“Gun to the head—what would you decide now?”
“Fast forward 6 months after your sabbatical--how would you decide: what criteria is most important to you?”
“Putting aside a list of pros/cons, what’s the *one* reason you’re doing this?” “Why is that the most important reason?”
“What’s end-game here?”
“What does success look like in a world where you pick that path?”
“What would the best version of yourself do”?
“The Quakers have this idea where you don’t speak unless the spirit moves you. I'm waiting for the spirit to move me.”
h/t a friend
A/ Thanks for sharing because I value this relationship + want both of us to get needs met
B/ What I heard was X (summary)-- was that accurate?
C/ How can I contribute to meeting your needs?
“….” Don't’ say anything!
Take a lap. Or cold shower. Workout. Change your mind state before re-entering the conversation
“....” Still don’t say anything!
Ask for a pause: “Do you mind if we take a quick break and return tonight? I want to make sure I can fully listen to your story + appreciate where you are coming from.”
That last part is key.
“…” Probably best not to.
Unless you ask the caveat: "Are you interested in hearing feedback?"
Instead of “Why did you do that?”
Maybe: “What was going on for you?”
“If you had a billion dollars what would you do with
a) the money
b) your time”?
This shows where they want to change society and what they truly want to be doing.
This determines how they'll talk about you in the future--whether they'll view you in a charitable light or not.
“I’m going to pause right there for reactions”
Conversational tactic:— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) February 28, 2018
After rambling so much you either forgot your intended original point and/or don\u2019t know how to elegantly stop talking, say \u201cI\u2019ll pause for any thoughts or reactions.\u201d
“Let’s take this offline”.
“Why not bootstrap it so you can control your own destiny and have more optionality over selling for 50m, 100m?”
Also just a good question for every founder to ask themselves.
9/ Note: The Q should come from a place of seeking mutual benefit. Or else it\u2019ll ring hollow and manipulative.— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) December 4, 2018
When asking for a raise, it's less: \u201ctrue for you to feel I deserve this?"
More: \u201ctrue for you to feel it\u2019s in all of our best interest?\u201d
And you genuinely mean it.
More from Erik Torenberg
2/ “Being a VC” can mean a lot of different things, so it’s worth asking:
What actual activities do you want to do?
- Deep market analysis?
- Be in the flow of information and people?
- Make deals?
- Work closely w/ founders over time (e.g take board seats?)
- Manage capital?
3/ It’s worth specifying what type of VC you might like to become — as there are different archetypes. E.g.
- Benchmark (Lead series A/B - couple investments a year)
- First Round (Lead seed rounds, partner w/ a few companies a year)
- SV Angel (Make lots of seed investments)
Expa - Incubate companies
YC / Village Global - Build a platform to help entrepreneurs at scale
Do you want to join a firm or start one? There’s a lot to consider.
Different paths will require different skillsets & sets of experiences.
5/ Since the person who wrote the email is a young person trying to break into VC by joining a firm (and who doesn’t want to start a company), I’ll tailor this tweet storm to that goal. There’s some overlap.
Why is this the most powerful question you can ask when attempting to reach an agreement with another human being or organization?
A thread, co-written by @deanmbrody:
Next level tactic when closing a sale, candidate, or investment:— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) February 27, 2018
Ask: \u201cWhat needs to be true for you to be all in?\u201d
You'll usually get an explicit answer that you might not get otherwise. It also holds them accountable once the thing they need becomes true.
2/ First, “X” could be lots of things. Examples: What would need to be true for you to
- “Feel it's in our best interest for me to be CMO"
- “Feel that we’re in a good place as a company”
- “Feel that we’re on the same page”
- “Feel that we both got what we wanted from this deal
3/ Normally, we aren’t that direct. Example from startup/VC land:
Founders leave VC meetings thinking that every VC will invest, but they rarely do.
Worse over, the founders don’t know what they need to do in order to be fundable.
4/ So why should you ask the magic Q?
To get clarity.
You want to know where you stand, and what it takes to get what you want in a way that also gets them what they want.
It also holds them (mentally) accountable once the thing they need becomes true.
