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Picture is from this article on the cover of The Wall Street Journal's Marketplace section in 2004. Also see my more recent blog post with a video demonstrating how I find names & compose specific emails that work to get reporters' interest
In this post I'll spill the beans and tell you how I get really good press in outlets like TechCrunch, Mashable, CNET, CNN, CNBC, CSPAN, ABC, the WSJ (cover of Marketplace 7/04), Forbes, TechMeme, FastCompany, BBC, and literally hundreds of other publications.
Nothing I'm going to say here is so revolutionary that others couldn't figure it out yourself, but somehow I've figured out the details to make my formula work, and the magic really is in the details.
First off, let's think about what a reporter's daily life is like. Most reporters, from what they tell me, get several hundred emails a day. Many of those emails are from PR people spinning their latest client. So already it's hard to get their attention. And if you're just another one of those PR people, forget about it.
This is the first of a multi-part blog post I'll be writing over the next week that will chronicle my experience raising a $1MM round for AppMakr.
I'll be sharing my learning and experiences as a first-time fundraiser out here in the Valley. My goal is to provide pragmatic tips to help other entrepreneurs understand the process and short-cut the time fundraising typically takes. Think of it as download that condenses 4 months of learning into a series of blogs you can read in an hour.
Be sure to subscribe to the blog if you'd like to get those future posts. Also, we're throwing a party to thank the investors who made this round possible, and celebrating the fact that over 1,000,000 people have now used apps made through AppMakr. RSVP here to join us on 10/28 at 6:30pm. You'll meet Mitch Kapor, George Zachary, Pietro Dova, Ben Narasin and other AppMakr investors.
For this first post, I scored an interview with Naval Ravikant, one of the co-founders of VentureHacks, which runs AngelList. AppMakr went through AngelList, and intros from AngelList were responsible for 54.5% ($545k) of the $1MM we raised. Needless to say, these guys rock. I'd also like to give a huge shout-out to my brother Sam Odio and amazing entrepreneur James Hong, both of whom intro'd me to Nivi & Naval of AngelList at the beginning of our fundraising process.
Here's the video with Naval:
On Tuesday Feb 12th, the US Patent Office is holding a roundtable in Silicon Valley to discuss issues surrounding the patenting of software, and I have an opportunity to get a seat at the table.
I'll attend if I get some opinions from other entrepreneurs on the topic.
I recently got an email from a friend that said simply "I am getting too many e-mails. How do I organize them? Sometimes I need to research an answer, but then forget for whom it was and I totally forget about it as they get buried. How do you manage your e mails?"
Here's how I do it:
No software email client: I used to use an email client like Outlook or Thunderbird, but I found that by switching to a web interface for email I have much more control over it. I have multiple inbound email addresses -- two work addresses, a gmail address, an Apple email address, an alumni address, etc. I have all my mail forward into my personal email account, which is a Google Apps-hosted address. Here's what that looks like:
Using the web-based email interface also lets me leverage all sorts of great advanced stuff, like using Rapportive, Boomerang, and many other email tools that I rely on. Also, using the Google Apps interface for my email allows me to use Google's powerful "important and unread" feature which prioritizes emails from people I know or that Google otherwise thinks I should see first.
Most everyone uses a computer. But a few of us, well, we play a computer like an instrument.
If you're on a computer for 10+ hours per day, this blog is for you.
By "instrument" I mean we know the in's & out's of the device. We know how to eek out maximum performance from it. We're the people who others just look at in wonder when our keys fly across the keyboard.
If you've ever found it excruciatingly painful watching others use a computer because of how slow the person is, then you know what I'm talking about.
These are just my tips, but really, I'm writing this because I want to know about your tips. I want to know what saves you time and makes you more productive. So please post comments below.
If I weren't so passionate about the ways that mobile devices are changing the world, I'd be spending my time in one of the following three areas: Crypto currencies like Bitcoin, the commercialization of drones, and the rise of 3D printing.
Oh, time is so our enemy. Even a long-lived life only amounts to 750,000 hours or so. And as per my recent keynote at the 2013 Mobile Outlook on a "Framework for Stupid Ideas," one of my guiding principles is to "focus on focus" to maximize the value of each of those hours. Since mobile is my deepest passion, I'm not willing to dedicate the time to dive into any of these other things.
Another of my framework points is to play in a "space that matters." And these three spaces really, really matter -- that much will be obvious to everyone in the span of a few years. So I'm hoping that some other entrepreneur will be as passionate about one of these three spaces as I am about mobile. I figured I'd present a few highlights from each of them to showcase why they're such a big deal.
Getaround is a car sharing service like Zipcar, except that it uses people's private vehicles instead of a fleet. It's a bit like AirBnB for cars. Getaround is part of the "collaborative consumption" movement, which believes that if we could share things we don't use most of the time it would be better for us in a lot of ways. Sharing cars means less cars on the road, which means less pollution, and generally less "stuff."
