Hello from 31,995 feet today. I’m en route to Guadalajara, MX to speak at Startup Weekend before heading to Madrid again for a keynote at the IE Venture Day this Thursday. Racking up those miles, y’all. I’d love to come spend a week with you in 2016, scroll to the bottom to learn more.
1. “Guess what is often the worst slide in an investor pitch deck?” [Link] [Tweet]
It makes me sad when founders don’t take 10 seconds to Google for pitch decks of other companies before pulling their own decks together. Many 500 demo day pitch decks (and the pitch videos) are posted on Slideshare. Other investors are doing the same with their portfolio companies and there’s a wealth of information that can be pulled from AngelList (eg, who funded other companies in the space, how many companies are aiming for a particular market, etc).
It doesn’t matter if you’re a founder or an investor: it’s 2015, there’s no excuse for bad pitches or not knowing the market.
2. Do you speak VC? 30+ jargons and acronyms you should know. [Link] [Tweet]
It’s easy to get lost in the jargon that comes along with running a business. You should probably bookmark this.
While you’re at it, take a look at the definition of GMV and see if it lines up with what you’ve been defining as revenue.
3. “I am all screwed up and it’s not something your body gets used to.” [Link] [Tweet]
I can’t imagine doing these types of commutes routinely but a growing number of careers today benefit from (and sometimes require) a little more face-to-face time.
Regardless of whether you’re a freelancer or working at a Fortune 500 company, it’s extremely important for you to be thinking entrepreneurially. These people chose long commutes rather than uprooting their families. What are you willing to do?
4. A data genius computes the ultimate American road trip [Link] [Tweet]
I’m a sucker for road trips. Scroll further down this email to see what I’ve got in store for 2016. Hint: it involves road trips. And possibly an Airstream.
5. “few of them have the cutting-edge abilities that startups crave.” [Link] [Tweet]
This isn’t just a problem for startups in India, it’s an everywhere problem.
As more investors — especially Silicon Valley focused angels and VCs — begin to pump money into startups outside the major tech hubs (eg, Silicon Valley, NYC, etc), I’m seeing this much more often.
I’ve met founders in places like Tennessee, Madrid, Detroit and Bangalore that have raised millions of dollars from Silicon Valley investors but then have a challenge finding enough talent locally (or willing to relocate to these places) to fill the slots on their hiring plans.
I suppose remote work could be the answer but, for high growth companies especially, it’s extremely hard to replicate the face-to-face interactions that enable the real magic to happen.
6. “Don’t give orders. Give outcomes.” [Link] [Tweet]
Managing people is hard but managing entrepreneurial people is even harder. Mostly because entrepreneurs don’t thrive under management, they excel with leadership.
Something I tell every entrepreneurially-minded person I’ve ever hired: “I’m not asking you to give me the next 20 years of your life, I’m asking you to give me the next 12-18 months. In exchange, you’ll gain more experience in those 12-18 months than most people get in their entire careers.” Then listen to what they say next.
7. “The route covers 12,299 miles, stops in 28 states and passes through 40.” [Link] [Tweet]
Have I mentioned that I love road trips? (Yes, that’s the second mention this week — so apparently you all love road trips too.) I’m starting to thinking about my 2016 travels and road trips are going to be a big part of them. Scroll down to learn more.
8. “It’s infinitely more competitive for emerging apps to compete for limited/fixed consumer appetite for app usage” [Link] [Tweet]
If you’re thinking about building a mobile app (and possibly basing your business around it entirely), this section sums it all up nicely: “The number of mobile apps is skyrocketing. We, the consumers, aren’t using any more apps than we used to. Our home screens are dominated by well-funded, multi-billion dollar apps. It’s infinitely more competitive for emerging apps to compete for limited/fixed consumer appetite for app usage. Your new consumer-facing app is gonna die.”
9. “Sometimes, it takes the cold, harsh truth to burst your cozy bubble.” [Link] [Tweet]
We’re all selling something, including ourselves. Do it right.
10. “It is impossible to short the current perceived tech bubble. The only way is to choose not to invest.” [Link] [Tweet]
It’s worth understanding how monetary policy affects your angel investors and VCs. That money you’re trying to raise isn’t free, you know.
Can I spend a week with you in 2016?
I’ve spent the last few years jetting in/out of places for keynotes and demo days. It’s an effective way for me, as an investor, to meet the maximum amount of companies in the shortest amount of time. I want to give back to local tech communities in 2016.
Here’s the general idea: I’ll come spend a week in your community and we’ll put together a week full of office hours, tech meetups, keynotes and fun. I might even bring some other investors with me to help.
In exchange, you cover my costs and help me figure out how to best help your tech community. Bonus: I might do it all in an Airstream. 🙂
I’m only going to do 6 of these week-long trips in 2016, please fill this out ASAP if you think I can help your local tech community.
I (and a few of my well known angel and VC friends) meet hundreds, if not thousands, of startups around the world each year. I’m considering opening up the notes we take during these meetings so that other founders and investors might learn (and help us learn).
To be clear, the Vault will never contain confidential information that we receive from a startup (eg, financials, trade secrets, etc) — just our thoughts as professional investors.
Fill this out if you’re interested in getting access to the Vault.
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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