Yet Another (ex-)VC Blog

Cloud computing, startups, and venture capital

My latest project: The Influence Playbook

leave a comment »

Free email personal branding course

I just released a free email course: The Influence Playbook.

The course breaks down – step by step – how to build a professional brand that can lead to a better jobs, stronger network, and a more fulfilled life.

It’s loaded with lots of examples – including many from my personal experience.

If you often find yourself wondering: “Who are all these people have time to blog, run email lists, and build big followings on Twitter?” then you need to sign up for the course.

Get it here.

Written by John Gannon

September 17, 2015 at 7:44 pm

Growth in the New Age of Ad Blocking

leave a comment »

This reinforces the fundamental building blocks of growth today:

The best marketing isn’t advertising, it’s a well-designed and remarkable product.

The best way to contact your users is by earning the privilege to contact them, over time.

Making products for your customers is far more efficient than finding customers for your products.

Horizontally spread ideas (person to person) are far more effective than top-down vertical advertising.

More data isn’t the point. Data to serve explicit promises is the point.

Commodity products can’t expect to easily build a profitable ‘brand’ with nothing but repetitive jingles and noise.

Media properties that celebrate their ads (like Vogue) will continue to thrive, because the best advertising is the advertising we would miss if it was gone.

Source: Seth’s Blog: Ad blocking

Written by John Gannon

September 19, 2015 at 5:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

A reason to get rid of 3’s in your 5 point ranking system

leave a comment »

Inspired by my friend George Zachary of Charles River Ventures, who implemented a “no 3′s” rule for himself while judging our Founder Showcase events, this scoring system is designed to polarize and extract blunt feedback from mentors.

When you can’t rate somebody a 3 out of 5, you are forced to choose negative or positive… and then ponder why. This ultimately leads to deeper and more honest insights for startups in dire need of exactly that. You would be surprised at how well this works, because it forces even the nicest of mentors to be blunt and introspective.

A common question I get about this practice is, “why not just do a 1-4 scale?”

The answer is simple: this is about polarizing results. If you rated something a 2 out of 4, that could be seen as average – but a 2 out of 5 is clearly poor.

We want our mentors to consider the 3, and then judge whether or not the founder’s plans clearly fall on the positive or negative end of the spectrum.

The reason for that decision is most often where the most valuable feedback lies.

Source: A Simple Way To Become A Better Startup Mentor – Forbes

Written by John Gannon

August 28, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Series A is actually the fourth round of funding

leave a comment »

Written by John Gannon

August 27, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

VC returns in yogurt, video stores, and train tracks (seriously)

leave a comment »

CIVC had a number of highly successful non-technology investments made in the late 1970’s timeframe, such as:

LB Foster: Repurposed old train tracks

JD Robinson Jewelers: The original “diamond man” (Tom Shane’s inspiration)

National Demographics: Mailing Lists

American Home Video: Video Stores

Michigan Cottage Cheese: Yoplait Yogurt

The Aviation Group: Expedited small package delivery

JMB Realty: Real Estate Management company

None of these companies fit Mr. Neumann’s definition of the era’s venture deals and each generated returns we would welcome today.

via Brad Feld’s A Venture Capital History Perspective From Jack Tankersley, a response to Jerry Neumann’s popular post “VC Heat Death”, which covers the VC industry in the 80’s.

Written by John Gannon

August 25, 2015 at 11:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

@bgurley would do Webvan again, and again, and again

leave a comment »

I would recommend (the) Webvan investment again and again and again. We don’t succeed by avoiding failure. It’s not how the model works. We aim to back ambitious founders — just like Louis Borders.

via How much money did Benchmark lose on Webvan?.

Written by John Gannon

August 23, 2015 at 8:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Creative, but … yikes!

leave a comment »

The top prize winner spent $18K in Facebook ads to eventually win the 100K shares. Does he qualify to join the ever increasing group of micro-VCs?

via 10 Signs of a Tech Bubble.

Written by John Gannon

August 18, 2015 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,844 other followers

%d bloggers like this: