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
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.
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”?
More from Startups
- Progress/trajectory over time
- How well they lead a team &
- Make the vision happen
- Most impressed when someone is way ahead of where you thought they would be when you check up/see them a few months later.
2) Indie Makers have such a benefit of being small, fast, nimble workers in comparison to big companies.
We can easily pivot and vastly change a project of ours. We can change as we learn more about our users.
Big companies can take months/years for even the smallest of pivots.
3) Before you find a product market you can pivot your project as many times as necessary until you find something that works.
Then you only have one thing to do: scale, scale, scale.
4) Be obsessed with the little details.
- listen to every single person who uses your product
- reply to every single person who emails you about your product
- ask them what they like and do not like
- iterate your product, make changes, pivot if necessary
5) Paul Graham's (@paulg) name came up with a feeling of great admiration! Naturally! It was Paul who said:
In the early stages of a company just;
- write code
- talk/sell to customers to stress test your idea
.@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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In that spirit, here's some quick Things Many People Find Too Obvious To Have Told You Already.
Your idea is not valuable, at all. All value is in the execution. You think you are an exception; you are not. You should not insist on an NDA to talk about it; nobody serious will engage in contract review over an idea, and this will mark you as clueless.
Technologists tend to severely underestimate the difficulty and expense of creating software, especially at companies which do not have fully staffed industry leading engineering teams ("because software is so easy there, amirite guys?")
Charge more. Charge more still. Go on.
The press is a lossy and biased compression of events in the actual world, and is singularly consumed with its own rituals, status games, and incentives. The news necessarily fails to capture almost everything which happened yesterday. What it says is important usually isn't.
Companies find it incredibly hard to reliably staff positions with hard-working generalists who operate autonomously and have high risk tolerances. This is not the modal employee, including at places which are justifiably proud of the skill/diligence/etc of their employees.
Why would you want a literary agent?
* you want to be traditionally published
* you want someone experienced to help guide your career
* you want to learn how to edit like a pro
* you want to sell foreign and movie rights
* you want answers to your newbie questions 2/
Why you might *NOT* want a literary agent:
* you want to self publish
* you're not willing to compromise on your edits
* you don't think their expertise is worth 15% of your advance
I... can't think this way. Literary agents have been crucial to my career. 3/
So, how do you get a literary agent?
1. Have a finished, revised, edited, polished manuscript.
2. Write a query letter for your book
3. Send your query to agents who rep your genre and are open to submissions
4. Repeat steps 1-4 until you're offered representation. 4/
So, let's go through those four steps. First of all, you must have a finished, revised, edited, polished book, and it must be sellable. That is, you can't sell a 600k picture book or a 40k adult Fantasy, etc. You must read extensively in the genre you're writing. 5/
Only give these currencies to high value people. Never spend these currencies on low value shitheads eg: trolls, weasels, snakes, naysayers etc.
'Wait, I thought money was the most important currency?'
Once you adopt abundance mentality, you realize their is no shortage of money.
Making the dollars your most important currency will have you leading an empty life.
Time to flip your perspective.
When you strip yourself to the core, you are an emotional creature.
Emotions are your internal worlds energy.
Harnessing that energy is crucial for leveraging yourself to obtain whatever you want.
You have a finite amount everyday, so spend it wisely.
A second that is lost will never be returned.
You start valuing the hell out of this currency the more you mature.
As the years start adding up, you realize time is precious.
You must always have a scarcity mindset towards time.
Once you do so, you will not be lazy.
You can be here, but not present.
Attention is completely mental.
Giving someone your attention means you are clearing up mental bandwidth to make room for them.
Only give your attention to people who help you grow.
For the negative ones?
Ignore their existence
This spring at SxSW, @SusanWojcicki promised "Wikipedia snippets" on debated videos. But they didn't put them on flat earth videos, and instead @YouTube is promoting merchandising such as "NASA lies - Never Trust a Snake". 2/
A few example of flat earth videos that were promoted by YouTube #today: