The worst possible thing, how to do your best work and how traction is actually defined.

Happy Friday.

It’s been a rainy and cool week in Baltimore but the startups are just about as strong as we’ve seen them anywhere on the tour this year. Bonus: running into the community leaders of a couple other places we visited this year. (I’m looking at you Fargo, Des Moines, Lincoln, Cedar Rapids and Albuquerque.)

I’m finally getting around to updating the look of this website. If you know of any strong WordPress theme developers that might be able to help, hit reply.

1. “I think one thing is you should be willing to move.” [Link] [Tweet]

It’s always interesting to get inside the mind of people doing interesting things. Sam is one of those people. (Look for his thoughts on compound interest and your own career — I’m intentionally not linking to it so that you’ll have to read the transcript yourself.)

As for being willing to move, I think his point is that you’ve got to be willing to do whatever it takes if you want to succeed. Sometimes that might include moving, most times it won’t. Either way, you’ve got to be willing to do the uncomfortable if you want to do interesting things.

2. “The worst possible thing when you’re working from home is that you feel you’re not in the loop.” [Link] [Tweet]

Working from home sounds fun… until you’ve done it for more than 30 days. Regardless of the tools you use, invest in a shared workspace. It’ll pay for itself in more ways than you think.

3. “SpaceX is building it. Meet the Big Fucking Rocket.” [Link] [Tweet]

Elon Musk is building electric cars and going to Mars. What are you doing with your life? (Pardon me while I go back to my Airstream and mull this one over.)

4. “Trump would shout over his interlocutors only to prove he had nothing to say.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re planning to vote for Trump, please hit reply and tell me why. I’m genuinely curious.

5. “to understand how virality works, you first have to know that not all virality is the same.” [Link] [Tweet]

Forward this one to your friend that keeps saying something about “going viral.” There’s much, much more to it than most people realize.

More importantly: spend less time worrying about virality and more time making something people want. You can’t have the former with at least a little bit of the latter.

6. “You do your best work when you truly care about the problem you are solving.” [Link] [Tweet]

There’s so much information available on the web about the “hard skills” of fundraising (eg, pitch decks, traction numbers, etc) but so little around the “soft skills.”

When you’re raising the first round of outside financing for your company, how your investors feel is just as important as the traction you can show.

7. “So pay attention a little, but not too much — leave more room for your own ideas than for theirs.” [Link] [Tweet]

This has been one of the unexpected benefits of traveling by road this year: we meet so many community leaders, entrepreneurs and investors around North America and we get to see how they make the magic happen in their own communities.

Then we get to spend 10-15 hours in transit to the next location and digest all that information en route.

Go see as much as you can and then get back to work on your own stuff.

8. “it’s important to invest in analytics early to best understand how customers are reacting to your product/service.” [Link] [Tweet]

Measure. Everything. You never know what you’ll want to do with that data later on.

9. “Boy, times have changed. Today founders all over the world are going big.” [Link] [Tweet]

This. So much this.

Having driven nearly 25,000 miles around North America this year, it’s more obvious than ever that interesting scalable companies are starting everywhere and the founding teams have no interest in leaving the high quality lifestyles they enjoy outside of the existing “tech hubs.”

My bet: over the next 1-2 years, we’re going to see more investors from the coasts getting on airplanes and traveling into the Midwest. They’re going to have to get themselves to the places where entrepreneurs start if they’re going to make any money over the coming years.

10. “Traction is graded on a curve, just like in high school.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you ask anyone what traction actually means, you’ll never get a straight answer. That’s because there is no straight answer.

The key is to realize that the relative growth rate of your company is more important than the absolute growth rate.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.


Peak demo day, how to make money and how to build a superstar startup.

Happy Sunday.

Hello from Baltimore, MD… after an ~11 hour roadtrip from Knoxville, TN. For the record, it should never take 11 hours to drive between those two cities. #traffic

That being said, Knoxville was another great stop on the tech tour: great companies and a winning football team. #govols

It’s been a long day, this is going to be a short one… 

1. “It sure feels like we have reached Peak Demo Day.” [Link] [Tweet]

It’s not that there are too many demo days, it’s that they’re mostly boring.

The companies are all being taught to use the same pitch template. Even worse, some of them are asked to spend nearly six minutes on stage explaining their product.

NEWS FLASH: if someone doesn’t like / understand / want you in the first minute, it’s unlikely they’ll change their mind in the following five minutes.

Everyone should watch more demo days. Founders will make better pitches, investors will see more deals and communities can celebrate their entrepreneurs in a more sustainable way.

2. “The way you make money isn’t picking a winner. The way you make money is picking mispriced odds.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you can spare 10 minutes at some point this week, please read this article in it’s entirety (and subscribe to the newsletter). Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an investor, there’s quite a bit of wisdom packed into this.

One of my favorite sections:

Find secrets where no one else is looking. “Most big startup breakouts are where people aren’t paying attention.” Virtual reality may not be your best bet says Gurley, because “Samsung, HTC, and Facebook are all at the table.”

3. “Amongst the hardest things to find when one raises a new fund is ability to have stable capital.” [Link] [Tweet]

While it’s nice to see that there’s finally more information regarding the GP-LP relationship, the real lesson here is that founders should optimize for raising money from investors that will be around long enough to continue funding them as they grow.

4. “I had always heard it, but it had been so long since I listened.” [Link] [Tweet]

It’s never been easier to reach hundreds of thousands of people while still being unable to hold a conversation with exactly one other person.

I’ve started to turn off (errrrr…. ignore) my phone much more often. From what I can tell, it seem to frustrate people trying to reach me but I feel a little more relaxed. You should try it.

5. “they are surrendering their most likely exit options for a low-probability shot at building a superstar startup.” [Link] [Tweet]

I meet founders that are so worried about their potential valuations but little-to-no concern about what sort of exit prices they’ll need to hit in order to earn any money for themselves.

If you can understand how your investors make money, you’ll be more likely to make some for yourself.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.


The asymmetry of the investor-founder relationship, how to return an investor’s fund and the surplus of founders.

Happy Sunday.

And hello from I-81S today, en route to Knoxville for the week. I’ve spent the last ~2 weeks trying to catch up on the backlog of emails and new investments. Now it’s time to get back in the saddle…

1. “It’s pretty bad, and I know this happens for a lot of VCs.” [Link] [Tweet]

The investor-founder relationship is full of asymmetries.

The founder sees her own deal while the investor sees hundreds of deals (sometimes per month). The founder is pushing their own deal along while the investor tries to keep up with previous investments while pushing new ones through. You get the point.

The art of the follow-up is tricky. For founders trying to gain (or re-gain) the attention of investors, you need to create FOMO and greed without being pushy, needy or worse. (Easy, right?)

2. “VCs need to return a minimum of 4x the amount they’ve raised, which really means 5x.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you walk into a VC meeting without knowing the size of their latest fund, you’re setting yourself up to fail.

Businesses return funds, not ideas.

3. “You want to turn a profit, you want to build an asset you’re proud of, and you want to enjoy yourself.” [Link] [Tweet]


If you’re convinced that you can’t build a business without getting an investor onboard, you’ve clearly been reading the wrong things.

Venture capital is a tool, not a milestone, for all businesses.

4. “If you decide you want to play the VC game, just be sure to learn how the score is tallied.” [Link] [Tweet]

Defining traction is hard because every business is different. In the context of VC, it’s important to recognize that the rate of traction increase is the most important thing.

5. “California is the eighth largest economy in the world. The Midwest is the fifth.” [Link] [Tweet]

If there was a list of things I’ve been thinking but haven’t had the chance to write about, this would be it.

