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I stumbled upon your blog when I was looking to find a book on the venture capital process, and I read your review of "Venture Deals." I then went to your blog, where I watched your interview of Naval Ravikant four or five times (that guy is awesome, I think I might have a man crush on him) and from there I found the Angel List website. I just wanted to thank you for posting that interview. The resources you've suggested have all been great.
I was wondering if I could trouble you to send me the password to the "Venture Hacks Bible." I bought "Pitching Hacks" this morning, which I've since read, but I mistakenly thought the Venture Hacks Bible was a part of the package. If you could send it to me I'd really appreciate it.
Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to blog and recommend those resources. Hope your company is doing well.
Just read the "Pitching Hacks" document. Quick read despite it being over 70 pages on the face of it. Wish I had read it before I wrote my pitch / started pitching! Although I had talked to a few friends who have done the startup pitch before, the conversations were nowhere near as comprehensive or succinct as this guide. I like that it's straightforward, no BS. Don't forget to check out the list of startup blogs to follow at the end.
These documents have some real gems - if you are looking for a map on how to traverse the funding process, you couldn't do much better than the advice that the documents entail. One negative point I'd make is that the information is so overwhelming, that you begin to feel it's the only way to raise $$. Below is a link and blog post to a fantastic slide deck that's even simpler than what Venture Hacks recommends. It's a great complement to the other material.
Thanks again - this is great stuff!
Thanks @schmerg for taking the time to provide such detailed feedback. I'll share it with the AngelList guys.
[Part 4 of 4]
And so, are they genuine? Well first off, I think these documents are well worth the money even if angellist didn't exist or you never contacted them. Think of angellist as subsidising all this great advice you're getting for next-to-nothing. But still, are they genuine? I can't say for sure, I haven't met any of them and I've still been too cautious to approach them, but it's one hell of an elaborate and detailed and USEFUL set up to get either your $20 or $47, or some hooks into you before you go get millions elsewhere.
The writing doesn't feel like they're holding something back - you know when you find two supposed technical experts on a language (or platform / framework / methodology / whatever), and one makes you beg for every morsel of an answer or an explanation he'll release to ensure he always knows more than anyone (the closed guru), and the other overwhelms you with not just the answer to your question, but the reasons why it's like that, and what that tells you about the underlying model, and what else you should be thinking about... that's the open guru... and that's the one you should pay attention to. Well these guys feel like the open gurus of the funding and venture side of startups... they may bang too much (says me after this post!) when you just want to know how to get some cash for your idea, but it seems to be done from a genuine desire to explain and help you avoid the pitfalls and the schoolboy errors. There are no single pithy one-page recipes for success, but there's an awful lot of short sharp insights and warning of what to watch for leaping off these pages, competing for your attention, and you're fooling yourself not to read them now.
DISCLAIMER: I didn't pay for my copies but agreed, AFTER receiving them, to write a 'brief review' (hah) in return. Having read them, I'd send the guys the cash if it didn't seem patronising (and I'm still a startup) so I'll commit to buying the first round of drinks if and when I get to meet them.
Tim - http://schmerg.com
[End of message]
[Part 3 of 4]
Well I got the complete set a few hours back, no I haven't read every word, but first off, let me say there's something to be said for getting it as a couple of huge PDFs. It doesn't feel like "goofing off reading the internet" to spend time reading it, and it doesn't feel wrong to read the first couple of hundred pages (ie the old stuff) in full rather than think that the latest posts MUST be the most important (2007 - that's history man). You can still skim it, quicker of course, but it feels more legitimate to give it proper consideration.
From that point alone, the unified cohesive block of text is worth it - you're more likely to read it, read it properly, flick back a few pages when you lose track etc where as in a web browser you keep on getting those little delays between pages where you think "I'll multitask and just check twitter/email/unit-tests while the page loads" and before you know it, you're not reading the pages, you're just skimming them between other jobs.
And filler? No way... near the opposite.... you're straight into it with real solid actionable advice about as soon as the table of contents finishes. It may not have the fine narrative structure of something that was set down and planned in advance with sub-editors, yeah, it's been hacked out (in one of the other meanings of the word hack), but this is no "just read the last 2 pages of each chapter and you're done" type tome. Some of it may read out of order, some bits you may not fully understand right now, some aspects may be contradictory over the time they've been writing this (things change, cope with it), or feel a bit gung-ho (what happened to reflection, deliberation, time to think?) but you're drinking from the firehose - don't go whining about the pressure hurting your lips and the fact that it's splattering onto your nice pale khaki pants. I hope you didn't come for the view, for the table manners, for the delicate font and easy on the eye page layout.
[Part 2 of 4]
So like any sensible startup, minding every single expenditure to be sure you absolutely need it, I held off buying the PDF's, figuring I could read it off the website and make my mind up over time. I mean, 1,300 pages ?? When am I going to find the time to read all that anyway ? And there's got to be loads of padding in there... you've seen these modern business books that spend the first 50 pages telling you repeatedly HOW they're going to tell you some secrets of success, and how Bob and Susan were in various holes until they were told these techniques and it sorted them right out, and once you read how simple it all is, you'll be able to do so too... and then another 50 pages .. and then some filler, and some "lets review what we've learned" chapters and you're sitting there thinking "well not to buy another bloody book like this again".
How many pages - 1,300+ ?? Over 3 years ? Wow .... imagine how many times it repeats the same old stuff and... and .. and.... well it just feels so much easier to go back to the codeface and concentrate on what's important, fix some bugs, build the MVP, do some testing, get the visuals right and all that.
[Part 1 of 4]
I expect that many startup people have, like me, heard of venturehacks and angellist, have browsed the sites, followed the tweets, read some articles between hacking out the code for the prototype and .. let's be honest... wondered if this is for real or if they're just trying desperately to get into the scene or worse, to con some small slice out of gullible people before the big guys come in and take the idea, the company, the house, the lot.
No offence intended, but there are shysters and con artists in every walk of life (I wrote the world's leading law enforcement/fraud investigation software, and then spent 10 years in investment banking... I've seen my share).
And when it's a website and a series of posts, it can be hard to get the bigger picture, to know when you're being sucked in by someone telling you what you want to hear, throwing in a few things that go over your head, and mixing in a few scraps to flatter, convince you you're smart (confidence trick 101).
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:
I'm incredibly pleased to bring you this interview with Kevin Archbold, a 25-year veteran in project management and a 13-year consultant and teacher of the specialty. This opens the door to people who have excellent skills to better managing their projects and getting better communication going. This one is dense, but work through it carefully because it's a life-changing skill and Archbold is a master at this topic.
You might also be interested in his GiveGetWin deal, "Real-Time Live-Fire Project Management Training With Kevin Archbold" where you'll bring two sentences describing a project you want to the 5-person class, and leave with a project charter filled out.
Better Project Planning Means Less Project Failure by Kevin Archbold, as told to Sebastian Marshall
My background is project management. Most people have a career in a technical field first and then move into project management, but I went directly into PM after University in England. I found it was a good fit for me and stuck with it ever since.
I've got a CompSci degree, but no one's ever paid me to program anything. I started in the telecommunications industry, and then moved through many other industries: 10 years around Detroit, working on a lot of automotive and time at a nuclear power plant. I've worked on internet startups and biotech in Seattle, spent time with the City Government in Seattle, and have been in Tucson for seven years now -- doing mining-related projects and astronomy related projects… a whole gamut of things. I do not provide technical expertise; I bring fundamental project management.