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

Personal heroes

Dan Savage, Tim and Eric, Crispin Glover line drawing

Dan Savage, Tim and Eric, and Crispin Glover. Image by me.

Maybe it’s because I just turned thirty, but I’ve been thinking recently about the people who I’ve admired and learned from most over the years. I listed them below, with the exception of my parents (a given).

  • Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, whose collective sense of humor skewers everything inauthentic and cheesy about the world
  • Dan Savage, the unfiltered sex advice columnist/podcaster and civil rights activist
  • Stephen King, who introduced me both to writing and nightmares
  • Trey Parker and Matt Stone, for championing free speech in the guise of hilarious shows and movies
  • Penn Jillette, for calling bullshit on things that too many people accept
  • Dave Barry, for making me laugh until I cry
  • Trent Reznor, the soundtrack to my life since fifth grade and a crusader for musicians
  • Crispin Glover, who is weird enough to own a castle in Prague and release videos like this, yet mainstream enough to play George McFly in “Back to the Future”
  • Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half, Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal, and Nicholas Gurewitch of Perry Bible Fellowship for the best comics and writing on the Internet
  • David Lynch, for making me think about movies the way English class made me think about books
  • Anne Rice, for introducing me to alternative universes
  • RuPaul Charles, for making creative identity expression accepted (and cool)
  • John Kricfalusi, for refusing to compromise with Nickelodeon on Ren & Stimpy and showing me at an early age that sticking to your vision matters

A speech for my best friend’s wedding

Last night I officiated my best friend’s wedding ceremony, and I figured I’d post the script in case anyone else is doing a gay, secular event and wants to see an example script. I read a few online and they were helpful for me in putting this together.

Obviously the Buffy the Vampire Slayer references and inside jokes aren’t applicable to the average person, but you get the idea. I also changed everyone’s names.   (more…)

7 Reasons Why “Dumb and Dumber To” Was Horrible, From A Die-Hard Fan

Harry holding Lloyd crying from Dumb and Dumber

Let it all out. It’s sad.

This isn’t a movie review of “Dumb and Dumber To.” There are enough of those already. No, this is a personal lament from a die-hard fan of the original. It’s my attempt to explain–in fan-level detail–why the sequel failed where the original succeeded.

I didn’t expect it to be as good as the original, but I figured I’d have a few laughs and some nostalgia. Instead, the unthinkable happened: it was horrible. Not just bad, but an unholy rock-bottom terrible where I didn’t laugh once and the theater was silent along with me. It was so bad that it was worse than “Dumb and Dumberer.” You heard me. At least that movie had one funny scene with Bob Saget freaking out that shit was all over the walls. This one was–and I’m not exaggerating–devoid of funniness.

The original “Dumb and Dumber” is more than a movie to me: it’s been a part of my life since it came out in 1994. I saw it in theaters with my dad when I was nine years old and we both loved it. It was one of those bonding moments that’s always stayed with me: the time I realized that my dad and I had the same sense of humor. I’ve seen it countless times since then. My high school yearbook quote was “Hey guys. Big Gulps, eh? All right! (Pause) Welp, seeya later!” I can quote the entire thing from memory. My fiance can, too. Throwing out “Dumb and Dumber” quotes has become an automatic, almost subconscious part of how we communicate. “Dumb and Dumber” is an experience that unites the people who love it.

Lloyd Christmas Big Gulps scene from Dumb and Dumber

That love of the original is what put me in the theater on opening night of “Dumb and Dumber To,” despite some worries. The sequel didn’t feel necessary. I didn’t want anything to tarnish the original. Jim Carrey has gotten a little weird in the 20 years since the original filmed. The trailers leading up to opening night felt off with their overly contrived jokes and cringe-worthy setups. My optimism helped me ignore these things (maybe they saved all the good jokes for the movie?), but I was still expecting a decent time.

I’ve seen a few reviewers comment that the sequel is only for die-hard fans; that we’re the only ones who’d derive any enjoyment from it. The total opposite is true. If anything, we’re uniquely equipped to feel insulted by how awful the sequel was because of our understanding of the qualities that made the original great.

Because I can’t focus on anything else until I get this out of my system, here’s a list of seven reasons why “Dumb and Dumber To” was horrible. Spoilers ahead.   (more…)

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