I'd never used Getaround and a few weeks ago I was trying to figure out why. I pinged Jessica, one of the founders, and told her that what I'd realized was that I didn't want to have to go to someone's house and "borrow" their car. The thought of actually interacting with the owner of a car was awkward enough that it had kept me from trying the service.
Jessica told me about a new type of rental they now have called "Instant," where I can use the Getaround mobile app to rent a car instantly and unlock it with my phone, meaning I wouldn't have to meet the owner or wait for approval. (This dovetails really well into my recent blogs about the power of mobile and apps to transform businesses, and how Fortune 1000 CEOs are going to get fired for missing it.) Getaround Instant was exactly what I was looking for, so my brother-in-law Dal and I decided to give it a try.
I had a few hiccups that Getaround is still working through (for example, Getaround verifies a driver's driving history with the DMV in real-time, and since my last name has a hyphen in it, but the DMV doesn't account for hyphens, my rental request initially broke Getaround's booking system. But both Jessica and Matt were very proactive at resolving these speed bumps). Overall the process was incredibly smooth:
So I'm actually pretty reluctant to post this Twitter secret I've figured out, because it's actually a pretty amazing secret, but in the spirit of always being as open as possible, here goes. Plus, I owe an explanation to Mark Boslet of the blog TechPulse360 of how I did it (whom I met while presenting at the Dow Jones Wireless Innovation Conference today), and another of my guiding principles is always to blog about something whenever possible (Henry Ford-style) so I don't have to repeat myself.
So here's how to get 2,000 plus followers in 10 days(ish):
(Caveat, I'm only at 664 followers as I write this, but I've only been at it for two days, so I think 2000+ in 10 days is totally achievable)
(Second caveat - you may not want to have 2000 followers. More is not necessarily better, except when it is. It's up to you.)
OK so I am assuming you have a Twitter account already. And maybe you've made a bunch of updates, but you just don't have that many followers and would like more.
So I'm actually pretty reluctant to post this Twitter secret I've figured out, because it's actually a pretty amazing secret, but in the spirit of always being as open as possible, here goes. Plus, I owe an explanation to Mark Boslet of the blog TechPulse360 of how I did it (whom I met while presenting at the Dow Jones Wireless Innovation Conference today), and another of my guiding principles is always to blog about something whenever possible (Henry Ford-style) so I don't have to repeat myself. So here's how to get 2,000 plus followers in 10 days(ish): (Caveat, I'm only at 664 followers as I write this, but I've only been at it for two days, so I think 2000+ in 10 days is totally achievable) (Second caveat - you may not want to have 2000 followers. More is not necessarily better, except when it is. It's up to you.) OK so I am assuming you have a Twitter account already. And maybe you've made a bunch of updates, but you just don't have that many followers and would like more. So the first thing you should do is head over to Twollo.com (note - not twollow.com - no "w" at the end! Important). They have a stupendously amazing feature that lets you automatically follow up to 500 people for any keyword topic of interest. So if you like cars, for example, just tell Twollo to have you follow anyone who twitters about cars. Within a day or two you'll be following several thousand people. About 30% of them will follow you back. But there's a catch: Twitter only lets you follow 2,000 people. Actually it's more complicated than that. This blog does a good job of explaining it, so read & understand it. So now you'll need a bulk-unfollow program to get rid of all the people you followed that didn't follow you back. Presto, enter Twitter Karma. It lets you look up all the people you're following but aren't following you back. You just have to show "Only Following" and then "Bulk Unfollow" at the bottom. Presto, your Twitterverse should now be equalized once again. And the best part is, Twollo should automatically keep adding people you follow (that's what it does) so you just have to manually run Twitter Karma whenever you get up to 2,000 following to clean it out, and your overall number of followers will keep increasing! Enjoy. PS it helps if you have great content, but surprisingly it's really not necessary. For example, I got 279 followers forwww.Twitter.com/dcMOMO with only 3 updates!
Over on my entrepreneur + tech blog, I post about an area I'm very familiar with: Technology & startups.
Now, I'm embarking on a much bigger challenge: Fatherhood.
Yep, I'm going to be a dad. Here's a picture of our daughter, who will be joining us sometime in late October 2013:
For now, we're calling her "Baby DROdio."
Brendan Baker, an MBA student at Oxford, created a phenomenal infographic (pdf) of our $1MM angel raise for AppMakr. Here's how to read it and what it means. Additionally, below is a 7 minute interview I did with Brendan going over the top points gleaned from the infographic.
Brendan followed our raise from before I even moved from DC to SF last summer. I made a few trips to SF as I began the raise process, and then moved to SF fulltime in July 2010. The raise was wrapped up by October 2010 (here's the party we had to celebrate!). The core of the raise happened over a 14 week period.
How to read the infographic: