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?
- 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.
“Is this person going to help me to invest in companies that I otherwise would not have invested in without him/her?”
How do you do this?
Why will you see great deals?
- You worked at Stripe or Palantir and run their alumni group (Company)
- You went to MIT and ran their on campus fund (College)
- You ran Waterloo’s startup community and you know all the great projects (Location)
- You host the signature AR/VR conference (Vertical network)
- You run a community like "Interact"—top technologists under 25 (Horizontal network)
- You’re the best writer in, say, crypto—or more specifically, privacy coins (Legible expertise)
- You worked at Product Hunt or in journalism (can help startups with distribution/PR)
- You host "The 20 min VC" (can help startups raise money)
- You run a podcast called "The 20 min Blockchain Engineer" (can help startups recruit)
Here are other things you can do to add value to VC firms:
1. Send them good deals
2. Send their companies customers or talent
3. Invite partners on your podcast or to your event (or any of the assets mentioned above)
How do you get access to customers in the first place? Host a VP of Sales Event once a quarter, or an event for another core buying audience.
Talent? Start a job board site for engineers, or a regular happy hour for top designers.
More from Erik Torenberg
Please add your own.
2/ The Magic Question: "What would need to be true for you
3/ On evaluating where someone’s head is at regarding a topic they are being wishy-washy about or delaying.
“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?”
4/ Other Q’s re: decisions:
“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?”
5/ When listening, after empathizing, and wanting to help them make their own decisions without imposing your world view:
“What would the best version of yourself do”?
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 Startups
"I need to get better at marketing."
But, it's more likely that you have a product problem:
"Do customers really want this? Do they care enough about this to switch to a new solution?"
☝️ this is why most of my book, @marketingdevs, is about:
1. Choosing the right market
2. Building something they want
"If your product is remarkable, getting noticed is a lot easier." – @peldi
I was reminded of this concept again this morning while reading @pjrvs' book (Company of One):
"Sales increase when you honestly evaluate what someone needs and then teach them the value of what you're selling."
To succeed, your product has to offer an outcome that is highly desirable to a large group of customers.
The number of sales your product receives is a multiple of these two variables:
1. How big is the target market?
2. How desirable is the outcome you're offering them?
.@jaltma from @latticeHQ says “Don’t confuse investor interest with product-market fit. You’re about to be on the receiving end of a lot of hype and FOMO - use it to your advantage by taking the money and then keep your burn and ego low.”
.@typesfast from @flexport says “I like to remind myself that even Bruce Springsteen still gets nervous before his concerts. Remember that, and then try to focus on what investors want: First, not to be bored. Second, to get rich(er).”
.@collinmathilde from @frontapp says “Leverage your data to tell a story about what the business has achieved and where it is going. Metrics are necessary, but they are too often shared without a narrative arc.”
.@drusenko from @weebly says “Make it relevant. Investors can live in their own world, so try to find an angle that they can relate to.”
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Sheryl got her MBA at Harvard. One of the most famous cases (Extra Strength Tylenol) in one of the most famous classes (Business History) she took: in 1982, someone put cyanide in Extra Strength Tylenol capsules and killed 7 people in Chicago.
What do you do when someone turns your product into a weapon? When they use the system you built to harm? James Burke, CEO of J&J, was shockingly open with the public, he pulled the product and made significant packaging changes to make product safer (but not tamper-proof).
He over-shared every step along the way re investigation, redesign, stood up as both CEO and human. The reintroduction of new Extra Strength Tylenol succeeded. Burke saved the brand.
But four years later it happened again. A killer put cyanide in the capsules, this time a woman in Yonkers died. Same CEO, Burke, pulled the product again, completely changed the form factor from capsule to caplet and relaunched *again*. It worked *again*. How'd they do that?
Burke (CEO) tapped J&Js goodwill bank account w/ the public. Two big withdrawals from that bank account in four years + 8 dead bodies! But his honesty, openness, humanity (choked up about the deaths more than once), humility kept the goodwill bank balance positive the whole time.
They’d come in and look around, and you can always tell it’s them cause they wear blazers all the dam time. I’d watch them look around and finally ask if they needed help.
“Oh maybe, I don’t know if you can help me. I’m looking for... *hushed voice* ... a coder.”
“Oh yeah?” I’d murmur, matching their tone and seriousness. “We do coding tutorials, no worries, everyone starts somewhere, here let me pull up the tutor schedule...”
“Heh, no, no. I’m looking for a serious coder... for a business project.” They’d answer, suddenly puffing up.
“Ahh.” I’d nod solemnly. “Well, what kind of coder? I may have one in the back.”
“A good one.” They’d day, usually pulling up a chair.
“Yes but, what coding language?”
“Oh well I don’t know, that’s up to them.” They’d wave dismissively with one hand.
I’d nod again, pretending to take notes. “A good coder. I see. Well it depends on what you need...”
“It’s an APP!” (It’s always an app)
Sometimes I’d let them launch into their pitch, sometimes I’d cut them off.
Either way I’d say: “I see, and the salary you’re offering?”
These are turn-based wargames for windows 3.x, sharing the same engine.
Battles in a Distant Desert is from 1992, and is based on the first Iraq war (Desert Storm)
and Battles on Distant Planets is from 1991, and takes place in SPACE!
I'm pretty sure this is the one I played as a kid.
They've got 3 options to play with:
* Player vs. Player
* Player vs. Computer
* Computer vs. Computer
So it's a 0-2 player game!
They also did a DOS strategy game called "STARDATE 2140.2: GALACTIC CONQUEST" in 1990, but it seems to be lost.
All the games share an experimental AI system based on neural networks.
Some random interesting tidbits:
1) Zuck approves shutting down platform API access for Twitter's when Vine is released #competition
2) Facebook engineered ways to access user's call history w/o alerting users:
Team considered access to call history considered 'high PR risk' but 'growth team will charge ahead'. @Facebook created upgrade path to access data w/o subjecting users to Android permissions dialogue.
3) The above also confirms @kashhill and other's suspicion that call history was used to improve PYMK (People You May Know) suggestions and newsfeed rankings.
4) Docs also shed more light into @dseetharaman's story on @Facebook monitoring users' @Onavo VPN activity to determine what competitors to mimic or acquire in 2013.