Timing in Life is Key.
When I was formally promoted to run the UTIMCO private markets group in 2007, it was clear to me that I had a big job for someone in their early 30’s. I was recently engaged, remodeling a house, and had my hands full running a large private portfolio. Life was very full and the opportunity in front of me was good. I needed to put my head down and work. And work we did.
My thinking then was that I had no reason to look around for another path until I was at least 40. It would give me enough time in the first chair to gain the experience I wanted, and I could continue learning as a senior investment officer for the broader endowment (there were 3 of us then). My plan was to get my arms around the portfolio, show some real returns, and then pop my head up at 40 to check in on my path.
When I turned 39, I knew it was time to recommit or look elsewhere. I felt good about the situation at the office and at home:
- It was clear that I had developed a good team and they could stand on their own. I could leave the endowments in capable hands.
- Melissa (my wife) and I were in a good spot, with two beautiful girls ready to start primary school, and we had saved enough money to stomach the risk.
- It was clearly the right time in life. One of my friends, Fred Wilson, noted that I was the perfect age to start my own thing. With enough experience behind me to be meaningful, but an entire second half of my career in front of me. I also started reviewing the biographies of GP founders carefully, noting that many of them had started their own firms at the same age. And I was seeing my cohort of friends begin to strike out on their own paths.
It was Time.