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I AM CULTURALLY IMPAIRED. DEFICIENT BECAUSE OF WHERE I LIVE, where I engage in business and practiced law. I know this for a fact. It was told to me in no uncertain terms by someone who should know.
I learned this important fact in 1987, while trying to find a publisher for my first book. I had a stack of rejection letters. It really does not hurt to receive one. Twenty five, maybe, but not one.
But one publisher, one of the biggest business book publishers on the planet, did not send the letter saying no thank you. Instead, they reviewed the book and thought. Month after month they thought. Never accepting. Never rejecting.
Over time, a relationship developed with the editor assigned to take my regular status calls. She was patient. She was kind. And, eventually, she delivered the news. After more than a year of serious consideration they would not take the book. She could not tell me why. Company policy.
But she faltered. Took pity and told me. They liked the subject and the content a lot. It was fresh. It was unique. But it was about venture capital and they just could not take the risk because "no one will believe that anyone from the South knows anything about venture capital."
There you have it. My fatal flaw. I live in the South. Time to give up. (There are no businesses in the South, no investors and I could not possibly have traveled to Boston, Silicon Valley, Texas or Europe to close venture fundings for client companies.)
But wait. Novel ideas like new companies are not easy to launch. They can be painful to get off the ground. And there are other publishers and magazines and . . . .
Then, four days later (I kid you not) it happened. The editor-in-chief of a leading magazine for entrepreneurial companies called. He had seen the manuscript. He wanted it and would find a publisher. Just one condition he said. The magazine name had to be in the title. I said give me a day to find a publisher and he laughed.
I timed it. When I called, the No One Will Believe publishing company took less than 5 minutes to accept the book and agree to publish it. It's first printing sold out quickly, making the author, the magazine and the publisher happy. And that is how The Venture Magazine Complete Guide to Venture Capital, just the second book ever published in a category now filled with titles, came to be.
So, what did I learn? Maybe I inherited a little persistence from my dad. I like to think so. He grew businesses. And it was not work for sissies. He always said, half jokingly, that he would rather be lucky than smart. But maybe Gary Player had it right when he said "the harder I work the luckier I get."
And, what have I learned since? Something that thousands of successful southern businesses have proven over the last 30 years. Southern entrepreneurs create great and sustainable businesses, venture backed or not.
The venture moola blog comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Find it at readjanus.com. Copyright Clinton Richardson.
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