What would you do when no one else is looking?
"Someone, I won’t name names, spilled an entire cup of coffee in our elevator a month ago. I remember walking into the square box of steel and the rancid smell of cold coffee wafting up to my nose. I could see a black pool on the floor and thought “who in our building would do such a thing?” We have a small building, a coop. We are forced by proximity and mutual interest to be mostly cordial if not downright friendly to one another.
But, ugh, what a mess. I suspected I knew who the culprit was. I ticked off the floors in my mind. Could it be the new guy on seven, who was always immaculately dressed, and practically OCD in the arrangement of his furnishings? No, most certainly not. Could it be six, a brilliant cinematographer who has Cerebral Palsy? Well, maybe he spilled the coffee, but I couldn’t picture him just leaving it there. Could it have been five? A Wyoming Blue rancher and graphic designer? No, they wouldn’t walk away from a mess. What about 4? The architect and his brother are the only two people who know every working system in the building. When anything goes wrong, we go running to them. How about the folks on two? They are rarely in town. She’s an artist; he is a lawyer who runs her family’s wine business. It wouldn’t have been them.
I immediately texted the occupants of three. “Do you know who spilled an entire cup of coffee in the elevator?” I asked. Caught “red-handed,” the man who had run for public office in our small town owned up. “It was me. Sorry, I’ll clean it up.” I think about his action (or lack thereof) a lot. Was he just in a hurry? Lazy? Distracted? I had to settle upon distracted, because I like the man and want to think the best of people. But still, it just makes you wonder.
If he hadn’t run for office, maybe I would expect less of him. But in my heart of hearts, I want the Blue Hats to be the good guys, the responsible ones, the ones who care for the commons (and don’t let it become a tragedy). But it takes all kinds and maybe that’s why this coffee-slopper didn’t ultimately make the cut."
ABOUT LAUREL TOUBY
Laurel Touby is the founding partner at Supernode Ventures (formerly Flatiron Investors). Supernode Ventures is a MicroVC, focusing on a stage of investing: the Baby A. With 15,000+ network connections, she sources promising companies with $100k+ MRR at the cusp of hyper-growth. Most of her investments have been in enterprise, btob, SaaS, FinTech companies. Laurel and her team source deals, diligence the companies and run multiple community events to connect entrepreneurs and investors.
Prior to Supernode Ventures, Laurel founded mediabistro.com, a website that revolutionized the way people in the media industry do business, connect and communicate. During her time as CEO, she pulled the company through two recessions, managed growth with minimal resources and developed audience via guerrilla and social marketing (before that term existed). Users subscribe to mediabistro’s many services, which include online education, employment classifieds, conferences (offline), events (offline), forums, and industry-specific blogs, such as the popular TVNewser. Following the sale of the company for $23 mm to Jupitermedia, Laurel remained with the company through June, 2011.
Laurel then began investing as an angel in SaaS/BtoB early-stage startups, including: Appboy (14x MOIC), PeerIQ, Credijusto, Click Therapeutics, Teleport App and others. Laurel is an LP in Lowercase Ventures I (with holdings in Twitter, Uber, etc.), in Social Starts and in Pershing Square, among others. Laurel is active as a public speaker and hosted “Secrets of Successful Startups“ on CBS Interactive.
An inveterate connector, Laurel touches the entrepreneurial community in various ways, including via her monthly co-hosted Cereal Entrepreneurs breakfast, VC Potluck Deal Dinners and CMO Dinners events. She lives in a loft in Silicon Alley and is married to Inc. Magazine Director of Editorial Jon Fine.