Having driven nearly 25,000 miles around the US and Canada this year (with another ~5,000 to go before the end of the year), there’s no doubt that the number of startups — especially fundable ones — is increasing everywhere. Sure, there’s a lot of noise to deal with as an investor but that’s part of the gig regardless of where you’re based.

I’m not sure that every other investor is going to be willing to buy a RV and drive around but I do think we’ll see more VC firms sending associates and venture partners out to demo days and tech events throughout the Midwest over the next 3-5 years.

Note: if you run an accelerator, manage a fund or are an active angel investor anywhere in the Midwest, your goal ought to be to become the most visible investor within a ~500 mile radius. Don’t worry about your home town or backyard.

6. “There isn’t a shortage of developers and designers. There’s a surplus of founders.” [Link[Tweet]


7. “We’ll remember it as the AirPod launch—a seminal moment in the advent of the voice age.” [Link] [Tweet]

OK, first things first, I have an iPhone 6 Plus and I think I’m going to keep it for now. #oldschool

We’ve got an Amazon Echo in the Airstream (and one in the apartment back in DC). Alexa isn’t perfect but, compared to Siri, she’s wayyyyyy better/smarter/faster.

I find the current version of Siri, as compared to Alexa, to be frustrating to use. Half the time I use Siri with my iPhone or Apple TV, she doesn’t understand the request. The rest of the time, the lag is so annoying that I choose not to use Siri at all.

I agree with the idea that AirPods may be the first “mainstream” product that could push us into voice computing but Apple’s got a long way to go with Siri.

8. “Over 5 weeks, meet with 100 investors to close $500k in your seed round.” [Link] [Tweet]

Sometimes I get the impression that founders think that raising money is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Or saying the right thing to the right investor. Or something else related to luck.

Raising money is a process. And, like any process, it requires a funnel. If you want to raise money, you better be ready to talk to a lot of people along the way.

9. “You can always feel when product/market fit isn’t happening.” [Link] [Tweet]

Having made this mistake in my own companies in the past: keep your team small and your burn rate ultra-low until you find PMF.

10. “Even when your job description is simple, there are ways to create new responsibilities for yourself.” [Link] [Tweet]

Whether you realize it or not, you’ll never have true job security unless you think of yourself as an entrepreneur rather than an employee, manager or whatever other title you might have currently.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.


Why you should never raise less than $1.5M, how to get into the VC industry and 50 other things you should know by now.


Happy Saturday.

And hello from DC this week where I’m on a two week staycation between tour stops (read: I’m trying to catch up on email).

While in Port Huron, MI last week, I met the Hulabed team and replaced my mattress with one of theirs. You should too, seriously. Two weeks in and I’m loving this damn thing. I should have replaced my old spring mattress a long time ago.

1. “an upper bound of $1.5 million should be enough seed funding” [Link] [Tweet]

TLDR: try to avoid raising (or investing in rounds) less than $1.5M.

2. “You don’t need to work for a VC to start doing the work that an entry-level VC does.” [Link] [Tweet]

Outside view of a VC’s day: glamor, caviar, money and private jets.
Real view of a VC’s day: 10 rough pitches, 1 tiny economy seat, 300 emails and fast food.

3. “Throughout life I’ve realized that many people are back benchers.” [Link] [Tweet]

Someone smart once told me to focus on getting people to love or hate something I’ve said. Either way, they’re thinking about what you’ve said.

The alternative, of course, is to try pleasing everyone and then being surprised when you realize that no one cares about what you’ve said at all.

4. “Business is about creating value. No value = no profits = no business. Don’t believe your own hype.” [Link] [Tweet]


5. “95% of VC’s aren’t actually earning enough ROI to justify the risk their investors (LP’s) are taking.” [Link] [Tweet]

Now that there are >300 VC firms managing funds in the US, I suspect we’ll see a shakeout similar to what’s been happening to accelerators around the world in recent years. LPs are going to be unhappy about returns, GPs will lower fees in an effort to woo them back and any of the firms that are not in the top 10 lists will likely fizzle out into obscurity.

If you’re a GP managing a small fund today, I have two tips for you:

  1. Start considering yourself a media company that happens to have a fund. You can’t afford to be a VC firm with a social media intern anymore. Your goal is to be the #1 VC within a 1,000 mile radius of your office — not your backyard.
  2. Start considering the idea that perhaps returning 3X-4X on your fund doesn’t necessarily have to be from 9 failures and 1 big win. Maybe it’s worth looking at bootstrapped companies looking to make the turn towards venture. Maybe it’s time to look at fast-follower models in deals outside your region. Regardless, you’re probably not going to make any money doing the same thing that every other failing fund is doing.

6. “Raise or don’t raise.” [Link[Tweet]

There’s a public story and a private story to every fundraise. I love this one because it’s super transparent — or appears to be anyways.

7. “will this founder be able to raise the next round?” [Link] [Tweet]

I’ve been thinking about this same idea as I’ve been driving around the US & Canada this year. I’m meeting a lot of founders that seem to have good businesses but I’m not entirely convinced they’ll know how (or what it takes) to raise their next round.

8. “These are high stakes markets where winning is everything and losing is nothing.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of people claiming to be investors (and founders) today don’t quite understand that our world is driven by the Power Law. Read about it.

9. “moderation is necessary for a happy life and behavior change isn’t always as easy as it seems.” [Link] [Tweet]

Quit social media for a month? Nope. Nope. Nope.

10. “The chemistry between co-founders—good or bad—can help propel a startup to growth, or doom it to mediocrity.” [Link] [Tweet]

You’re probably going to spend more time with your cofounder than with your family/spouse (sad, but true). Choose carefully.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!


Why growing quickly is your company’s only hope for survival, why unit economics matter and the power of public commitment.

Happy Saturday.

And hello from DC this week where I’m on a two week staycation between tour stops (read: I’m trying to catch up on email).

While in Port Huron, MI last week, I met the Hulabed team and replaced my mattress with one of theirs. You should too, seriously.

As the 2016 tour starts to wind down, I’m starting to think about the 2017 edition. What do you think I ought to be doing?

Reminder: I’m giving away a free DJI Phantom 4. Seriously. Enter here to win (it takes less than 10 seconds, I checked).

1. “If a software company grows at 20% annually, it has a 92 percent chance of ceasing to exist within a few years.” [Link] [Tweet]

As I’ve been touring around the country, one of the common arguments for not raising money is so that founders don’t feel so rushed to build a large company. The data, however, suggests that growing fast is the only way to survive regardless of whether you raise money.

2. “We should pause and stand in awe of Uber’s pace of execution and the scope of its ambition” [Link] [Tweet]

The bottom line on the Uber-Didi deal is that Uber’s still going to own 20% of new combined entity. They’re still going to “win” the Chinese market, they just don’t have to do the actual work anymore.

3. “On-demand delivery is dead. Long live on-demand delivery!” [Link] [Tweet]

Repeat after me: unit economics matter.

4. “I carry the value of co’s that I invested in at the negotiated term sheet regardless of how the company is doing.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’m absolutely convinced that encouraging angels (and angel groups) to do a quarterly markup/markdown of their portfolio would result in better returns. Someone ought to build a free spreadsheet, I’d share it.

5. “As soon as you tell people what you’re up to, an amazing effect comes into play. You become committed.” [Link] [Tweet]

Yes. So much yes. This is the #1 reason why you should never do anything in “stealth mode.”

6. “as a founder, *you* are the one that creates the value.” [Link[Tweet]

When I speak to angel investors along the tour, I always ask them one rhetorical question: where do you believe venture returns come from?

My answer: the default state of every company is failure and the only people that can turn that around are on the founding team.

7. “I still have Imposter Syndrome. I doubt I’ll ever get rid of it.” [Link] [Tweet]


8. “a company growing at 15% monthly over four years will be 8x larger than one growing at 10%.” [Link] [Tweet]

Compounding growth is sexy… but not many people realize it.

9. “business model innovation is more disruptive that technological innovation.” [Link] [Tweet]

As a founder, your goal isn’t to build a better widget from the outset. It’s to sell a widget better than the incumbents.

10. “Few people will tell you to stop trying to raise money.” [Link] [Tweet]

If I could impart one piece of advice to all the mentors and investors I’ve met along the tour this year, it would be this: sometimes the best thing you can do for the founders in your community is to tell them to stop trying to raise money.

In business, you should kill off anything that isn’t working within 30 days. Including fundraising.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!

When to consider coworking, the hardest part of building your business and when you should raise money from family offices.

Happy Friday.

And hello from Des Moines, IA this week (where the tech companies are solid, the coworking spaces are full and the heat index is 115). Next up, Port Huron, MI and then two weeks to catch my breath in DC.

On a personal note, the tour is starting to wind down — just a few more cities left to go and then we’ll wind down the 2016 tour by October and start planning the 2017 edition.I’m taking on a few consulting projects between now and the end of the year. If there’s something I can be doing to help you and/or your local tech scene between now and the end of the year, please hit reply and let’s talk about it.

Reminder: I’m giving away a free DJI Phantom 4. Seriously. Enter here to win (it takes less than 10 seconds, I checked).

1. “it’s hard to argue that Obama the human being has been anything less than a model of class and dignity.” [Link] [Tweet]

Obama’s the role model that we all should be striving to be — as entrepreneurs, leaders and humans.

2. “If this doesn’t describe you, by all means — consider coworking.” [Link] [Tweet]

Having visited 20+ cities on the tour this year, two observations on coworking spaces I’ve visited this year:

  • For most coworking spaces, nearly half of the revenue (read: membership) is comprised of employees telecommuting for larger companies. The other half of revenue is mostly comprised of entrepreneurs building their own teams and companies.
  • The rise of coworking spaces in the US over the past five years feels like it’s can be largely attributed to filling an existing gap — most telecommuters and entrepreneurs were forced to work from home or coffee shops until coworking spaces arrived. Over the next five years, I wouldn’t be surprised if the telecommuting side of the revenue stream will increase to 70%-80% of coworking revenue.

3. “Entrepreneurship is really just a fancy word for delegation.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you can get past all the paragraphs talking about laziness, the rest of this is pretty solid advice for building a company: think of it as a machine, engineer that machine to product the results you want and hire the right people to run various parts of the machine.

4“one of the hardest things about making your dream, or your business, or your blog, or whatever is just doing it.” [Link] [Tweet]

Just. Get. Started. (Also, subscribe to Waiter’s Pad if you — like me — don’t have the attention span to listen to podcasts.)

5. “Many family offices have always been Operators and that investment style pervades throughout their office.” [Link] [Tweet]

It’s no secret that more family offices are making direct investments in companies these days. The thing is, however, that they rarely start (or anchor) a round.

If you’re raising money, stick to traditional routes to start your closing (eg, warm intros, active investors, direct 1:1 meetings). Once that’s out of the way, you can use AngelList, family offices and anything else you want to close out the round.

6. “Money is overvalued. Time is undervalued. Optimize for learning quickly.” [Link[Tweet]

Sometimes I think I’ll sit down to write out things I’ve learned over the years. Then I realize it’s more interesting to read what other people have learned along the way. Then I forget that I should start writing stuff. Oh well.

7. “For Silicon Valley’s political aspirations, Mr. Thiel’s speech is the ultimate high-beta performance.” [Link] [Tweet]

So um, how about that RNC this week? #facepalm

8. “The series A market is undoubtedly in decline. The series B market is booming.” [Link] [Tweet]

Good companies always get funded. Always.

Focus on selling new accounts and growing existing accounts, everything else will work itself out.

9. “You have to either choose to be active and concentrated or passive and diversified.” [Link] [Tweet]

The most common mistakes investors make is that they’re not honest with themselves. The #1 thing I ask investors these days: where do you believe that big returns come from? (Now invest in whatever that is.)

FWIW, I believe the default state of every company is failure and only the founding team can turn that around.

10. “The talent and access to technology are there, but these markets have to overcome significant challenges.” [Link] [Tweet]

Konrad’s a friend of mine and traveling through Europe and Asia these days. His views of the tech scenes there match mine here in the US & Canada almost perfectly. Talent and opportunity are pretty evenly distributed, access to venture capital and functional expertise isn’t.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!


Which role you should hire first, why you should reading about LPs and how to value SaaS companies.

Happy Friday.

And hello from Indianapolis this week. Next up, Des Moines. And then Port Huron, MI. Come say hello.

I’m giving away an DJI Phantom 4 for free. Enter here to win (it takes less than 10 seconds, I checked).

1. “On the off chance he actually is planning to back out, what would happen?” [Link] [Tweet]


2. “Don’t be so fast to look elsewhere to build your company” [Link] [Tweet]

If I’ve learned anything on the tech tour this year, it’s not that interesting companies really can start (and grow) anywhere — I already knew that. The more interesting observation is that most cities lack the functional expertise that smart founders need.

In other words, most of the startup mentors / advisors aren’t very good (and worse, they’re often selling their own stuff to the founders).

3. “there are now so many accelerators that it’s ‘buyer beware’.” [Link] [Tweet]

Accelerators are the modern day business schools and founders ought to treat them the same way: apply to all the best ones, take the best offer you can get and be sure to understand what exactly you’re getting in return.

4“It was never by design — I was always gunning for a regular full-time job but they never arrived.” [Link] [Tweet]

I met Semil a couple of times when I was living in Silicon Valley and he’s always struck me as someone that was going to figure things out. Love that hustle.

5. “Real entrepreneurship is not risky.” [Link] [Tweet]

In contrast, I’ve never met James but I imagine he talks exactly the way he writes. Punchy and straightforward.

6. “What’s important is that we didn’t hire a marketer, but a sales guy first.” [Link[Tweet]

If you’re currently running a company and planning to make any hires this year, just hang on a minute: most founders overvalue engineers and undervalue sales. But, you’re not most founders. Get it?

7. “I wish more LPs would blog to help VCs and entrepreneurs understand them better.” [Link] [Tweet]

It’s nice to see some transparency on the LP side of the equation. Understanding how LPs (and, by extension, GPs) think is a great way for founders and investors to align their interests.

8. “Modern-society is also littered with over-networkers and over-introducers and professional conference attendees.” [Link] [Tweet]

The best people, unsurprisingly, tend to be the most protective of their networks. Protect your network and only make introductions when you have no doubt that both parties will benefit.

9. “it’s very important to note that this valuation philosophy is entirely based on growth.” [Link] [Tweet]

Despite what local investors outside of the Valley think, early stage valuations are pretty much normalized across the country. It’s the later stage rounds where things get trickier. (AngelList posts valuation data here.)

10. “there is no downside for entrepreneurs to using AngelList” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re thinking about raising money (or, from the other side of the table, thinking about investing in companies), you owe it to yourself to get on AngelList (and follow me here). In the best case, you’ll use the platform to raise money. In the worst case, you’ll see all the other important companies in your industry as they raise money. Either way, you win.

While we’re talking about it: stop connecting with people on LinkedIn. If you’re in the tech industry, you’re better off connecting with people on AngelList.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!


Why saving your way to greatness doesn’t work, how to get non-dilutive capital into your company & the unexpectedly hard part of my travels this year.

Happy Saturday.

It’s been a tough week personally and professionally, I need to get my shit together. Today, I’m in flight back to DC (nursing an incredibly stiff bloody mary, natch) for a week off the road.

