Bothsides of the Table


I love Twitter.

So far I’m loving Meerkat, too. It’s brand new but the enthusiasm that’s been seen for such an early product is truly awesome. I ran a VC AMA (ask me anything) last Monday on Meerkat and had > 1,000 simultaneous people asking me questions. The energy was electric so I’m going to do it again this coming week.

You may have read that Twitter has now made it harder for Meerkat to operate. As a user I felt immediately frustrated by this move and said so, in stead wishing that Twitter would win based on innovation.

If Twitter believes @periscopeco is a better product why not just try to win on that basis? They already have home court advantage

— Mark Suster (@msuster) March 14, 2015

But the beautiful thing about Twitter in the first place – a bit like the beauty of democracy itself – is that it lets you spout off your opinion and then watch it debated in the public square. And on reflection I have slightly more balanced views. For me that’s a win. So here is the conclusion I’ve come to:

1. I’m rooting for Meerkat to succeed as an independent network

The energy created by livestream video is awesome. For years when I recorded my YouTube show “This Week in VC” (now BothSides TV) one of the most magic parts was the people who watched the show live and could ask questions in realtime. It created an energy on the show that doesn’t exist without it.

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I write about sales often both because it’s the lifeblood of any organization and because in my experience it is the area in which more startups are least experienced or inclined. I also write and talk about it frequently because raising capital is a part of sales and this is important for entrepreneurs to understand.

To make it simple and easy to remember – there are three basic rules of sales:

1. Why Buy Anything?
2. Why Buy Me?
3. Why Buy Now?

This post will cover the first.

If you ask any experienced sales leader they’ll tell you there are three things to know about being effective at sales: Qualify, qualify, qualify. This is simply because sales people have limited time and  can’t afford to waste time with anybody who isn’t likely to buy from them in the near term.

But how do you qualify?

Do you have a problem I could solve?

The starting point is to ask yourself whether the person you’re dealing with has a problem that is solved by the solution you offer. If they don’t – you simply won’t sell anything. That’s why many great sales starts with generating inbound marketing leads.

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The Magic Moment of Meerkat

The Magic Moment of Meerkat


Posted on Mar 7, 2015 | 0 comments

Ok. If you work in tech this week you’ve no doubt heard much of this new app called Meerkat.

In case you’ve spent the week living under a rock, Meerkat is an app integrated (currently) with Twitter in which if you click on the link of somebody who shares a “Meerkat Stream” you will be transported into a live session of their phone streaming. You can also watch in the Meerkat app linked above and participate in a realtime conversation with other people in that particular stream.

Meerkat is magical.

Let me get this out of the way: I’m not an investor in Meerkat. And given how quick Silicon Valley throws money at people at things that have rapid and massive adoption (Turntable.fm, Yo!, Ello, Secret, etc) I am not likely to become an investor. I state that so you can take what I say next a little bit more seriously.

People are addicted to the experience in a way I haven’t seen since the early days of Twitter or Quora. Now, I’m not saying that it will last, I’m not saying that there aren’t other alternatives, I’m not saying that Twitter won’t try to squash them for riding on their back of their social graph.

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If you are a 20-something tech entrepreneur you could be forgiven for thinking that seed-stage investors, Angellist Syndicates and widely available angel money always existed. It is, of course, a very recent phenomenon.

Let me take you back just 10 years ago to 2005 in Silicon Valley where I returned after 11 years of living in Europe. I was out to raise my first seed money in my second startup of $500,000. I began asking around who the likely investors were for such a market. At the time almost nobody had heard of the following funds: FirstRound Capital, TrueVentures, Floodgate and SoftTech. I think they were all brand new or just forming.

Firms like Baseline, Felicis, ff Ventures, Founder Collective, Freestyle, HomeBrew, IA Ventures, K9, Lowercase, NextView, Resolute, Rincon, Crosscut and the countless other great firms we all now know didn’t exist. Neither did Y Combinator, 500 Startups, TechStars, Amplify, Mucker and countless others.

There was Ron Conway (SV Angel) – I think there was always Ron Conway! one of the godfather’s of our industry. And some angels running around like Reid Hoffman & Keith Rabois. But not many others.

If you want to understand the software trend that drove

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A shortened, better edited and with nicer pictures version of this post first appeared on TechCrunch. But if you want it in it’s full V1 glory read on …

You’ve never been a CEO but might like to be one some day. But how? Nobody sees you as a CEO since you’ve never been one? I wrote this conundrum and the need to take charge of how the market define your skills in my much-read blog post on “personal branding.”  If you don’t create the message about yourself, the market will. And if you want to be a CEO one day you need the messaging to reflect that.

The strange thing is that once you’ve been a CEO even one time the market will see always see you as a CEO but nobody really wants to give a new-comer chance.

Of course you could start your own company. For many people that’s the right answer. As I talked about in “

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