Tuesday, July 08, 2003

The Value of a Venture Capitalist Time

Warren Buffet is offering to have lunch with the highest bidder on eBay, with the proceeds going to the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco non profit serving the poor, hungry and homeless. (And, of course, Glide has its own Web site.) According to the New York Times, Buffet has done this twice before, and the lunches sold for $25,000 and $32,000, respectively. (As of this writing, the bidding on the next lunch stands at $20,600.)

I admire Buffet for this. He could easily write a check for much more than those amounts -- and he probably does -- but investing time is more meaningful. I once met with a venture capitalist who spent the first 10 minutes of our meeting telling me how valuable his time was. "My most valuable asset blah, blah, blah." What an arrogant bore!

When we value our own time too dearly, we are reluctant to give it away, even to family and friends. When I recognized this inclination in myself, many years ago, I stopped wearing a watch and threw away my day planner. That was a liberating experience. Although I have since acquired a PDA, I have learned to manage my time in a way that removes the "guilt" associated with spending time on people.