Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
As you might guess from some of my recent posts, I’m building out content for my new career advice site for startup sales, marketing, and business development. I want this site to have a personal, just-a-couple-of-professionals-sharing-a-coffee kind of networking vibe, so I’m making guest posts a big part of my content strategy.
There is one school of thought that says one should work hard to recruit existing bloggers with a substantial online presence to write guest posts. After all, these are the folks with massive online followings, who can propel your site to Internet stardom with a mere mention of your site on their blog or Twitter.
Sure, it would be awesome to have Tim Ferriss or Fred Wilson write a guest post for you, but these guys are busy with their own companies/firms and projects. For 99.9% of bloggers, approaching the megastars of blogging isn’t going to be a terribly fruitful path to getting guest posts written. And even if they do write something for you, they’re just not going to be that into you.
Some Nielsen data suggests that there are a little less than 7 million blogs published on blogging websites. This means that there are boatloads of smart people out there who don’t have blogs. Boatloads of smart-as-heck people that you know.
Companies like Quora have recognized this dynamic and have done a great job at providing a way for people who might not blog frequently or at all a venue to easily contribute create great content. There’s no reason you can’t do the same, making your blog a place where really great people with something to say, but maybe not a huge social networking presence, can be heard.
If you’re going to move forward with this approach, here’s some guidance based on what I’ve done and learned over the last several months in building out content for my new career advice site for startup sales, marketing, and business development pros, JohnsJobs.me:
- Approach people you respect deeply and ask them to write a post that taps their core areas of expertise and passions.
- Email them 3-5 open-ended questions to seed the post and encourage creativity.
- If they agree to write a post, check in with them periodically (once every week or so) to see how it’s coming along. Use a tool like Boomerang to receive timed reminders to check in with them without clogging up your Inbox or calendar.
- Ask for clarification on their answers if needed, but don’t ask them to copyedit. That’s your job!
- Let them see the finished product before it goes live and give them the opportunity to provide feedback on your copyediting and how you’ve represented them.
- Help drive traffic to their online presence and profiles (if they’re open to it) via guest author tools and plugins like Fancy Author Box.
- Explore other opportunities to collaborate and offer to help them out with a current or future project. They are doing you a huge favor and you should return it!
- Thank them profusely! :)
Good news to report today!
Next week I’m starting a new job at my current employer but within a different business unit. Specifically, I’m going into a product management role where I will be focused on defining and building solutions for display advertisers.
I’ve had a fun run over the last couple of years learning the Big Data analytics space and Hadoop ecosystem, and have had the privilege of working with a great team of colleagues, customers, and partners. But it was the right time to move on and take on a new challenge, so here we are!
I find that job changes are always a great reason for people to reconnect with their network, so please ping me if you are interested in learning more about what I’m working on or if you’re thinking about your own career and where to take it. I’m always very interested in helping people think through their careers and finding work they love.
Thanks for reading and looking forward to hearing from you.
First time entrepreneurs often ask me what they should do to maximize their chances of raising venture capital. To which I invariably answer: “Not need it.”
Below is an email I recently received from a recruiter via LinkedIn. (I’ve blotted out the name of their client to protect the innocent.)
We all receive plenty of poorly written networking emails, like this one, where:
- there is no personal connection (The person who wrote the email above actually shared a mutual LinkedIn connection with me, but didn’t attempt to leverage that connection.)
- there is no strong reason for me to assist (What’s in it for me?)
- there are spelling and/or grammar errors (comes off as careless and unprofessional)
Because I’m weird (OK, obsessive) when it comes to networking etiquette, this kind of thing bothers me. So, a couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to help people write better networking emails. I dug through my Inbox and tracked down some successful emails from my most recent job hunt – emails that helped me get meetings with or secure introductions from hard-to-reach startup execs (whose companies were hiring!) and VC’s.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve taken these emails – emails that worked – and compiled them into a free eBook.
The eBook breaks down the best practices that were used in each email, so that you can use those best practices to write your own killer job hunting emails.
Click here to get a free copy of 15 Emails That Worked emailed to you immediately.
Years ago, when I was still working in venture capital, I committed to the world (ok, a small world ;) via my blog that I would write a book about careers in venture capital.
After I made that commitment, I left the VC world without having written the book (1st year of my children’s lives), went to a startup (no time to write a book), and finally last year…published the book!
Now that I’ve actually written and published the darn thing, a post-mortem is in order! Here’s what I learned about the world of book publishing, and about myself, during this process…with some additional tips and suggestions smattered in:
- You’re going to be self-publishing your first book, unless you’re famous (or at least famous on Twitter). Publishers expect you to bring a big following to the table if you want them to work with you. Same goes with literary agents.
- If you still want to find a publisher, you’ll need to write a 50 page proposal — basically a big abstract — in order for them to consider taking you on.
- Just 1% of authors earn out of their advance. (Are you still surprised about #1 and #2? :)
- Smashwords provides a great platform for converting your eBook (which needs to be written in a specially formatted MS Word file) and converting it to all of the major eBook formats. I thought I would need all of the formats, but it turns out that the only format I’m actually distributing is the PDF. Go figure. Which leads me to…
- …Gumroad. Gumroad provides a ridiculously simple platform to sell eBooks as well as other digital goods. I use them exclusively to sell my eBook as a PDF, even though I have it available on Smashwords as well. I didn’t like the Smashwords buying experience that much, and I’m not really trying to get distribution via the various online bookstores, as my topic (venture capital careers) is so niche.
- Smashwords has a list of people who will produce book cover art using stock photos, and typically you’ll pay on the order of $40. Now that I’ve discovered fiverr, I bet I could get a great cover for just $5-$10 the next time around.
- Luckily I had a very nice friend who proofread the entire 30 page eBook for me as a favor. Other editors quoted me wildly varying rates (<$100 and upwards of $500).
- Long plane flights rock. I wrote almost the entire first draft of content on a couple of cross-country plane flights.
- If you maintain an email list of potential readers of your book, share parts of the book with them as you go through your writing process. It’s a great way to get feedback and your readers will appreciate being part of the creative process.
- No email list yet? Get started today. A great “give” is to provide a portion of your book to new subscribers to your list.
- Once you release the book, create a nurturing campaign (also called drip marketing) so that new subscribers to your list will be notified that the book is available for sale. Ideally you’re notifying them after you’ve provided other value in the nurturing campaign. I use Madmimi for my email list, which has support for Drips (their term for a nurturing campaign).
- Write a blog post stating your intention to write a book, and repost it to all of your social networks so that you’re a liar if you don’t follow through! :)
- Not sure if you have a story worth telling or at what price to sell your book? Create a poll on your blog (here was mine) to gauge demand for the book as well as potential price points.
- Consider giving your book away for free to your Tribe.
- There are actually services, like Hyperink, who will write your book for you in exchange for a portion of the earnings. I applied to see if they’d write mine for me, but they never wrote back (*sniffle*).
I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank a few people who were involved in different parts of this experience:
- Keith Cowing, who inspired me to write this post
- Carla O’Connor, my awesome friend and copyeditor
- Lucinda Blumenfeld, for giving me a crash course on the world of publishing
- Super-connector Chris Phenner, who introduced me to Lucinda. (BTW, Chris runs a great email list where he talks about ad tech and social ads. He’s been in the space for a long time and is a great guy to follow.)
Last, but not least, I am hard at work on my second eBook! This eBook is called 15 Emails That Worked. In the book, I share the actual email templates and describe the best practices that helped me get meetings with hard-to-reach entrepreneurs and VCs during my last job search. It will definitely be useful to you if you’re job hunting in the startup and VC world, but the tips and techniques also apply to anyone who is looking for more effective ways to connect with busy people via email.
If you’re interested in getting this eBook for free, simply subscribe to my email list and you’ll receive a copy as soon as it is released (estimated to be late January or early February – it is in the final stages of editing now).
Just noticed this in my VC Deals feed. I had been thinking about how new mobile applications will change DevOps (and heck, Ops) … glad to see this space being explored seriously by startups like VictorOps.
Until just recently, mobile devices did not provide enough functionality to enable team members to collaborate and contribute. Now, the same device can effectively be the alerting channel, the view into situational information flow and the point of interaction to allow participation
If as a first-time tech founder CEO you feel entirely comfortable with that VP of Sales candidate, she’s probably not the right one.
McCall also believes strongly in the work of karma – or, as he says quite simply, “Do things for people.” He is quick to offer help and advice to entrepreneurs, students, and other investors, and believes that his good deeds return to him many times over.
If the soldier has largely been replaced by the video game character and the drone, if the mothers have proven that they can raise the children alone, if the corporations are less able or willing to guarantee the possibility of upward mobility and some level of respect that comes with title, if someone else can bring home the bacon, what is left for young men?
All this, and they still are not allowed to cry.
This afternoon I met with a principal from a late-stage VC here in the city. This was a follow-up to a meeting I had last week (which was made through a connection on LinkedIn via a woman I used to work with prior to business school). I thought it went very well and I think I had a good rapport with the person I met with. He told me to keep in touch and that there may potentially be either an internship or a full-time opportunity in the coming year. So we will see.
Here are some of the questions I was asked, in case you are curious what sorts of questions might be asked of you in a VC interview…
- Why do you want to get into VC?
- What opportunities for investment do you see in the space you worked in prior to business school?
- How did you do academically in your undergrad program?
- Discuss your involvement in vendor selection at your previous jobs.
- Talk about leadership experience you’ve had.
- Tell me about what you perceive to be the functions of the job.
If you liked this post, and are interested in careers in venture capital, think about subscribing to my mailing list. I promise not to spam you and will only send information related to venture capital jobs and careers. Please input your email address in the field (and click ‘Submit’) below if you would like to subscribe.