I’m normally not one to get too worked up about the comments section in my articles. After all, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But what’s written here seems like a fairly significant mischaracterization of the post.

Note that the post isn’t me arguing or encouraging entrepreneurs to avoid being cashflow positive. It’s me recounting a story about a VC who said this.

The only advice I specifically give in the article is to encourage entrepreneurs to study and learn about VC, which, I hope you’ll agree, is reasonable advice.

Beyond that, I’ll also add that encouraging a startup to avoid being cash-flow positive isn’t the same as arguing that entrepreneurs should run unsustainable businesses. Venture-backed companies can (and often do!) run at a loss intentionally because they know they can afford to do so thanks to venture capital. However, running at a loss doesn’t mean the companies don’t have revenues. In fact, sometimes they have enormous revenues. However, the leadership has chosen to intentionally invest their revenues back into their businesses to grow as fast as possible.

If — as you allude to — some sort of “cycle of adversity” comes along, they can dramatically drop their burn in order to operate successfully on revenues while delaying growth. In fact, lots of startups I consult for have been doing this during the pandemic, and they’ll survive the adversity just fine.

So, again, I’d like to reiterate that this article doesn’t suggest companies should be run foolishly, nor would I ever encourage that. Heck, even the VC being described in the article isn’t suggesting that. It’s pointing out the fact that VCs — especially early stage VCs, which are explicitly mentioned in the title and during the article — don’t usually target cash flow positive companies because those are companies that don’t fit the VC model.

I teach entrepreneurship at Duke. Software Engineer. PhD in English. I write about the mistakes entrepreneurs make since I’ve made plenty. More @ aarondinin.com