Elders can sniff out a fake.
They not only have tons of life experience but tons of people experience. In other words, they understand how people work. They notice a liar when he is avoiding eye contact and mismatching his words and body gestures. Elders can sense ingenuity in a heart beat based on a handshake. You may know someone like this. Maybe a mentor, friend, or grandparent. Elders are usually people who have been around for a while.
Most investors fall into the elder category. They care about the details and use those details to determine your character and capabilities–teachable genius or arrogant jerk? Yes, increasing traction is important (see an earlier post on gaining traction) but what’s even more important is what’s behind the traction–you! That’s if you plan on sticking around to grow your startup. Otherwise, investors will find other ways.
As a startup, you should know the way of the elder. In fact, become an elder. You don’t have to be old. Study people. Learn the tricks. Sniff out the liars. Get faster at it. In the long run, this will save you time (and pain) when hiring.