Look to the future

The future - This way friend!

Man have I been traveling a lot the last few months. Sure it’s tiring, but the energy from meeting awesome people around the world definitely makes up the difference.

I recently met two of the coolest Japanese guys ever, Masa and Taka, who invest in European startups for an enormous corporate called Recruit (1). We were in Copenhagen together last week eating dinner when Masa gave me an insightful quote:

Masa’s insight was the majority of conversations focus on things that have happened. When first meeting someone it’s ‘where are you from?’, ‘what do you do?,’  ‘where do you live?’ After a rapport is built the conversation turns to ‘what’s new?’, ‘how’s the significant other?’, ‘still hate your job?’

Rarely does the question ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ come up. These future looking conversations are surely the most insightful and way more fun than dwelling on the past. But for some reason they’re difficult to bring up, even with close friends.

Looking back at my conversations with entrepreneurs, even these are more about fact gathering than forward looking. ’Who’s on your team?’ ‘How big is your market?’ ‘What’s your traction?’ All valid questions, but for investments that won’t pay off for 7-9 years shouldn’t I be focusing more on an entrepreneur’s vision for the future?

So, with the remaining 5 weeks of 2015 I’ll strive to have 50% of my conversations about the future. If all goes well, hopefully this past/future ratio will become a norm. Want to join in on my little test? Let me know 🙂

(1) 28k people company, just IPOd to raise $1b – most will be for investments

About Andy Shannon

Hi, I'm Andy and this is my blog, hope you enjoy. Feel free to get in touch anytime via Twitter or Linkedin