1/ Someone emailed me asking how to break into VC, so I wanted to answer on Twitter where others could see and contribute to the conversation.
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.
Most Liked Replies
1) Write blog covering startups you know well and are excited about
2) Launch podcast on startups and VC trends
3) Build online portfolio showcasing products / companies you’ve built
4) Attend industry events & be a connector
More from Erik Torenberg
Like company moats, your personal moat should be a competitive advantage that is not only durable—it should also compound over time.
Characteristics of a personal moat below:
I'm increasingly interested in the idea of "personal moats" in the context of careers.— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) November 22, 2018
Moats should be:
- Hard to learn and hard to do (but perhaps easier for you)
- Skills that are rare and valuable
- Compounding over time
- Unique to your own talents & interests https://t.co/bB3k1YcH5b
2/ Like a company moat, you want to build career capital while you sleep.
As Andrew Chen noted:
People talk about \u201cpassive income\u201d a lot but not about \u201cpassive social capital\u201d or \u201cpassive networking\u201d or \u201cpassive knowledge gaining\u201d but that\u2019s what you can architect if you have a thing and it grows over time without intensive constant effort to sustain it— Andrew Chen (@andrewchen) November 22, 2018
3/ You don’t want to build a competitive advantage that is fleeting or that will get commoditized
Things that might get commoditized over time (some longer than
Things that look like moats but likely aren\u2019t or may fade:— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) November 22, 2018
- Proprietary networks
- Being something other than one of the best at any tournament style-game
- Many "awards"
- Twitter followers or general reach without "respect"
- Anything that depends on information asymmetry https://t.co/abjxesVIh9
4/ Before the arrival of recorded music, what used to be scarce was the actual music itself — required an in-person artist.
After recorded music, the music itself became abundant and what became scarce was curation, distribution, and self space.
5/ Similarly, in careers, what used to be (more) scarce were things like ideas, money, and exclusive relationships.
In the internet economy, what has become scarce are things like specific knowledge, rare & valuable skills, and great reputations.
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”?
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2/ This phenomenon—I’m calling it a Sex Recession—really surprised me. It seemed improbable in the age of Tinder, digital porn, and attitudes that are generally permissive and sex-positive.
3/ What’s happening isn’t exclusively American: Similar trends are being observed in other countries, including Japan, Australia, the U.K., Finland, and the Netherlands.
4/ One cause is obvious: Adults under 35 are less likely to be living with a partner than in recent decades, and more likely to be living with their parents—which, it’s safe to say, isn’t great for one’s sex life.
5/ But I also found other explanations, each with profound implications. The first, unsurprisingly, has to do with internet enticements. Netflix and other online entertainment may be substituting for sex.
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.
The paper is a good example of lots of elements of good experimental design. They validate their metric by showing lots of variants give consistent results. They tune hyperparamters separately for each condition, check that optimum isn't at the endpoints, and measure sensitivity.
They have separate experiments where the hold fixed # iterations and # epochs, which (as they explain) measure very different things. They avoid confounds, such as batch norm's artificial dependence between batch size and regularization strength.
When the experiments are done carefully enough, the results are remarkably consistent between different datasets and architectures. Qualitatively, MNIST behaves just like ImageNet.
Importantly, they don't find any evidence for a "sharp/flat optima" effect whereby better optimization leads to worse final results. They have a good discussion of experimental artifacts/confounds in past papers where such effects were reported.
Today, there are 500,000 young men missing from the U.S. workforce.
Research suggests video games & improved leisure tech plays a role in the problem. 👇 Thread:
Following the 2007 to 2009 recession, 25 to 34 year old men exited high school with fewer middle-skill job opportunities than years prior.
During this time, we saw an increased number of men living with parents & choosing unemployment over lower paying jobs.
It's estimated that 24M millennials live w/ their parents.
1 in 4 living in their parents’ home neither go to school nor work.
What's more surprising? 9 in 10 who lived with their parents a year ago are still living there w/ no plans to leave.
Economists are calling millennial men a lost generation.
According to economist David Dorn:
“If you get to the point where you’re turning 30, you’ve never held a real job and you don’t have a college education, then it is very hard to recover at that point.”
Economists suggest this choosiness is a generational trait.
Forbes interview w/ a high school educated man:
"I’m very quick to get frustrated when people refuse to pay me what I’m worth."
“People feel that they have choice nowadays, and they
1/ Someone emailed me asking how to break into VC, so I wanted to answer on Twitter where others could see and contribute to the conversation.— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) November 29, 2018