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Venture Hacks

There’s very little innovation in VC. I’m starting a new project to fix that and there’s room for one founding engineer.
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“So all the agreements and such are only as solid as the performance of the business. They can all get torn up in a nanosecond if things don’t go well.” - @fredwilson
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Just finished reading "Pitching Hacks" by @naval and @nivi… So many golden nuggets in here for founders looking for 💲.
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Formula for a successful entrepreneur. Can build or sell with the best. Doesn’t give up. Knows when to pivot. The end.
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Product, traction, team, social proof. There's no better résumé for a startup.
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The goal of the ‘How to Get Rich’ podcast is to make timeless material, not to sell ads or keep you listening.…
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New post: A little behind the scenes of the ‘How to Get Rich’ podcast.…
If Lyft is trading down when the lockup expires, the IRS still takes their cut at $78.29 a share. That means employee tax rates are different (worse) than what you might expect. At today's close of $59.90, the effective tax on employee RSUs (assuming 45% marginal rate) is 59%.
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If you’re ready for a Series A, your seed investors will be begging to introduce you to VCs. That’s how’s they avoid getting boxed out of the round by the new investors. h/t @jake_zeller
If it’s not obvious by now, all but a handful of VCs are going to get crushed by operators like Andreessen, Sacks and Rabois.
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Writing is a design problem. Dieter Rams: “Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design.”
Kill your darlings. Delete beautiful ideas and phrases if they don’t help the reader.
Scrutinize every word for bias and rhetoric. Are they an ‘unruly mob’ or ‘patriots’? Perhaps neither—just call them by their name.
Avoid adjectives. Use numbers instead. An adjective is an admission that you don’t know the number.
Delete half the words. Say more with less. “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
Writing is rewriting. Spend most of your time rewriting and reorganizing—sweat the details.
Start with a summary. A good summary absolves the reader from reading further. But they will still want to.
Don’t write your thought process. The final draft shouldn’t mimic the path you took to come up with the idea.
Email it to yourself and read it on your phone. You’ll see the words with fresh eyes.
Sum up your thoughts in a tweet. If the tweet isn’t compelling, the rest isn’t compelling.
Pretend you’re sending an email. Or a Slack message. It will calm your mind and yield better writing.
Business writing is a customer service problem. You’re not the star—the reader is. Help them get what they want, as quickly and effectively as possible.
Entrepreneurs are the best business writers in the world. If you can’t write, you can’t raise money. Or recruit. Or sell. Here are my tips:
Startup Software is the new Enterprise Software. Startup Software = tools that make it easier to create and build new companies. Eg Stripe, Shopify, WeWork, Plaid, Intercom, Outreach, etc etc. This is the sleeper category in B2B. /1
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Waiting to learn about new markets on TechCrunch is too slow. Read research papers then call the grad students who wrote them.…
Just when you thought it was safe to send a term sheet to an entrepreneur.…
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Despite high valuations, it’s still possible to make money in angel investing. If you can’t make money in tech, you can’t make money anywhere.…
Everyone is asking me how to create momentum in their fundraising. Read this masterpiece by @travisk now.…
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Invest with a pack. You will be pressured to renegotiate your investment by founders and VCs. If you’re alone, you won’t have the power to fight back.
Play fantasy football with startups. Build your instincts by looking at deals without investing. Track your fantasy portfolio and anti-portfolio.
The best source for angel investing advice is other angels and founders. Incentives make for bad advice from VCs, lawyers, incubators and everybody else.
Some of the best investors have no opinions. Their job is to listen and decide whether founders are smart, honest, and hard-working.
Invest only in technology. That’s where the best returns are. Avoid companies that don’t develop meaningful technology.
Judgment about markets is important but overrated, because there is so much luck and randomness involved. Companies do hard pivots into new markets.
Back $0B companies that could be worth $1B tomorrow.
Valuation matters: you will have to pass on future iconic technology companies because the price is too high. But that lets you take more shots on goal at lower valuations.
Angel investing takes years to learn and longer to see returns. But it is one of the few professions that you can improve until the day you die.
Proprietary dealflow means ‘they want you’. Nobody thinks they have a shortage of dealflow. The hard problem is getting your money into the startups you want.
If you can’t decide on an investment, the answer is no. For all practical purposes, there are an infinite number of investments out there, so pass.
Many thanks to @WordPress and @Pressable for cleaning up and hosting this ol’ blog.
Venture Hacks is now independent of AngelList
“The desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal.” – @edcatmull,…
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Do you know a WordPress person who can help with the rebirth of the blog? DM us please.
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