You Never Know When You've Had a Bad Day

Many years ago, when I had just started working at USV, I remember there was kind of a complicated situation that unfolded in a seemingly bad way, and I'll never forget what Brad said in response. He said:

you never know when you've had a bad day

I didn't really understand what that meant, so he told me a story that went something like: back around the year 2000 at the height of the dot-com boom, there was a guy who was a senior exec at a successful startup. That person had a falling out with leadership and was called into the office and asked to leave. He was surprised and upset, but there wasn't much he could do; they had decided. As part of the exit package, the company also agreed to buy out his vested shares, I believe at some discount to the current price at that time. It felt like cold comfort but of course he went along with it. But mostly he was out of a job and upset that it didn't work out.

Then fast forward a few months, the bubble popped and the stock tanked. I'm not sure what happened to the company, but I think the idea is that it essentially went to zero.

So in hindsight, that "bad day" turned out to be an amazing day.

I think about that story a lot, especially when markets are volatile, as they are starting to be again now.

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