Saturday, September 20, 2008

How to pitch to a VC: High speed compressed version by David S. Rose

There's a great TED video by David S. Rose, startup guy and now a VC on how to pitch to a VC. There's lots of these out there but this is an amazingly well done, compacted and fast paced version well worth watching.

They invest in people.

You have at most 18 minutes to get the idea across.

First, You have to get across Integrity (straight shooter).
Second, Passion for what you're doing.
Third, Experience. Serial entrepreneurs are favored.
Forth, Knowledge and domain expertise.
Fifth, Skills to get a company going.
Sixth, Leadership, to get the full set of skills in place to run the company
Seventh, Commitment, to stay to the very end.
Eighth, Vision.
Ninth, Realism.
Tenth, Coachable.

Start like a rocket. 10 seconds to grab them.

From there, a solid steady upward graph that gets better and better that knocks it out of the park at the end. Never skip a step or go backwards. think "Logical Progression".

Provide touchstones like referencing companies the Angel or VC might know of, give them outside validation, things the potential investors knows of and can touch on.

An upside and believable. Show both. "$1m revenue is 3 years' isn't an upside "$1B in 24 months" isn't believable.

Never say things that aren't true. Ever. If you do, 1/2 of what you've said and will say will be discounted (no one's done this before is a good example).

Treat them like a 6th grader, walking them through it, but don't be condescending. Tricky, but essential.

Typos will kill the deal: how do you run a company if you can't run spell check?

Steve Jobs is the master at this. Watch him and learn. (Yea, I know I bash Apple a lot, but it's only because I love them. If I didn't care, I wouldn't say anything).

He then goes into a step by step on the presentation itself.

Top five tips for the presenter:

Always use presenter mode
Always use remote controls (don't touch the computer)
Handouts are NOT the presentation. The handout stands without you.
Do not read your speech
Never, ever, look at the screen. You're connecting with the audience first and foremost.

Worth every second of the 14 minutes and 39 seconds that it runs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There's No Arguing With Conservatives ... No, Seriously, Scientific Studies Prove It

<--giuliani in drag

Can't say I'm surprised.

I suppose this means the whole 'trying to reason' with conservatives is just moot. I've experienced it (many times) first hand with my conservative friends, but now I know for certain what I've always suspected... it's just how their brains seem to work.

I always said it was genetic. I was kidding, but, turns out, it was a little bit true.

Nationalizing the US Financial system

Think we're not?

Freddie and Fannie= Owned by the government. Controls over 1/2 of the mortgages in America.

A.I.G.= Owned by the government. Insures a huge percentage (globally) of all the 'mortgage debt instruments'.

And we're being dumb about it.

Dumbness example:

Sunday- A.I.G. asks for a $40Billion loan to stave off a change in it's credit rating.
Monday- Fed's say no. Monday night: Credit agencies lower A.I.G.'s credit rating
Tuesday- A.I.G. says it may have to liquidate. Tuesday night: Fed says, no no.. here's $85 Billion

$85 Billion vs. $40 Billion.

Why did it happen? The short answer appears to be the Fed's tried to scare the existing players (Goldmans, etc.) into funding A.I.G. and lost the stare down.

The cost to you and me? $45 billion.

Dumness galore.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

E.T. and I.T.

For decades the US has been on the leading edge of information technology (I.T.) and this has driven our economy (and the worlds) to new heights of prosperity, but it's soon to be the 2nd most important industry.

Energy is where it's at this century. The age of cheap energy is over and finding, developing and deploying (mostly) renewable energy sources is where the action will be. Thomas Friedman (NYT columnist and book author) calls this Energy Technology or E.T.

The railroads lost the battle to the auto/truck makers in the middle of the last century by thinking of their business as 'trains' and not 'transportation'.

The Oil companies of today are doing the same exact thing (and recruiting the politicians, like McCain's VP pick: Palen).

It's about ENERGY, not Oil. Investing only in an energy source with a finite supply is a waste of investment.

It's too bad today's Big Oil guys don't get that they're in the Energy business... not, just, the Oil business. They have the money to make the transition, at least today. But they won't in 10 years.

Big Oil is going the route of the train giants of yesteryear: focusing only on today and not investing for tomorrow.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Godin and Interns

Create a facebook group to recruit and filter interns.

Brilliant! Simple! Obvious! Why the hell didn't I think of this?

Seth Godin, a guy who really gets the world in ways many don't, recently needed some interns ( he was hoping for a good response) and boy did he get that response. Over 150+ applied from around the world. Then, he tried something clever, and very obvious, but to my knowledge not done before, to help filter them down to the 5 he'd actually hire: He started a facebook group.
Unable to just pick a PDF or two, I invited the applicants to join a Facebook group I had set up. Then I let them meet each other and hang out online.

It was absolutely fascinating. Within a day, the group had divided into four camps:

* The game-show contestants, quick on the trigger, who were searching for a quick yes or no. Most of them left.
* The lurkers. They were there, but we couldn't tell.
* The followers. They waited for someone to tell them what to do.
* The leaders. A few started conversations, directed initiatives and got to work.

Want to guess who I hired? (It was a paid gig and five ended up spending time with me in NY on a somewhat rolling basis). If you're hiring for people to work online, I can't imagine not screening people in this way. This is the work, and you can watch people do it for real before you hire them.
Did I say brilliant? Brilliant. He only needed five (paid) but also thought, what the hell, let's set up some unpaid virtual intern work using basecamp, see who signs up. Over 60 of the original 150+ applicants did and good things happened.

Original/full Post here.

An excellent read from an ex-evangelical.

  As you know, I once was an evangelical megachurch pastor and my pastoral career stretched over many years. Eventually, I could no longer t...