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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1/ I've had an unhealthy fascination with metrology (the study of measurement) ever since my 2nd year as a physics major when I took a class devoted to duplicating historic physics experiments, so please indulge me for going into heavy detail (get it?) about the kilogram.
2/ So what actually *defines* a unit of measurement? If you're American, you probably know a mile is 5280 feet and a foot is 12 inches and an inch is 2.54 centimeters etc. But where does this chain of definitions end? Is it turtles all the way down?
3/ It's actually not! For all units (even the imperial units used in America) the answers all end with the Système International (SI) unit definitions established and maintained for over 100 years by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIMP) in France.
4/ At the base of this tower are the SI base units. Just 7 SI base units define every other unit in existence. They are:
Kilogram, kg (mass)
Meter, m (distance)
Second, s (time)
Kelvin, K (temp)
Ampere, A (electric current)
Candela, cd (luminous intensity)
Mole, mol (quantity)
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.
Hey folks, have you ever wondered why trans people face constant accusations of fetishism, sexual predation and child abuse/grooming? Well, today let's talk about stochastic terrorism.
So, first we have to talk about what stochastic terrorism actually is. Remember when there was a conspiracy that there was a pedophile ring operating out of a pizza parlour basement, and a crazed gunman showed up? It's that sort of incitement that stochastic terrorism describes.
It's the demonisation or incitement against a group of people or individuals with the intent that other, unaffiliated parties will act upon it; it's the releasing doctored footage and a shooter show up at Planned Parenthood as a direct result of what he's been led to believe.
So with that in mind, let's talk about Russia's extreme anti-LGBT laws that banned the "promotion" of LGBT lifestyles to children. A move that specifically marked LGBT people as a threat to children, and resulted in neo-nazis meting out vigilante "justice" against gay men.
Groups such as this would lure unsuspecting gay men via dating sites, and brutalise and humiliate them on camera. They did so under the guise of combating child abusers, one group calling themselves "Occupy
We want to tell people what they deserve to earn, buy, make, be, say, believe, enjoy. Where they can live. Who they can love.
We even do this to kids through the story of Santa Claus and his naughty or nice list.
And we’re all just trucking along like this is okay.
We do it to ourselves. “I deserve a break”, “I deserve this cookie”, “I deserve a promotion”.
Why are we so afraid of wants and needs? Why do we frame it in terms of this moral currency? It’s weird.
We've traded our freedom to have wants and needs on the basis that we just have them for the ability to police others' wants and needs through whether or not they are deserving of the things they're asking for. But to do that we have to play the same game and be "more deserving."
I never said which society or how long we’ve been doing it. I’m sure you could trace this ideology back to agriculture at the very least.
Neatly phrased, Miss Erynn! But I think if we look back we\u2019d find that it was ever so. The feudal system from the Middle Ages and even unto the 20th century in Czarist Russia saw societies based on your observations.— Edward M. Cook (@edcook111) November 1, 2018