Why “Thunder Lizards” are better than “Home Runs”

This is a quick post that has been sitting in my draft folder too long.

I watched Mike Maples‘ presentation about “Thunder Lizards” a little while back.  It was a good talk and hopefully I get to meet him in person soon. 

Here’s what stuck out to me: venture investors talk about investing in “home runs” all day long. We know that it’s a hit driven business, so we all talk about going for big wins.

But there is a subjective difference between a thunder lizard and a home run (or a 10x, or a “Billion dollar company”, or whatever”.  I forgot about it until I heard Mike’s talk.

The “800 LB Gorilla” is a good image too, but funny enough, it’s usually used to talk about the big incumbent in the space (ie: Google, Facebook, Adobe, etc). 

Thunder Lizards destroy the terrain that they pass through.  They eat everything in site, and only get more ferocious as they grow.

In business terms, I think of them as companies that destroy their competitors and completely re-orient their industries.  The destructive power of these companies also accelerate as they grow.  

Maybe there really isn’t that much of a practical difference between a home run company and a thunder lizard.  But I like the imagery much better.  It reminds me that entrepreneurs of Thunder Lizard companies need to have a healthy dose of violent aggression in the way they go after their opportunity. It also reminds me that usually when a Thunder Lizard is through, industries are usually in disarray and are never the same. 

Finally, home runs are fun, but if you want to kill an 800LB Gorilla, you better bring a Thunder Lizard, or something like it. 

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Rob Go

Thanks for checking out my blog!  Here’s a quick background on who I am: 1. My name is Rob, I live in Lexington, MA 2. I’m married and have two young daughters. My wife and I met in college at Duke University - Go Blue Devils! 3. We really love our church in Arlington, MA. It’s called Highrock and it’s a wonderful and vibrant community.  Email me if you want to visit! 4. I grew up in the Philippines (ages 0-9) and Hong Kong (ages 9-17). 5. I am a cofounder of NextView Ventures, a seed stage investment firm focused on internet enabled innovation. I try to spend as much time as possible working with entrepreneurs and investing in businesses that are trying to solve important problems for everyday people.   6. The best way to reach me is by email: rob at nextviewventures dot com

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