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.