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Who was the top Angel Investor in 2012?

Was it Ashton Kutcher, of bad acting fame, or Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems and Silicon Valley patriarch, or Biz Stone of Twitter?

Why not Chris Dixon, David Cohen, Eric Schmid, Esther Dyson, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Marissa Mayer, Mitch Kapor, Naval Ravikant, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, Ron Conway, Sergey Brin, Tony Hsieh, or Travis Kalanick?

Nope, not one of the legitimate investors above made the grade. No siree Bob! According to a 2012 Tech Cocktail Poll – Who’s The Top Angel In The United States, some schlubby, cranky nobody from the backwater startup town of Washington, DC was the top angel investor in the United States. In fact, this guy bested legitimate candidates garnering 21% of the votes. How ludicrous is it that this schmoo was 15 percentage points ahead of the highest-rated legitimate contenders?

David Cohen (5.34%), Dave McClure (5.83%), and Peter Thiel (4.37%) were the only investors listed above who received more than 4% of the votes in the poll.

So why did a virtual unknown cranky, Glen Hellman, get named the top Angel? Because that idiot stopped working, stopped building a business, and actually ran for the office that none of the other investors noticed or wanted! This dufus tweeted and Facebook-begged for votes in order to place the impressive, yet meaningless, Voted #1 Angel in the US by Tech Cocktail Readers label on his bio? Wow, that looks much more important on a bio when you don’t know **the back story.

Now the good news about Mr. Hellman wasting his time on this meaningless “honor” is that he didn’t spend effort at the cost of shareholders or employees. If Glen fails because he should have been doing something meaningful, like selling to customers, he only let himself down.

I once judged a pitch contest and a real legitimate revenue-generating company didn’t win. In fact, Social Tables a portfolio company of the Top Rated Angel in the US by Tech Cocktail Readers competed in this same contest and the CEO wasn’t even there to do the pitch (Social Tables was later acquired by Cvent for $100 million). He was out generating revenue and closing deals. The no revenue, no product-yet, winner of the contest had the company’s entire team participate in the pitch while nobody was out selling or supporting products that hadn’t been built yet… by the nature of the pitch, I’d have to say that the team had put hours of practice into winning a trophy that generated little if any value to their shareholders

I’ve seen one of my favorite and most successful portfolio companies (that is if you lower your bar and judge success by revenue traction and execution over awards) get their clocks cleaned in two popularity voting contests. They finished near the bottom both times coming in with single-digit votes while the “winners” registered votes in the 5 digits. For me, they’re winning even if they couldn’t get their moms to vote for them. I guess they lost focus and did actual work instead. I guess they were out wasting time building a company instead of a comedy act.

I’m glad to be backing the contest losers, real-world winners!

I look at these silly popularity contests, proud and secure that my portfolio companies aren’t focused on meaningless honors. A quick survey of pitch and hottest this and that contest winner leaves me with the notion that success in the real world is in inverse pro

That probably goes for Top Rated Angel Investors as well as the Hottest Startups.

Now, remember, while reading this that it was written with much authority! After all, I am the 2012 Top Rated US Angel Investor According to Tech Cocktail Readers!

Check out the wisdom of the 2012 Top Rated Angel Investor according to Tech Cocktail Readers in his new book, Intentional Leadership.