How Fred Wilson Won Jerry Colonna As A Partner By Canceling A Meeting With Him [clip]
I’m always curious about how people decided to work together. Here’s a clip from my old interview with Jerry Colonna where he explained how he and Fred Wilson knew they should partner up at Flatiron Partners. The transcript for this clip is below. You should watch the full interview here.
Andrew: Why Fred Wilson? We talked about why you decided to back certain entrepreneurs. Why did you decide to go in business with Fred Wilson? This if Fred Wilson before he became THE Fred Wilson, famous investor, today.
Interviewee: Before he became Fred Wilson [laughs]
Interviewee: Well, first off, I’ll tell you what I’ve heard Fred say, “Why Jerry Colonna?” When Fred and I first met, it was through a guy named Mark Pincus, who’s now doing Zynga. Mark and his partner, Sunil Paul, had launched a business called, “FreeLoader.” And I was looking at it…I had known Sunil from his days at AOL, and I was looking at it on behalf of Adventures, and Fred was looking at it on behalf of Euclid, his former fund.
And when Fred and I started looking at this deal together, and Adventures ended up not doing a deal for a complicated reason, but when we first met, I was sitting in an office in New York that I had taken as a part of Lycos. Lycos had an office New York, and I just took an office there, because I was living in New York, and the venture firm was based up in Boston.
And he tells the story that he walked into my office, and I was sitting there in a ripped Yankees T-shirt and a Yankees baseball cap with ripped jeans on, and he said, “OK, this is an Internet guy!” [laughs] Little did he know that I was just a bum.
Interviewee: Anyway, we went through a bunch of machinations. We started to get a little bit closer, and then one day, I was on my way to a flight, and Mark Pincus paged me. This was back in the day when I had pagers and not cell phones, OK? That’s how old I am.
Pincus is a great guy, but he’s a little hyper, and even though I wasn’t an investor, he used to call me all the time for advice. So, I looked at the phone. I said, “Oh, shit. What’s he calling about?” And then I walked over to a pay phone. I said, “All right, let me call him back.”
I call him back, and he says, “I’m so glad I got you! Fred’s going to leave Euclid, and you should be his partner.” I said, “OK, well, that’s kind of interesting.”
So, I made plans to go to lunch with Fred. And then the day before, the morning of, Fred cancelled on me. And it was the reason that he cancelled that made me realize that he was the partner for me.
He cancelled because he had forgotten it was his daughter’s graduation from kindergarten. His daughter, by the way, is now at Wesleyan. And what moved me was, this is a guy whose values are in the same place as me. He was going to cancel a business lunch with a potential partner so that he could go to his daughter’s kindergarten graduation, and that’s the moment when I knew he was my partner.
You should grab the full program here.