5/ Staying in the context of soliciting investors, the question is “what would need to be true for you to want to invest (or partner with us on this journey, etc)?”
Multiple responses to this question are likely to deliver a positive result.
More from Life
Just note, I am not bitter or salty in any way at all, the last 2 years have been an amazing ride - travelled the world, been wealthy, been poor.
2/ Dec '16, my advertising agency folded, I had a little bit of money left and I put $32k into Bitcoin and Ether. As it started to go up I diversified into everything, Monero, Dash, this that, any crap - even Ripplecoin. Everything just kept going up.
3/ By March I think I had around $300k and $500k by the summer. I used to take 25% out but towards the end of the summer I got greedy and put it all back in and by December it was $1.2m.
4/ Thinking I was an absolute genius I decided to start a bunch of businesses. As silly as it sounds I had this goal of making $5m as I wanted to buy Bedford Town Football Club and get them in the league, and as Crypto was going up forever I needed 6 months.
- Trading (income 1)
- Podcast (income 2)
- Mining (income 3)
- Mining pool (income 4)
- Consulting (income 5)
Yes - all of the above as a one-man army :)
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We're basically fucked.
The tech world has gotten so huge, self-reinforcing, and insulated from reality they can no longer even vaguely look at themselves (and their actions) as others do. They just live on a different planet than most people.
Conversely, the average tech consumer doesn't understand the technology that has slowly taken over their lives, and their designated emissaries to figure it out--politicians, pundits, regulators, journalists--understand it barely better than they do, and have their own agendas.
To say more than generalities for a moment, here's what I think is likely the core problem.
Techies take weird, improbable visions, and make them realities: some BS pitch deck to a VC, mixed with money and people, really does turn into some novel thing.
Most people work inside a legacy industry that's evolved that way over time (usually for good reasons), and they think about the future via some analogy with their present (which is a function of a long-ago past). The interruption that tech will introduce is often hard to grasp.
I get asked for writing tips a lot. Of all the ones I’ve given, here are a few of the ones that seem to hold true and remain somewhat universal or at least mostly unobjectionable:
1. If you are a fast writer (i.e., if you compose first drafts very quickly) then you absolutely must become a slow editor. Much of what I call “writing” is really, for me, editing.
2. If you don’t read you cannot write a lot or well. Sure, maybe you can read like a maniac for a decade and then read less after that, but without some large volume of intake, there will never be a meaningful output.
2.1 I sometimes say that I feel like writing without reading is like trying to run a marathan on a cracker. And sadly I see many students struggling to write when they have simply never read enough to fuel that demand of the task at hand.
3. All writing is writing if one decides to treat it that way. If one takes some degree of intentional will when sending emails, posting on social media and writing notes and marginalia, then all of that can count as meaningful daily writing.
Here is why 👇
Startups fixed the problem of innovation, that corporations lack.
In big, slow corporations, innovation is a RISK and distraction from the core $$$ profitable business.
Agile startups could launch, iterate fast and eventually stumble upon new growing market opportunities.
When a startup reaches product-market-fit, it has to 🚀 "grow at all costs" and reach market dominance before some giant corporation can replicate their new product and distribute it to their existing giant customer base.
Startup's "growth at all costs" often means growth at the expense of charging customers $$$ money.
Hence, to be sustainable, startups have to constantly chase investor money.
Startup teams spend more time finding and pleasing investors, than finding and pleasing customers.
95% of startups die because they run out of (investor) money + no business model + crazy investor expectations.
Same way corporations die, when unable to adjust to new technology and market shifts.
Yahoo, who bought Tumblr years ago, used to have a huge adult presence on the early net. They allowed adult groups and what not.
However, people and bots (just like now) misused the service, and Yahoo were forced to make a choice. They made private the groups (and later closed them down and sold some of it to other companies) and then ended their chatrooms on yahoo messenger...
after a incident with one of the chatrooms vid cams. The damage was done, Yahoo Messenger lost a lot of people - and with the closing of the groups - backpage and Craigslist came more important.
Now backpage is no more and Craigslist is slowly passing away. Tumblr had a semi strong community, but once 2014 came around and both porn, and political bots exploded the quality started to go down,