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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Malcolm Gladwell tells a story about symphony auditions. Until relatively recently, auditions required the player to walk out in front of the judges, sit down and perform. And while the pool of players was racially diverse and often included women, the winners were regularly white males.

Believing that the results were a consequence of visual stereotypes rather than capacity, many symphonies now use a screen behind which the performer will play unseen by the judges. And the results are remarkably weighted toward female players.

Malcolm’s conclusion is that less information (no more visual cues) can sometimes result in better decisions.

It got me wondering about investments. Right now, when considering an investment: we meet the client, tour the facilities, ask for references, do a credit check, dissect the business plan, pursue rigorous due diligence on the proposition, invite outside opinions, approve at three levels, and disburse on milestones to mitigate risk.

Would we be better with less? I’d be interested in what Brad Feld and Fred Wilson have to say.


Each investor I’ve met has their own approach and need for information as part of their decision process. The range is dramatic – I know people that can make a decision after 30 minutes; I also know people that require six months of detailed analysis and still can barely get a decision made.

Personally, I’m on the lighter end of the spectrum – I form opinions quickly based on immersing myself in a situation. I listen to my gut and my instincts, gather enough information, and then make a decision. I rarely second guess myself, but I’m willing to quickly admit that I’m wrong (when I am).

All that said, there is no question that more is not always better.

Immerse? How?

And there’s two ways to go lighter. More depth on less information. Or less depth on a wider range. Got any perspective on which is more your style?