The early-stage venture capitalist’s hunt for a ‘win pattern.’

We throw new experiences against a canvas of history to decide whether something is strong or weak, good or bad.

In venture capital, we do this all the time. Like junkies, we look for that moment of epiphany. We hunt for it in conversations, conferences, pitch nights and random posts that stream through our socials and newsfeeds.

We are looking for the ‘win pattern’.

It will send our gut a message saying we should do this. A string of signals together amounting to a moment of clarity.

Confidence.

Most of the time, it doesn’t appear. But when it does…

It’s like magic

In an earlier life, I was a theatre director. We’d take performances on tour.

On some nights, the magic happens. Everything comes together in just the right way. From the first moment, the actors are in the same flow. They were riffing on the same creation and finding something that was joined and bigger than all of them. We in the audience are transformed to another place because the actors have collectively cast a spell in which every utterance and gesture, every shaft of light and placement of an object comes together into an epiphany.

And other nights, it is crap — the same actors performing the same play.

Humans are like that. Somehow the combination of signals and the person reading them on the other side don’t come together to make the magic.

Venture conviction is that fleeting.

But it is all we have in the early stages.

And just because it is fleeting, and just because this is subjective, it doesn’t mean it is low fidelity.

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Phil Morle

Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.