In my recent post “Why Am I So Lucky? Why You Need to Be Sure You’re Not the Sucker” I talked about how VCs (or other investors) get deals sent to them and how to interpret a referral.
I tried to make a simple point: People have motives when they send you a deal. Sometimes those motives are positive (they really want the chance to work with you, they think you have unique skills) and sometimes they are less positive (their first-tier of “go to” referrals passed on the deal, they don’t want to write another check themselves, etc.).
As I said in the post, I really appreciate referrals and I take meetings introduced to me from a wide variety of people. I simply wanted to make the point that if a deal referral seems “too good to be true” it probably is. If the deal is from out of your geography and/or out of your focus area or a deal is being referred by a well-know investor who normally co-invests with similar syndicates – at least ask yourself, “Why am I so lucky to be getting this call.”
Finally, I mentioned the case of an angel investor friend of mine who had a very senior industry professional contact him on LinkedIn to try and raise $500,000. My friend is very accomplished (much more than I) but he is relatively unknown in certain tech & digital media crowds. I advised him to start that conversation with a bit of skepticism.
Many people understood this thesis but some took it to mean more than I had intended. What I didn’t say was I was looking for my deals to all come through well-known investors, be “club deals,” or have positive signals.
In fact, I have a long history of saying the opposite.
I wrote here about the
I’m a cynic by nature. And I think it pays to be so. I sometimes wish I were an unbridled, happy-go-lucky, assume-the-best-in-everybody sort of chappy. Sadly, I’m not.
You know the old Groucho Marx saying, “I would never join a club that would accept me as a member.” I always loved that line. So whenever I get a deal sent my way that is from out of town and seems amazing but seems almost too good to be true, my first thought is always, “Why am I so lucky?”
It’s a standard line I use at our partners meetings.
It’s not that I lack confidence. I’m usually accused of the opposite. It’s just that I never want to be The Sucker at the Table.
I got a call a few years ago from a well-known investor up North. It was the first time he had ever called me. Their firm is one of those that you think of when you think of Silicon Valley. I didn’t remember getting the calls on all of his super big, high profile deals.
If you follow the tech media you would be subject to a lot of narrative biases that are completely off base – and this includes the value of email and phone calls.
Tech news keeps proclaiming “phone calls are dead,” which is useful except that the data suggests the exact opposite. Calls are changing but not dying.
All the data actually suggests with the growth of mobile, inbound sales calls will double from 30 billion to 60 billion in 3 years (source: Kelsey)
In fact 61% of all mobile searches where a customer contacts a business it is via a phone call (source: Google). Much more data in the full post.
It’s why the first company I ever invested in as a VC – Invoca – just announced a $20 million funding by Accel Partners. They have grown at a 200% CAGR over the past 4 years
Yesterday I wrote a post about “growth hacking” and why I thought it was wrong that people were hating on the term unnecessarily. It’s worth a quick read.
My argument is pretty simple. If you’re a technology startup you need to excel at product, of course. But being best-in-class at online marketing is also a sine qua non to standout from your peer group.
The starting point of product IS marketing, which is what a lot of young entrepreneurs that never studied business don’t realize. It’s building a product that is substantially differentiated, and, as Bill Gross, one of the most prolific tech entrepreneurs of our era says, “
There’s an article making the rounds in tech circles titled “Growth Hacking is Bull” written by Muhammad Saleem. I’d like to make the case that the article is wrong.
I’d strongly encourage you to read it. I actually really enjoyed many of the points Muhammad made about marketing in general and I found myself nodding through the entirety of the article except for it’s core premise.
He believes that the term “growth hacking” is misleading and potentially dangerous and in stead endorses good old fashioned online marketing techniques. Avoid the spin, stay heads down and deliver the goods.
I believe growth hacking is about all of this. Plus. It’s about looking out for and catching the next major marketing wave before others have grokked it.