May 3Liked by Aaron Dinin

OK, gotta push back. No's are Free is more evidence to me, Aaron, that lofty VC and PE are disconnected from the businesses they invest in and think, because they bring money, they can manage. At the operations and marketing levels, where staff are expected to pick up the loads of peers of the many VC and PE that reflexively lay off to squeeze the cost line, "no" would be a kiss of death. No, I won't work 60 hour weeks (especially on hairbrained ideas); no, I can't maintain product quality given the reduction in knowledgeable/expert staff ; no, we can't possibly meet the additional deliverables you have in your lofty investor plan; no, I can't handle current customer needs if this new LOB is introduced; no, it is not a good idea to off-shore this area of the domestic business. No's are demonstrably not free. If you want to keep your job, what VE and PC want is "yes", for just as long as it takes to sell the business.

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Totally fair, and a great clarification.

I believe the use case from the VC I overheard was "No's are free" in the sense that it doesn't hurt to ask/explore/consider.

To take on of your examples, someone might ask: "What would happen if we off-shored this area of the domestic business to save money and increase profits?" The answer might very-well be "no," but it didn't hurt to ask and/or explore the possibility. In many cases, you'll probably run into a "no," but it's also how you find the occasional and unexpected "yes" that becomes hugely valuable.

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