How to be a successful angel investor, controlling your future and spending time together in DC / Vancouver next week.

Happy Friday.

I’m in Ashburn, VA today and heading to Vancouver, BC on Sunday evening. If you’re around, I’m doing a fireside chat and scotch tasting with the Profile Coworking team on Monday night. (If the event is full, reply here and let me know. Depending on how many responses I get, I might pull together a separate event.)

The Airstream’s coming along nicely and my 2016 tech tour is getting even more stops as you read this. More signup links for all of the events I’ll be attending, hosting or speaking at in each location will be added shortly. (And yes, that is a picture of my truck and trailer — I’ll be adding more too.) 

If you’re in the DC Metro area next Thursday, Jan 21, join me at a popup coworking event I’m hosting in Ashburn, VA. The more, the merrier. 

1. “Another prediction for 2016: bootstrapping will be cool again.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re based in the Valley, NYC or any other tech hub, all the talk about unicorns, bubbles and corrections is probably old (and boring) to you. If you live outside of those places, you should read this.

Everywhere I go, smart founders and investors point to the existing tech hubs as “the best” place to raise money and, when you read all the funding news that comes out each day, it’s hard to argue with them.

If you’re having a hard time raising money, the problem is either your business or your pitch (or probably both). If your first reaction is to blame the lack of investors, you’re doing it wrong.

2. “The pressure to offer lower and lower rates led to an arms race for super-massive, super-efficient ships.” [Link] [Tweet]

Dat ship tho.

3. “Life is more fun when you don’t compare.” [Link] [Tweet]

Seth Godin’s daily newsletter is one of the few things I read every day. Some times it’s a bit out there but, most of the time, it’s really good. This is the latter.

4. “Most people in the startup world aren’t founders, but most written advice is for them.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re thinking about joining a startup, download the ebook and start reading. If your compensation package includes stock options, read this.

5. “Don’t try to satisfy everyone too soon.  Do your thing, do it well, and find true believers.” [Link] [Tweet]

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on a niche. In fact, it’s exactly what you should be doing at the earliest stages of your company. The real challenge is knowing when to pivot versus when to expand to the next niche.

6. “To be a successful angel investor, you have to make a lot of investments.” [Link] [Tweet]

Having hosted a number of angel investing workshops, it still surprises me how often people think successful angel investing is about picking “the one” right startup.

The real trick to angel investing is to wiggle your way into the most promising investment opportunities at least 10-20 times each year and hope that you don’t run out of money while you wait for one of your investments to mature.

7. “that first kilowatt of electricity someone gets is worth an awful lot because they go from darkness to light” [Link] [Tweet]

If I was 10 years younger (read: had more patience), I’d move to India to help solve problems like this. Instead, I read about other people doing the noble work of trying to bring electricity, water and other basics to the poor.

At the risk of sounding a bit insensitive, I have to admit that moving into my Airstreamhas forced me to recognize how wasteful I’ve been with water, electricity and waste. It really is eye-opening to watch the on-board gauges move when I’m doing even the simplest of things.

8. “the internet age will have substantial impact on how we use that most precious of resources: time.” [Link] [Tweet]

Two thoughts:

  • It seems that we, as a society, haven’t changed much: we’re always looking for a distraction. This time, it fits in our pocket.
  • The last time the Fed raised the interest rate (old news, I know), iPhones didn’t exist and many people were still trying to figure out if the internet was a fad.

9. “Control your future. It makes fundraising much easier.” [Link] [Tweet]

Regardless of which predictions you believe, this is probably the best advice you can take. Assume you won’t raise money. Assume your sales projections are too optimistic. Assume you’ll lose your biggest customer.

Then get back to work.

10. “It’s the internet’s scale that makes the cultural use of the term so useless” [Link] [Tweet]

“As individuals, we construct our own private corners of the internet, believing ourselves to be in touch and of the moment. The least we could do is acknowledge life in its complexity—and stop talking about “the internet” as if the term still contains any meaning at 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 on Slack, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!


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