Many surreal things have happened to me as I hang with entrepreneurs (including the time a runaway golf cart ran me over, but I digress). A recent incident, however, just joined the pantheon.
Four of us (two investors, and two entrepreneurs) were standing outside the Computer Science department of a well-known university, when I smelled smoke. I said, “Anyone else smell smoke?”. One of the company’s founders replied, “Yes, smells like wood smoke”, to which I responded with a typically wise-ass remark about the source being all the Big Thinking going on in the offices overhead.
A few minutes later, however, a fire sprung up under a nearby tree. Dead grass and ground cover that must have been smokily smoldering had ignited, complete with two-foot flames. It was surprisingly big, and it was growing.
Demonstrating, once again, that entrepreneurs are better than VCs at snap decisions, I was still suggesting spectacular but impractical solutions — “Uhhh, anyone need to pee?” — when one of the entrepreneurs rushed over and stamped out the fire. Whew!
In case anyone’s wondering, no-one heard voices from the burning bush, not Jehovah, and not Larry or Sergey for that matter.