A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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“The job requires me to get a potato clock” (get up at eight o’clock) (5/22)
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Entry from May 16, 2015
“Bet on the jockey, not the horse” (business adage)

"Bet (on) the jockey, not the horse” is a popular venture capitalist adage. Many people have a great idea (or “horse"), but an entrepreneur (or “jockey") with strong management skills (or a management team in place) stands a better chance of achieving success with the idea.

“‘We bet on the jockey, not the horse,’ goes the venture capitalist’s bromide” was cited in print in 1984. It’s not known who first came up with the saying.


Google Books
Venture
Volume 6, Issues 7-12
1984
Pg. 144:
“We bet on the jockey, not the horse,” goes the venture capitalist’s bromide.

Google Books
Forbes
Volume 140, Issues 1-4
1987
Pg. 481:
Good question, which is why bulls like Joe France, who follows InSpeech for Smith Barney, which underwrote the initial public offering, insist that you bet the jockey, not the horse. What is jockey Foster worth?

Google Books
Venture Capital:
Law, Business Strategies, and Investment Planning

By Joseph W. Bartlett
New York, NY: J. Wiley
1988
Pg. 223:
Although venture-backed firms are viewed as technology driven, the fact is that experienced venture investors are accustomed to “bet the jockey, not the horse.”

Google News Archive
28 February 1997, New Straits Times (Malaysia), “Venture capital companies ‘will complement Mesdaq,’"pg. 24, col. 7:
“Venture capitalists bet on the jockey, not the horse,” she (Venture Capital Management Sbn Bhd senior vice president Caroline Teh—ed.) said, adding that other considerations included the product, market, competition, capital structure, amount of financing required and potential returns.

Twitter
Clynton
‏@ClyntonC
RT @mommymillionair: Always bet on the jockey - not the horse. A person’s drive to succeed is the X Factor behind every successful business.
8:23 AM - 29 Jun 2009

Twitter
Will Conley
‏@willconley777
“Bet on the jockey, not the horse.” - venture capital cliché, mantra, truism
1:38 AM - 7 Aug 2010

Examiner.com
Startup investors bet on the jockey, not the horse
By Martin Zwilling
September 5, 2012 10:04 AM MST
In the beginning all businesses are just people playing out an idea. It’s never the other way around – there is no idea so big that it doesn’t need people to make it succeed. Investors know this, hence the saying “Bet on the jockey (founder), not the horse (idea).” A great jockey is a great role model.

Like it or not, everyone looks to the entrepreneur as the jockey role model in a new business.

Forbes.com
PHARMA & HEALTHCARE 9/25/2014 @ 8:31AM
Talent: The Biggest Issue In Biotech Boardrooms Today
By Bruce Booth
As with everything in life, it’s always about the people.  Bet the jockey, not the horse.  Great entrepreneurs and C-level executives are very hard to come by in R&D-intensive biotech companies, and its probably one of the biggest bottlenecks in the sector in terms startup formation and company growth.

Tech.co
Horses and Startups: How An Investor Chooses a Jockey
Gavin McCulley @gavin_mcculley
November 21, 2014 12:30 pm
(...)
When it comes to the track, you bet on the horse. To prove my point: What was the name of the jockey who rode California Chrome to victory in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness? I had to google it, too.  But unlike the races, when it comes to investing in startups, Angels and VCs bet on the jockey. Why? Because the product or service you pitch to me will likely look and act a lot different when you go to market; in other words, the horse will have changed, sometimes completely.

Swift Straw
April 28, 2015
SHARK TANK IS CREATING A WAVE
(...)
Here are a few things I have learned from The Sharks:

1) Mark Cuban - Bet on the jockey, not the horse. Invest in smart people that you don’t have to manage. 

Twitter
Develop LGM
‏@Developlgm
You bet on the jockey, not the horse because after all what works is to innovate and correct on the road #innovation #startup
8:24 PM - 15 May 2015

Tech.co
6 Ways to Raise Money for Your Tech Startup
Kayla Matthews @KaylaEMatthews
May 16, 2015 2:00 pm
(...)
Keep It in the Family
Even if you have an outstanding business model, there’s an old saying among venture capitalists and angel investors: “Bet the jockey, not the horse.” By that, they mean that they’d rather invest their money in a company run by an entrepreneur with a proven track record as opposed to a greenhorn with a great idea.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Saturday, May 16, 2015 • Permalink