"Dancing with Who Brung Ya"

My grandparents used this often:

“You gotta dance with who brung ya.”

It means:

If someone went to the trouble to invite you to the dance, you need to dance with them when you get there.

If someone believes in you, you have a duty to be a good recipient of their generosity.

I thought of it when with a founder of a startup. She received a fair term sheet for a seed round. The terms were better for the new investor than her previous investors (angels who’d signed an uncapped note with no discount) the previous year.

What to do?

I encouraged her to remember who her early believers were. These angels believed in her before anyone else. Plus, don’t forget angel investing is very hard. Some empathy for those first believers is justified.

While it decreased her ownership share a bit, the goodwill she’d generate by changing the angels’ deal terms to match the new round would pay her back tenfold someday. The universe has a way of rewarding those who make deposits into the Karma Bank.

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