarzman Scholar. While his time in China was curtailed by the pandemic, he completed his Master’s program in Global Affairs remotely and went on to Microsoft’s financial rotational program. Shortly afterwards he transitioned roles and currently serves as an analyst at Primary Venture Partners in New York City. Kai is also leading the Partnerships and Development team at Right to Start, a campaign to rebuild the American economy by unleashing entrepreneurial opportunity for everyone, regardless of race, place, gender, background, heredity or circumstance. Kai is committed to advancing diversity in thought, people, technology and design. He tries to dabble in something new and uncomfortable every month. This article originally appeared in Medium, where he publishes regularly. He can be reached on LinkedIn or Twitter.