Lessons from the trenches: part 1

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to post some key lessons that I learned from my time as a scrub college offensive lineman at Penn.  General theme will be how these lessons have shaped the way I look at my professional life.

Quick refresher, o-linemen are the fat guys who stand in front of the QB with their hands in the dirt.  Their job is twofold: a) protect the QB by staying in front of defensive players or b) move those defensive players backwards/sideways to make room for RBs to run.

Lesson 1: Let the stars be the stars

You need to be pretty humble to be an o-lineman.  Seems a bit weird to write a blog post about being humble doesn’t it?  Bear with me.  As I mentioned above, o-linemen are the fat guys who either protect the QB so they can throw TDs or pave the way for the RB so they can rush for TDs.  Said differently, we make it possible for them to do their jobs and get famous.  

We want to see our teammates do well and win some games.  When they do well, they get interviewed and get their names in the paper.  When we do well, nobody notices.  We never get interviewed, and we’re fine with that.  Actually, the only time anyone really notices the o-linemen is when they mess up (e.g. Brady gets crushed by a sack or AP gets tackled for a loss).  

When I think about venture investing, I view the VCs like linemen, helping entrepreneurs stay out of trouble and make progress.  Like o-linemen, VCs never touch the ball, but instead do the best they can to help the team succeed.  As an investor, I will never be the star, and I’m cool with that.  

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