The purpose of all VC meetings, your (lack of) soft skills and learning how to speak publicly

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Happy Friday.
(Hello from Durham, NC today where I’m spending the day with Chris Heivly and the Triangle Startup Factory team. Also, I’m looking for BBQ y’all.)1. “I’m starting a (free) email course on public speaking for founders and entrepreneurs.” [Link] [Tweet]Three things:

  1. You people are awesome. I asked a simple question last week to gauge interest in a public speaking course and you overwhelmed me with your thoughts. Thank you.
  2. Public Speaking for Founders and Entrepreneurs is now available — it’s a (free) 5-week email course. There’s a community component to the class so please sign up by September 21 to get in on the action. I don’t know when I’ll offer the class again so please get in before the cutoff date, I won’t be letting stragglers in after 9/21. Sign up here.
  3. Before you ask: you made this my #1 engaged tweet (and link) this week, thank you. I usually put all my own stuff down below the weekly content but, since you made this the #1 thing this week, I don’t feel awkward putting my own course at the top.

2. “if you want to change the world (or even just grow a company) you must get things done.”  [Link] [Tweet]A very wise man once told me “very few people get paid for ideas and you are probably not one of them.” (I’m looking at you, Vid.) So I invested in his company.

Pro tip: if you’re starting your personal or professional pitch with “we’re going to change the world” rather than hard facts about what you’ve already accomplished, you likely won’t.

Regardless of whether you want to make a ton of money, create a lot of jobs or change the world, you need to get things done. It’s surprising how many people forget that simple fact.

3. “AVs are the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists.” [Link] [Tweet]

This is a (long and) thought-provoking piece. Despite the fact that autonomous cars will likely make driving (er… riding?) safer and more economical, there are a lot pieces that still need to be figured out.

How does the police “pull over” an autonomous car? How do we prevent bad actors from using autonomous cars from carrying out “unmanned” terrorist acts?

If you’re a lawmaker, the next few years are going to be especially tricky. Good luck. (How does one get into politics and lawmaking any way? I digress.)

4. “We may start companies with our friends, but we don’t become friends with our co-workers.” [Link] [Tweet]This is fascinating: “Focusing our friendship efforts outside work isn’t the norm around the world. In surveys across three countries, Americans reported inviting 32 percent of their closest colleagues to their homes, compared with 66 percent in Poland and 71 percent in India. Americans have gone on vacation with 6 percent of their closest co-workers, versus 25 percent in Poland and 45 percent in India.”

For my Indian friends: make me dinner and take me on vacation with you. (I assume you’re paying, right?)

5. “eSports is big, bigger than you imagine.” [Link] [Tweet]

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Chris in person (back when he was working on Startup Digest, I believe) but I love these ecosystem maps he’s pulling together. Very useful.

6. “Talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.” [Link] [Tweet]Ugh. Let’s blame VCs for the lack of capital outside Silicon Valley / NYC. No need to consider that those founders may not be competing at a high enough level or that LPs may have no interest in those markets.

<soapbox>

Look, maybe investors are to blame — but only partly. Founders everywhere need to step their game up and learn to communicate more effectively and broadly. LPs need to understand that companies can emerge from anywhere.

Because here’s the thing:

  1. VCs, by definition, are managing LP money. If the LP doesn’t have an appetite for investing outside the Valley, you can bet that the VC won’t either. Call it the tail wagging the dog or call it the reality of venture capital.
  2. Founders are quick to blame VCs for not “getting” their amazing business — it’s always easy to blame the other party. How about really understanding the market you’re competing in? How about learning how to communicate and inspire other people? More fundamentally, how about building a business that no one can ignore?

Everyone needs to step up their game: angels, accelerators, VCs, LPs and founders.Everyone.

</soapbox>

7. “Trump isn’t exactly self-made—he inherited substantial wealth from his father—but he is definitely self-invented.” [Link] [Tweet]I hate to admit that I kind of respect Trump: the dude is a marketing and media machine. You couldn’t pay for the amount of coverage he’s getting these days and, in a presidential election, that’s a pretty important thing.

8. “the soft-skills millenials don’t have may be absent because their first job out of college is their first job ever.” [Link] [Tweet]”Good social skills aren’t just about getting along with your boss or peers, it is communicating and connecting with people of all skills levels and backgrounds.” This.

If you’re in high school or college, do whatever it takes to join a venture-funded company and try to do as many jobs internally as they’ll allow you. After six months, you’ll likely have experienced more than your peers will see in two years of a “regular” job.

9. “It has become the beginning of a long goodbye.” [Link] [Tweet]Life is beautiful.

10. “The purpose of all VC meetings is to get another meeting.” [Link] [Tweet]You kids probably don’t remember the days when the VC industry was opaque. Transparency (and the Internet) FTW! (I fear that I may be turning into a bit of a curmudgeon at my age. The mid-thirties are a bitch.)

I’m coming for you

I’m on the road again: Durham, NC, Victoria, BC, Vancouver, BC, Lincoln, NE, Madrid, SP, Lagos, NG, Chattanooga, TN (coupon code: PaulSingh) 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. You can always find me on Slack, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!
-P

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