I’m giving away an Amazon Echo for free. I notified the winner today, let’s hope they check their email. 🙂

An observation on the Vancouver (and perhaps the broader Canadian) tech scene: a surprising number of the newer Canadian VCs are out raising their next funds (read: third or fourth funds) at the moment. That’s probably a sign that Canadian LPs are finally starting to recognize that the next wave of wealth generation isn’t going to come from natural resources or some other “hard” business.

I want to learn more about the AR-15 platform. What should I be reading?

1. “money you invest in growing a blog, an Etsy store, or a podcast, or going carless, is retirement savings.” [Link] [Tweet]

Most people, including me, built our careers (and bet our futures) based on information we received from our parent’s generation. “You should get your MBA…”, “Don’t forget to save a lot each month…” or “Keep your resume updated…” are good examples.

If you’re reading this newsletter, the chances of you ever retiring are shrinking by the day.

The world’s different now. Every business is in tech. You can’t always save your way to safety. We’re all media companies now.

Not everyone needs to be a founder but all of us need to be entrepreneurial.

2. “if your business generates $7,500 in revenue per month, you should ditch Stripe for Paypal.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re processing credit card transactions, ignore the title of the article and scroll down to the working capital part.

Travis is super smart (disclosure: I invested in his company via 500 Startups) to be using their platform to get the money he needs to grow faster.

The point: selling equity isn’t the only way to grow your business when your ambitions are larger than your cash flows.

3. “This is why once you’ve traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again.” [Link] [Tweet]

I find myself nodding violently in agreement. My tech tour has been harder than I could have imagined but only in ways that I never thought about in the first place.

4“Most people have all the apps they want and/or need. They’re not looking for new ones.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re working on a mobile app, please stop now. Building an app isn’t enough anymore.

If you want to make something people want (to download, to buy, to use), you need to watch what they do.

5. “If you’re talking to a VC, you should find out how decision-making happens.” [Link] [Tweet]

People > Firms. Faces > Logos.

If you choose to go down the path of raising VC, you need to understand how the dynamics work inside the firm. Good news: the best firms are extremely transparent. All you have to do is ask.

6. “The magic lies in being brave enough to even dare to start small.” [Link[Tweet]

One test I ask of every entrepreneur I meet: “who is your target customer?”

Answers that include “anyone” or “everyone” are instantaneous red flags. The conversation rarely continues.

7. “Growth creates complexity, and complexity is the silent killer of growth.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you want to succeed in business and in life: entrepreneurship.

That doesn’t mean you have to start a company. Whether you’re freelancing or your working in a cubicle, thinking entrepreneurially is the best thing you could be doing for yourself (and your company / clients).

8. “VCs can afford to get a few decisions wrong. Entrepreneurs can’t.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for more than a few weeks now, I sound like a broken record: if you want to raise money, you need to understand the industry. It’s much simpler than you probably think and it’s the best way to improve your chances of a successful fundraise.

9. “Startups resort to jargon in order to sound more interesting than they actually are.” [Link] [Tweet]

Talk to me like a human. Talk to me like a friend. Talk to me like a second grader.

In the worst case, we actually become friends. In the best case, we become friends and I invest in your company.

Stop working on your pitch decks and jargon. Start working on your likability, your charisma and your storytelling.

10. “1M miles add to that total every 10 hours with data collected from 70,000 Teslas with autopilot gear on the road.” [Link] [Tweet]

Think about that for a second: there are tens of thousands of cars currently mapping roads all around the world and all of them are privately owned.

We’re living in the future, y’all.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!


Bad news: I’m cancelling (and refunding) the Brain Trust


I’m sorry for the radio silence lately. These past few weeks have gotten away from me personally and professionally.

The Brain Trust was an experiment to see whether you’d find value in joining a live video call with other experts. In that way, it was a success. The problem is that I’m stretched a bit too thin (and, admittedly, a little too disorganized) to make this happen on a weekly basis.

