“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
As a dean of a major academic institution, I could not have said this. But I will now. Requiring such statements in applications for appointments and promotions is an affront to academic freedom, and diminishes the true value of diversity, equity of inclusion by trivializing it. https://t.co/NfcI5VLODi— Jeffrey Flier (@jflier) November 10, 2018
We know that elite institutions like the one Flier was in (partial) charge of rely on irrelevant status markers like private school education, whiteness, legacy, and ability to charm an old white guy at an interview.
Harvard's discriminatory policies are becoming increasingly well known, across the political spectrum (see, e.g., the recent lawsuit on discrimination against East Asian applications.)
It's refreshing to hear a senior administrator admits to personally opposing policies that attempt to remedy these basic flaws. These are flaws that harm his institution's ability to do cutting-edge research and to serve the public.
Harvard is being eclipsed by institutions that have different ideas about how to run a 21st Century institution. Stanford, for one; the UC system; the "public Ivys".
Since then we've started a remote web dev company @SquarecatWebDev and been lucky enough to have completed several freelance projects 💻 that have kept us on the road.
In the last few months we've become a huge part of this amazing new Maker community and have found so many new friends from @makerskitchen, @women_make_ and several others! 🥰
We love travelling together (even if I'm only a glorified laptop watcher 😒) but we're both much happier being able to share our ideas outside of our own little bubble and our products have benefitted too!
Here's to another year of nomading with my favourite person and to the Maker community continuing to grow with our help! Maybe one day we'll all get to meet each other ✌️ 💛
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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:
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.
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/