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.
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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.
Below a list of business/product ideas I had or read about.
They are worthless if they remain ideas and if you don't overcome the challenges in building them, so feel free to copy / tweak / implement them!
Better: use one and make a MVP during the #24hrstartup challenge!
😻 Product Hunt Time
A clock that displays the time it is @ProductHunt
Also displays what you should do and where you should post, at each specific time during your launch
🚧 IndieCrunch - VC free tech news
Techcrunch but only for bootstrapped companies
🎧 Kickstarter for audiobooks
A lot of awesome books are not available as audio.
Crowdfund the money to buy the audio rights + a voice actor
"If only someone would tell me how I can get a startup to notice me."
"I guess it's impossible and I'll never break into the industry."
Courtesy of @edbrisson's wonderful thread on breaking into comics – https://t.co/TgNblNSCBj – here is why the same applies to Product Management, too.
"I really want to break into comics"— Ed Brisson (@edbrisson) December 4, 2018
"If only someone would tell me how I can get an editor to notice me."
"I guess it's impossible and I'll never break into the industry."
There is no better way of learning the craft of product, or proving your potential to employers, than just doing it.
You do not need anybody's permission. We don't have diplomas, nor doctorates. We can barely agree on a single standard of what a Product Manager is supposed to do.
But – there is at least one blindingly obvious industry consensus – a Product Manager makes Products.
And they don't need to be kept at the exact right temperature, given endless resource, or carefully protected in order to do this.
They find their own way.
I really, *really* like SoJ's "would not use again" question, which lets people who've abandoned a tech self-identify. This is noticeable in the graph above with Flow users -- 41% of people who've used Flow say they wouldn't use it again.
React 65% (vs. 60%)
Vue 29% (vs. 24%)
Ember 5% (vs 4%, I was expecting a bigger rise)
But there's a shocker in here: Angular.
npm's survey had Angular at 40% last year and SoJ has it at either:
- 58% (if you include those who don't want to use it again)
- 24% (if you count only those who like it)
Since npm's question didn't ask if they intend to *continue* using it I think that might explain this.