I’m going to refund your last payments (you should see those hit your cards in 2-3 business days usually) and I’m going to try spending more time in the Slackcommunity. I hope you will too.

Thanks for jumping into the Brain Trust with me — I’m sorry I let you down.


P.S. if you have smart friends / coworkers / peers that should be part of the community please send this link to them:

P.P.S. come hang with me in-person on the North American Tech Tour or follow my firehose on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

How to raise money in 2016, why your round has been open for four months and how investors decide to invest in your company.

Happy Saturday.

I’m on the move again. I left Fargo, ND on Friday night (after a solid tech tour week), spent the night just outside Theodore Roosevelt National Forest (uh, that place is gorgeous — check it out on Snapchat before it disappears), dropped the Airstream off in Bozeman, MT today and am en route to DC tonight. I’ll be hanging at Metabridge in Kelowna, BC next week (*cough* I’m parking the Airstream next to a helicopter *cough*) and I hope to see you there.

I’m giving away an Amazon Echo for free. You’re already reading this newsletter, so there’s no catch. Head over here and enter to win. Here’s that URL for you once again:

One observation after spending the week in Fargo & Grand Forks, ND: the drone industry is saturated with hardcore technologists that want to build cool drones OR forward-looking pilots that just want to fly more stuff. Where are the hustlers that want to actually build a venture-scale business? Discuss.

1. “appears to be just another Honda Civic driving for Lyft—until you notice it has Congressional license plates.” [Link] [Tweet]

It was only a matter of time before someone in a politician’s family tried to use license plates with special privileges while they made some extra money on the side. I’m surprised this didn’t get more coverage in DC’s local news.

2. “The older I get, the less sure of myself I become. Certainty, it seems, diminishes with age.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’m not a fan of long reads but this one’s good. I love that he’s found a way to integrate his personal and professional lives so completely — while also giving Geraldine all the credit she deserves along the way too.

3. “make sure you aren’t opening up a sweatshop in the middle of the country.” [Link] [Tweet]

Has anyone publicly been tracking tech companies that have opened new offices in other cities and tried to identify the types of jobs they’re creating in those new cities? (Off the top of my head, I recall Uber opening an engineering-heavy office in Pittsburgh and Vaynermedia opening some sort of new office in Chattanooga…)

4“Raise now. Be humble. Build something great. Don’t worry.” [Link] [Tweet]

Ignore the advice (for now) and spend a few minutes trying to understand all the moving pieces in the venture world. Whether you like it or not (and whether you raise money or not), it affects you.

5. “if the only thing that keeps you going is success still out of grasp you’re gonna hit a wall at some point.” [Link] [Tweet]

Yep, I hit this wall last year — it was rough. Not gonna let that happen again.

6. “The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments.” [Link[Tweet]

Interesting: “the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher.”

It seems that the costs of education are rising because more people than ever are choosing to go to college and college institutions are increasing their administrations (as opposed to their faculty) in size and pay. Am I reading that right?

7. “You are wasting your time because you aren’t prepared and the timing is likely off.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you know anyone that’s been trying to raise their round for more than two months without a single closing, please tell them to stop. Now. (You wouldn’t believe how often I meet founders around North America that have had their rounds open for 4+ months with $0 coming in the door.)

8. “Pick your investors correctly.  Don’t pitch larger seed stage venture funds.” [Link] [Tweet]

Again: founders need to spend more time understanding how the money going into the venture industry works. Given how transparent the venture industry has become, I still can’t believe how often I meet founders on the tech tour that still view investors as some sort of bank.

9. “it’s the best way I can describe my early-stage investments.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’m stealing the “mission-driven, commercially-focused” line from this one — it’s perfect.

10. “The power law that benefits old TV media, however, will make its downfall that much more dramatic.” [Link] [Tweet]

The key lesson here: it takes a long time to build something new and an incredibly short amount of time to destroy something old. Incumbents beware.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me in the Brain Trust, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!