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Pet Peeves, Part I

Maybe I am old and set in my ways, but there are some things people do that really bother me.  I guess everyone has some of these, and it certainly helps if you understand that a VC has particular pet peeves before you go pitch your company.

This pet peeve probably shows that I am not just getting old but am also old fashioned.  I hate when people are late and don't call to give me a heads up.  Running late isn't a problem.  We've all been late, and in today's fast paced world, it's hard not to run late once in a while.  But, today is also a very connected world.  Anyone in business has a cell phone.  If you are running late for a meeting with me, please call to let me know.  I won't be mad.  In fact, I'll be happy that you respect my time as much as I respect yours.

If you don't call and are more than 10 minutes late, I'll probably cancel our meeting.  If you don't call and are more than 20 minutes late, I probably will be very hesitant to meet with you again.  If you call to let me know, I'll give you as much flexibility as you need.

20 years ago when I was in sales, it was very tough when you were running late.  You had to find a pay phone and make a call to tell someone that you were late.  I did a lot of international sales, and I soon learned the vagaries of various international pay phone systems.  But, I was never late without calling ahead first.

Of course, over the years, you get a lot of creative excuses for someone being late.  Here's the all-time champ:  A few years ago, I was stewing in my office waiting for someone who was 20 minutes late for a meteing.  My assistant finally tracked them down, and they said that they were "on their way."  When my assistant said that I would cancel the meeting because they were too late, they said that they were so late and couldn't call because they had been in a building that had a forced evacuation due to an anthrax scare and their cell phone had been trapped inside the building until the evacuation was over!  I still cancelled the meeting, but get a laugh about that one every time.


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