Dec 12

Title: An unaffordable omelette, one empty pocket and hustle

Title: An unaffordable omelette, one empty pocket and hustle

It was the mid-1990s. Before 6 Degrees of Wayne Kimmel, he was a man, in a hotel lobby, hoping to catch a break. The business elite in town were all around him eating $18 omelettes. Kimmel couldn’t afford one. He had one empty pocket and another full of his own business cards. His goal was to empty one pocket and fill the other with cards he collected. Maybe someone would even invite him to enjoy a meal.

It’s all about the hustle.  Deal flow is all about hustle.

“It’s part of my overall philosophy. It’s all about networking, going out, making contacts and developing relationships. Being in the business world. If I need to raise capital I have to go to places where people who have capital are,” he said. In those days, it was crashing breakfast at high-end hotels.

“I would get as many contacts as possible and turn those contacts to relationships.  I would introduce myself to almost every person that walked into this restaurant. I had to then take those contacts and get an opportunity,” he said.

And the opportunities came.

He raised $20 million in his first venture capital fund at age 29. He has sold businesses to a list Fortune 50 companies. He helped to get Microsoft to put its second reactor in the world in Philadelphia – the first time a major tech company from outside the city put down roots here.

Some of those early connections hinged on finding something – anything – in common. It could be a sports team, similar charity interests, a town visited, something both people care about.

“Then it’s sitting down and figuring out ways you can help each other. That’s the question – how can I help you and how can you help me and how can we make this a mutually beneficial connection? It’s not a one-way street.”

“You gotta be nice to everybody, you never know where your big break will be coming from or where you can help someone else.”

Now when he casts a net to find people to work with, he has a more refined idea of the qualities he likes to see in business partners:

– Smart entrepeneurs trying to change the world.

– Nice, the kind of people I want to have a conversation with.

– If the idea is big enough to be game changing, world changing, I’m in.

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