Unwanted Advice to a Young VC on Meetings and Follow-Ups

I’m learning how to VC right now, and a friend who has been both an associate at a large VC firm and a founder gave me this advice. I figured I’d share the wealth.

1.  superb meeting etiquette

– don’t be late.

– don’t walk around checking your phone or your email

– just generally be present

– don’t look or act rushed, at all (you will be most of the time)

– don’t let a meeting go over time whether you are interested or not; keep time and politely remind and set expectations

2. superb meeting followup

– always do what you say and say what you’ll do

– say no quickly and concisely (which you’ll do 99% of time), and say why briefly

– when super annoying entrepreneurs ask followup questions to your “no” email, have a blog post or canned email that isn’t customized but that you’ve worked very hard on to send them, breaking down why no means no and to not pursue it further.

3. the interesting in-betweens

– people / teams / areas you are really curious about but can’t pull the trigger on: tell them, make a small calendar database, follow up every 3 months, and make notes and watch the numbers they tell you.  Force yourself to make explicit your hypothesis and whether they are managing to it.

Rev Boston’s 20 women in tech you need to know

Rev Boston 2015

We’re launching a new kind of women’s event this week at Accomplice called Rev Boston. Rev finds and supports the top 20 female VPs and directors in Boston. Consider yourself put on notice that these women will create something powerful very soon. Most of them aren’t household names the same way that men at the same career levels are, and that needs to change.

Rev connects these 20 women to each other at an intimate retreat and brings them resources and expert speakers tailored to them. These people are elite as individuals, so imagine the network effect of them combining forces.

Collage of the women of Rev 2015

The women of Rev 2015

You see a lot of “leadership development” for women these days, but these women are already leaders and successes. The obstacle isn’t a lack of developmental opportunities (there are some great programs in the community and in their companies), but rather access and visibility. Our goal with Rev is to provide both. (more…)

I tried Google Cardboard and it’s awesome

Google Cardboard multiple views

Google Cardboard is exciting because it makes virtual reality accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a few extra bucks. Sure, the Oculus is cool, but $200 for a headset is still steep for the average person. Google Cardboard is…well, cardboard. Viewers cost around $20. It’s virtual reality for the masses. You assemble it in a few minutes, pop your phone in, and seconds later you’re standing in your apartment saying “OH MY GOD…OH MY GOD…OH MY GOD” because the future is here.

At least that’s how I felt about it. That, and pretty nauseated. Those VR physics aren’t quite right yet. But overall, it was incredible.

Weirdly, Google does not make any Cardboard viewers. You have to get one from a third party. I picked this kit in black for $20, because style matters when you’re in the metaverse.  (more…)

How to cold email pitch a VC

8 bit cold email

Sending a cold pitch over email is a bad way to get investors’ attention. Still, a lot of people do it, and there’s a way to make yours less bad. If you must do a cold pitch over email, at least make it rise above the (crappy) crowd.

Cold email pitches should:

  • be personalized, explaining why this firm and these partners are a good fit for you and your idea
  • be very brief, with just a high-level idea, who you are, and maybe a link to a slide deck for more info (think of the slides as an appendix: they’re extra, not necessary to understand the company)
  • link to files, not attach them (opening your giant PDF attachment sucks on a mobile phone)
  • have a reasonable ask (like “do you have 10 minutes for a call?” not “please invest $2.5M”)

A few other pitch tips from Bram Kanstein of Product Hunt:

  • Tell about the problem you’re solving
  • Show your solution
  • Show early results if you have them
  • Why are you the man/woman/team that’s going to take this to the moon?
  • Asking for specific feedback is also good. It’s difficult to help when your question is simply: “what do you think?”


The story of my life

The quest for inbox zero is a noble but tireless one. We are all Sisyphus.

sisyphus pushing a boulder representing email up a mountain

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