There will be much discussion among the Atlanta Twitterati today regarding the announcement that Lance Weatherby has joined HalfOff Depot in conjunction with the company raising a large round of capital led by Noro-Moseley’s Alan Taetle. It’s always more fun to talk about what people are going to do vs. talking about what people have done - in the interest of making certain that the history of Lance’s efforts as a Venture Catalyst at ATDC isn’t lost in the fray, I thought I would quickly blog about him and his awesomeness.
Not sure who wrote the original job description for “Venture Catalyst” when ATDC invented the position years ago, but I gotta believe that Lance embodies what they intended to create - someone who combines the right levels of experience, skill, optimism, unselfishness, and humility required to advise early stage start-ups… someone who can walk into a room with a serial entrepreneur and get them thinking about things they’ve never thought about before and can turn around and talk to a 22 year old first time CEO and help educate them on how the start-up world works. That’s Lance, and that’s why he’s universally appreciated and revered.
When you’re sitting in an office at ATDC, life can sometimes be a bit more like a dorm room than an office building. People feel free to just waltz right through your door, unannounced, regardless of what you’re doing and what you might have had planned for that time slot in your day. I can honestly say that I never once regretted having Lance interrupt something we were doing. It was always an opportunity to have a real discussion with someone genuinely interested in helping us out. And no matter how many previous discussion topics we might have had with Lance, he remembered them all, had thought about them, and followed up on them with added insight.
When younger entrepreneurs ask me about the best way to gauge those folks in the start-up ecosystem to interface with respect to their ability and willingness to help, I always send them to Lance first. I figure they might as well start with the top of the heap and use that as a standard against which they can compare other potential advisors. That’s how much I respect him.
And one last thing (and sorry for the Faulkneresque stream of consciousness here, but I do need to get back to running BrightWhistle) - I know of no other person in the start-up community who has given of himself so unselfishly and has rarely ever gotten anything tangible back in return. I even know of a few folks who have taken advantage of Lance’s willingness to help and have never even attempted to pay him back in any form, tangible or otherwise. You know who you are and karma will not be kind to you <grin>.
So, that’s it for the lovefest. The BrightWhistle team is thrilled for our friend but we’re also kinda sad that we won’t get nearly as many of those welcome interruptions to our day. Best wishes to you, Lance - we will be rooting for you and for your team at HalfOff Depot!