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Why?

I met with an entrepreneur recently who wanted to get my feedback on his business plan.  I meet a few new entrepreneurs every week, so this wasn't unusual for me.  We didn't know each other well beforehand, so we spent a few minutes getting to know each other.

He asked me Why?  Why do I take time voluntarily to hear about plans from entrepreneurs.  I don't have a fund to invest, and I can only do so many advisory boards.  I am not looking to charge entrepreneurs for my advice, but I do end up taking some formal advisory board positions which include modest stock option grants.  I don't really need a job in order to live the lifestyle I want.  Why don't I spend my time playing tennis or hanging around with my kids?

My answer was that I want to stay involved in the high-tech community.  I might become a VC again.  I might go back to being an entrepreneur or start-up executive.  No matter what I do, I need to stay fresh in this market.  The technology space is moving so fast that if you don't stay current, you quickly become a dinosaur.

I learn something from every meeting I have, even if I don't end up being that interested in the company or don't continue working with them.  So, I want to keep meeting with interesting people who have interesting ideas.  I get 'freshness' out of these meetings, so I think that that's a fair bargain for my advice (hopefully good advice).

By the way, here are the lyrics to a song by the old musical comedian, Allan Sherman.  This song, Good Advice, gives the appropriate caution to someone who listens to free advice.  I wish I could have found an MP3 of this to link to.

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