In the world of venture capital and entrepreneurs seeking investment, yes means maybe and maybe means no. That’s been said before. Here’s a new angle on that, freshly put:

“Over the years, I have heard many VCs say that ‘the market is not large enough’ in the first or second meeting. New entrepreneurs should know that this means ‘no.’

That quote is from somebody signing as “Mr. Smith” at It’s in the advice section.

I’ve posted on before, and it’s an interesting story, its organizer trying to remain anonymous until Wired wrote about him. The Wired story is a good read. More important, is an excellent resource, a database of comments on high-end venture capital firms. You need to join to get the full data, but that’s OK, it’s free; so take my advice: join.

Here’s more from that post about markets not being good enough:

Pocket edition of ‘Theoretical Future Market Values through 2020–3rd Edition’ does not exist, nor is there a team of analysts at a VC firm inventing new markets to value. From the way that some VCs can confidently look you in the eye and say that ‘the market is too small’ after fingering your PowerPoint, you would think that they have flipped to page 128 of the market reference guide while pecking away on the Blackberry.

The reality is (a) you have likely done a bad job explaining the market size in your pitch and (b) there is not a lot of anecdotal data for the VC to make an off-the-cuff mental estimate. When you pitch your business, you must reference concrete market data points, the best examples of which are recent liquidity events, that a VC can understand quickly.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.