How to become a VC, thoughts of the future and articulating what’s next.

Happy Friday.
(No travel this week, hello from Ashburn today where I’m stocking up on travel size toiletries in prep for the next few weeks of travel. More on that later, let’s focus on you: I’m kicking around the idea of teaching you everything I’ve learned on public speaking.Interested? Scroll to the bottom of this email to learn more.)

1. “If you’re an entrepreneur considering the move to VC via a non-traditional route, here’s my advice: Do your homework” [Link] [Tweet]

Apparently, everyone wants to be a VC these days. Here’s the thing though: it’s easier than ever to become a VC (or an angel investor) but it’s harder than ever to be good at it.

If you insist on getting your feet wet, skip the traditional path entirely (eg, get into a firm as an Associate and work your way up through the years) and start looking into AngelList Syndicates. As little as $1K will get you into the deals of many high profile investors and I can’t think of any other way for you to get a huge amount of experience with very little capital exposure. Bonus: you can tell your friends you’re an active angel investor which is why you want to do this anyway, right?

2. “I should be happy. Instead, I find myself constantly preoccupied with thoughts of the future.” [Link] [Tweet]

A couple of things:

  1. If you love cars, you should read this. With all the talk of electric cars and the future of transportation, I can’t help but wonder how much of our history we might be losing. Call me nostalgic but I want to teach my daughter how to pump gas and change her own oil someday. Given the way things are going, maybe I’ll just have to keep my pick-up truck handy so she has something greasy to learn on.
  2. Bookmark this article and refer to it when you start your next job. I can’t recall ever seeing anyone writing something this detailed and, at the risk of sounding like a fanboy, passionate. It’s a compelling reminder to all of us that we should be swinging for the fences. I was personally moved by this statement: “Our world is full of truly incredible tales waiting to be told, not just in the realm of cars but in every subject we cover. So that will be the primary goal of Jalopnik moving forward: to tell great stories about speed.”

3. “It’s easier to articulate why you want to leave a job; it’s much harder to articulate to where you want to go next.” [Link] [Tweet]

The most rewarding part of being a VC is watching founders grow — personally and professionally — as their company matures. Unfortunately, that includes watching them stumble more often than is discussed on tech blogs these days.

It’s easier said than done but take care of yourselves. You’re building the future, you deserve to be happy — try not to forget that.

4. “you should understand LPs, because they play a bigger role in the venture stack than most startups realize.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’m convinced that if more founders truly understood how venture funds actually worked, everyone would be happier. After all, you should always understand how the other person makes money — only suckers take deals blindly.

5. “They are Goldman Sachs with guns—not to mention knives, bazooka launchers, sniper rifles, and assassins.” [Link] [Tweet]

Filed under only-in-Japan: “Other sources of gang discontent are increasingly odious restrictions on the use of gang business cards and the emblem.”

6. “The next adventure is waiting just around the corner — provided that you want to find it.” [Link] [Tweet]

This girl’s living on a train and all I can think about is how I’d continue using my safety razor every morning without slicing through my jugular. Also, adventures y’all — you got to live a little. (Have I told you about my Airstream idea recently? I digress…)

7. “The tech world doesn’t celebrate our kind of victory.” [Link] [Tweet]

“Doing a startup” and raising money have, for some reason, become the cool thing to do. This is a refreshing look at building a great business the old fashioned way “where unless your customers confirm your value in the form of real dollars, you don’t make it.”

8. “why wouldn’t I spend more time in a world where there are more people that ‘like’ me, wouldn’t you?” [Link] [Tweet]

Watch the embedded video, it’s moving.

9. “This represents about two-thirds of Facebook’s user base.” [Link] [Tweet]

1 billion people used Facebook on a single day. How did that not get more mainstream press? (Oh wait, probably because Donald Trump is running for President. Sigh.) ONE. BILLION. PEOPLE.

10. “when anything grows at the rate of a successful startup, the Y axis will take care of itself.” [Link] [Tweet]

PG wrote this, you should probably read it.

On Public Speaking (for Founders and Entrepreneurs)

On a crowded internet, the best UX/UI usually wins. In a crowded world, the best communicators usually win. I want to help you win.

Five years ago, I was a new (and young) VC with no brand, no history and no public speaking skills. I forced myself to get one one public stage somewhere on the planet each month and, despite my many embarrassing mistakes, I systematically improved my public speaking skills.

Since then, I’ve spoken to small audiences in rural Mexico, large multi-thousand person audiences in India and even did a commencement speech for a major U.S. university. It turns out, public speaking is a learned skill and one of the lowest-effort-highest-ROI skills anyone can have. Anyone can do it and, frankly, I wish I started 10 years ago.

I’m kicking around the idea of teaching you what I’ve learned — and spare you all the embarrassing mistakes I’ve made through the years. Interested?

On Books That Make You Smarter
I asked you about your favorite books last week and nearly a hundred of you replied. It seems that the two top recommended books are Zero to One and The 4 Hour Body. The latter has an entire chapter to improving your orgasms, I’m sure that had nothing to do with anything.

Apple Watch Week 6

I’m leaning into this thing, I think I’m going to pull the trigger. I’m finding that I get the most utility out of the Apple Watch in the place that I thought I’d use it the least: at home.

These days, I can plug my phone in the corner and forget about it. I can focus on my daughter or the conversation/task at hand and know that important things will pop on my watch. That alone is worth it.

Thanks (again) to Russell Rosenblum and Ed Pizzarello of RMR Capital for letting me borrow your Apple Watch for a bit.

Miscellaneous

1. The #resultsjunkies community is cranking along nicely. Hundreds of you applied and I’ve brought 33 of you into the fold for now. We’ve got a good group of investors and founders that represent billions of dollars of capital. Unsurprisingly, the conversations have been tactical and incredibly interesting. Apply to join. (Flattery might work on me.)
2. I was interviewed on the Inside/Outside podcast this week and someone said my voice was soothing. Listen here.
3. I’m about to hit the road again for the next few weeks: Durham, NC, Victoria, BC, Vancouver, BC, Lincoln, NE, Madrid, SP, Lagos, NG and a bunch of other interesting places. If there’s cool stuff happening in your neck of the woods, let me know ASAP — let’s get it on the calendar, I want to see how startups are growing in your neck of the woods.

Firehose

You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too.

Have a great weekend!
-P

P.S. If you loved this newsletter, share it with a friend. If you hated this newsletter, share it with an enemy.

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