A Wall Streeter-turned-VC uses a strategy from his investing career to make the personal decisions that stress him … – SFGate

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Courtesy of Patrick McGinnis

  • Entrepreneur and investor Patrick McGinnis discussed how “Fear Of Better Options” can lead to being overly hesitant in taking decisions in an interview with The New York Times’ Tim Herrera.
  • For big life decisions, McGinnis applies the kind of approaches he does when evaluating a potential investment as a VC.
  • He writes everything he can think of down, then reads it out loud, “like writing an investment memo for a V.C. investment.”

Making big decisions can be scary, but one Wall Streeter-turned-VC has a good strategy to overcome paralysis based on his experiences as an investor.

Patrick McGinnis is an entrepreneur, investor, and the author of the book, “The 10% Entrepreneur: Living Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job,” in which he describes strategies for balancing starting a new venture on your own while also keeping the security of a steady career.

McGinnis was recently interviewed by The New York Times’ Tim Herrera on the concept of “Fear Of Better Options,” or “FOBO,” which McGinnis coined to describe a type of mental paralysis that can happen when making a decision.

The basic idea of FOBO, according to Herrera, is that one might be overly hesitant to take a pretty good course of action if it means foregoing some other hypothetical better course of action. The problem, of course, is that holding out for that better hypothetical could mean losing the good opportunity at hand.

McGinnis shared a couple of strategies he uses to overcome FOBO with Herrera. For making important life decisions, McGinnis said he relied on the kind of analysis he takes when evaluating a potential investment as a venture capitalist:

For the big things, I try to think like a venture capitalist. I write everything down on the topic — pros, cons, etc. — and I read it out loud. That process is basically like writing an investment memo for a V.C. investment, but in this case the investment is of your time, money, energy, etc.”

McGinnis also described a quicker and simpler process for more day-to-day, less momentous decisions, which he called “asking the watch.” He told Herrera:

“I whittle something down to two options and then assign each item to a side of my watch. Then I look down and see where the second hand is at that moment. Decision made. It sounds silly, but if you try it — asking the universe — you will thank me.”

Read the full interview at The New York Times »

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