In defence Of Charlie O’Donnell: Smart Entrepreneurs Know Not To Flame The Guys Who Control The Money

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Don’t let ’em get you down, Charlie.

Disclaimer:  I do not know Charlie O’Donnell personally, nor does he even know who I am. The only thing behind this post is respect and support for the entrepreneurial ethos. Apologies upfront for stern tone and a possible slip of the tongue, I assume we are all adults here.Today I read Charlie O’Donnell’s post where he speaks candidly about what has emerged in the last few days after a Business Insider video where he shares his latest thoughts as a VC. No need to rehash too much details, you can read his post here and the original video is here.

But here are some examples of comments after the video:

“Am I the only one tired of hearing from/abt Charlie? All hat and no cattle as they say. He was a product guy for a start-up and his big claim to fame was organising a bunch of local high-tech events. Really never managed anything of significant or built anything major.”

“Charlie is a nice guy, but his company failed…”

“what has this guy done? Any success as an entrepreneur? How about as a VC? Just tired of people with no track record getting respect.”

“He hasn’t founded or built either a successful, let alone innovative company, and he hasn’t raised $ to invest in those entrepreneurs. This guy has done nothing.”

My reaction: “Aww nawww, they didn’t just do that! You have got to be kidding me.” I couldn’t stop thinking about it since I read it and dammit, here is what I have to say. 

That is such a crock of shit, and an embarrassment to our industry.

Eff you, to any of you who decide to sit behind your screen and write stupid shit, criticising someone who, for the most part is 1) courageously stepping on a limb to share his ideas, 2) a lot smarter than you, 3) a lot better at hustling than you, 4) knows how to spot opportunities better than you, so 5) will probably end his journey accomplishing a lot more than you.

Your intentions are not hidden on me – you are jealous. Why do I know? Because why else would you have written anything in the first place? We all have too much to do in our days to leave these types of comments, only people who are hurt, wishing they were the one sitting there being interviewed would take the time to write stuff like this.

This shit pisses me off, and it’s not like I am pissed and reacting because you shot my brother, father or friend. I don’t even know Charlie. I’m pissed because it’s people like you who just can’t see through your own foggy glasses and appreciate where someone is actually great and how they could possibly even help you.

What you don’t understand is by acting in this way, you diminish the odds of guys like Charlie stepping out again and speaking up for our benefit. That is why I think anyone who chooses to leave stupid arse comments are plain effin idiots.

I am reminded of a scene in the movie Scent of A Woman.  (Watch the whole clip, it adds great drama to this nice piece.) I believe it was Lieutenant Colonel Frank speaking about another Charlie:

…BUT HE’S NOT A SNITCH!  He’s the only class in this act!

As far as I can tell, Charlie O’Donnell is a stand up guy, intelligent and an emerging VC.  Any of you who wrote slanderous words should take a hard look in the mirror, because all I see are cowards.  I want to see you step out of your comfort zone, sit in front of a camera and do something besides bitch.

If Colonel Frank were sitting here today, he would say “YOU ARE KILLING THE VERY SPIRIT WE AS AN INDUSTRY ARE TRYING TO INSTILL.

My biggest issue is regarding the fact Charlie had to write his “response” post in the first place.  Does he need to justify his position?  Does he really need to back up his professional actions with statements like “I realise how difficult it is to be an early stage VC in NYC” and “someone building a career in venture capital that doesn’t include prior entrepreneurial success probably doesn’t look like they have much to offer in the beginning.  I’m sure each of those guys [Fred Wilson, et al…] got questioned by entrepreneurs as to why they should accept advice from them as opposed to the entrepreneurial veterans of the days who worked in VC. “

No, he doesn’t need to justify himself as a young investor. Just as we don’t have to justify being 30-years-old and still haven’t yet founded the next Facebook.

Charlie really can’t say it, because he chose to take the high road, so I will: The fact is Charlie very well could be the Fred Wilson, Mike Moritz or Ron Conway of OUR generation. He is just very early in his career and doesn’t have the “wins” under his belt just yet. But I am sure someday he will.

And so will a bunch of us, we just need the necessary time to reach our accomplishments.

Although I don’t know Charlie, this is still a bit personal.  I am also one who could be susceptible to this treatment.  I am new(er) to the industry and as an entrepreneur I don’t have a huge win under my belt just yet either.  Yet, here I am… sticking my neck out and adding value to the ecosystem.  I believe this is part of the game – establishing your position and adding value one way or another.   Do it or you will sink into oblivion (the very place where these types of comment originate).  It has become apparent to me lately there are a lot less courageous “entrepreneurs” out there than I originally thought.

I am sure the comments section will flame up with “who does Nick think he is?”  Who is this guy?”  just as they did with Charlie. That’s fine, I know who I am. And I am sure Charlie has told himself the same thing.  It just might take a few years for y’all haters to understand how much guys like Charlie impact your business life.

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.