Often in the Venture Capital ["VC"] world one hears: "oh, that one is going to be a home run." Now, obviously, baseball terminology is not the easiest for a global audience...but in baseball home run does have a pretty exact definition. How does that translate to VC business, and indirectly to start-up life?
Not so well. You see, in actual baseball a home run is a home run is a home run. Yes, if there are people on base better, and if bases loaded then its a "Grand Slam" home run. So there are some levels of home runs...but the base line is not debatable, not subjective. It is what it is. See here for "official" Wikipedia definition.
Not so for start-up life. Its all subjective. A $200 million fund thinks differently than a $20 million fund. A first time entrepreneur thinks differently than one with some exits and a few million dollars in the bank. Yes, at times even a first time entrepreneur will "swing for the fences." There were rumors that Marc Zuckerburg had taken money off the table, and while those rumors may turn out to be unfounded, it is interesting to think about. We do know for sure that Marc turned down a $900 million buy-out offer from Yahoo!, and that Microsoft invested at a $15 billion valuation. Not many entrepreneurs would turn down Yahoo!, or would not take money off the table at $15 billion valuation.
But back to defining home run. For me, in my current role as seed investor with a total fund size less than $20 million, deploying $500K and getting back a few million dollars is worthy of "home run" definition. Grand slam would mean one deal paying back the entire fund (i.e. ~$20 million). But someone running $200 million defines home run and grand slam very differently.
Lesson for today: when starting a venture, or bringing on partners, make sure that people are aligned in how success will be defined, and when a "home run" can be declared. It does NOT mean the same thing to all people....