RESPONSES TO SOME INTERESTING QUESTIONS I HAVE RECEIVED FROM THE COMMUNITY.
How was the change from large cap finance world into the SME world?
We run our business with the ethos of a high quality Private Equity/Private Investor Firm- so while we are smaller in size and footprint - we bring the analytical rigor and accuracy we learned from our days in high finance to leverage in our business. It helped that I had run an advisory business before hand as that allowed us to modify and clone a lot of the analytical and investor facing processes we used there and apply them to the Search approach.
To what extent you feel accomplished on the new job, with the pros being becoming an entrepreneur (more freedom) and cons being with less sophisticated people?
Psychological comfort and satisfaction is very important from a personal standpoint but you need to marry that with quantitative financial goals. Given that I had already built another business since leaving my last Professional Investor role at Guggenheim partners - this is less of an issue with my Obsidian role but it can be a great tailwind for individuals who may have felt stifled or held back in corporate roles. Sophistication; like beauty is in the eye of the beholder and should be approached with an appropriate mix of humility, confidence and emotional intelligence.
How do you like the manager role?
I have a very specifically carved out role that plays to my strengths and experience in investment analysis, transaction structuring and investor relationships - I leave operational management to my partner who is our operating company CEO. It is very hard for one person to do all the things that make a company / business successful well at a high level. Delegation and Partnership - when properly structured with quantifiable goals should be a part of any Manager or Sponsor's toolkit.
How hard is it to transition to a manager role?
Very hard - especially if you do not have prior experience or the seasoning from your previous life. It is important to assess properly whether you have this skill-set or not and to take ego out of the equation. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your portfolio company / vehicle is hire an external manager while you take a more high level role.