Fining yourself for being late to meetings

One of my pet peeves is when entrepreneurs arrive late to a meeting. Although as investors we’re less pressed for time than the startup founders we meet and may back, we also have busy schedules. I therefore expect entrepreneurs to arrive at meetings on time, even in a city like Istanbul which is notorious for its traffic and resulting unexpected delays. For example, if you plan to arrive at each meeting 30 minutes in advance, you’ll very rarely be late while having spare time to catch up on your to-do list or review your notes one final time to have them fresh on your mind during the meeting.

Since this is what we expect from entrepreneurs, it’s natural that we hold ourselves to the same standards when meeting them. Overall, I would say that Aslanoba Capital already performs fairly well in terms of punctuality. However, there are rare instances when an earlier meeting runs late, or we lose track of time while working on something else, which cause us to arrive late to a meeting.

In order to prevent similar situations in the future, we’ve therefore decided to fine ourselves when we’re late to a meeting. More specifically, Hasan will fine himself $5 for every minute that he is late to a meeting, and I will fine myself $1 for every minute that I am late. The difference in the magnitude of the fines is the result of the difference in our financial resources. We will accumulate this money during the course of the year and then donate it to charity.

Our inspiration for this action comes from Andreessen Horowitz, which fines its partners $10 for every minute that they’re late to a meeting. The differences in the dollar value of our fines relative to those in practice at Andreessen Horowitz are to adjust for the difference in the fund size of Andreessen Horowitz, whose latest fund is $1.5B, and the fund size of Aslanoba Capital, where we’ve currently invested slightly north of $40M. 

So technically our fine should be $40M / $1.5B * $10 = $0.27, but I’ll be rounding up to $1 and Hasan to $5 for every minute that we’re late because these are the levels at which we’re confident we’ll have enough motivation to stick to our promises.

The first step to building a great relationship is to treat others how you would like to be treated. I believe that applying this principle will help improve our relationship with the entrepreneurs we meet while, even more importantly, treating them with the respect they deserve.