I’m Don Wenzer. I’m a GP at Disruption Venture Partners in Denver, Colorado.
I’ve had the good fortune to invest in some spectacularly successful companies and work with some great entrepreneurs. And they’ve had the good fortune to benefit from my strategic insights, elite network, and upper body strength. I started this blog in order to share my experience in a more scalable way and help drive economic growth across America and the globe.
My goal is to offer an alternative to the conventional wisdom echo chamber. Sure, I love sites like TechCrunch, Pando Daily, and Business Insider. I also read VC blogs from my peers Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, and Chris Dixon – but you shouldn’t expect to find an edge by following the pack.
Do these platitudes sound familiar?
- “Invest in great teams”
- “Execution is more important than the idea”
- “Be passionate about your business”
- “Comply with the employment regulations of the state in which you operate”
You can keep nodding your head and “upvoting” things on Quora, or you can try to think for yourself. In this blog, I’ll try to offer a more nuanced and provocative view informed by my years of venture investing through multiple waves of technology and market swings. To be successful in this business you can’t just chase trends, you need to be able to “see around corners,” as I like to say.
Years ago, I was a Series A investor in a traffic signals company that sought to replace the textual “WALK / DON’T WALK” crossing lights with their own patented technology for the “Hand” / “Walking Guy” visual system. At the time, the textual signs seemed to have the market locked up and many other investors passed on the deal.
But I saw an opening where others didn’t, I pushed the team to make the hand red and the walking guy white, and within a few years, we had opened up a massive new market for crossing the street to millions of illiterate people who had been shuttered in their homes or limited to destinations on their own blocks and we built a billion dollar company in the process. THAT is seeing around corners.
Instead of looking for ideas at industry conferences and blogs, try some unconventional sources – like the verses of a Borges poem, the back of a Trix cereal box, or the lyrics of an Olivia Newton-John song.
Lord knows I’ve made mistakes professionally and personally. I’ve watched a company collapse because of a clerical error I made with a board document. I’ve spent some time wearing an ankle monitor. And I don’t think it’s a secret in the industry that my personal life does not make for great holiday cards – I have a complicated relationship with my wife, and then there are the 3 different men who might be my father.
But persevering through it all has taught me the lessons you don’t learn at business school. We are in the midst of massive global transformation, with billions of people around the world coming online and unleashing their freedom via incredible new technologies, like the ability to text self-deleting obscene photos to friends.
I invite you to join me on this journey and we’ll see if we can’t help make a dent in the universe as we figure out together where things are going next. And if you are curious why this blog is called “VC1212,” click here.