Yet Another (ex-)VC Blog

Cloud computing, startups, and venture capital

Archive for April 2010

Career services departments that rock – Pace University

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I wanted to share an email I recently received from a Pace University career services representative who I had met at the NYC Startup Job Fair.

This email is a great example of how college career services departments can and should go the extra mile when engaging with potential employers who are very eager to hire new grads. (yes, its a canned email but it is the thought that counts)

Unfortunately, this kind of interaction has been the exception rather than the rule, at least with the local schools where I have attempted to recruit new grads for our inside sales positions.

Here is the contents of the email:

Sorry for this impersonal way of getting back to you, but I wanted to respond quickly. Some of you have already gotten back to me over the weekend. I really enjoyed meeting with you however briefly.

At the event I really saw the renaissance of business in the New York City area as represented by your companies. Your energy, positive vision of the future and drive was inspirational for me and I’m sure for Pace alumni and students. I have been writing and speaking about real career opportunities with companies few people are aware of and many of you are among them, with several exceptions. Our alumni and students have a strong work ethic and understand that you don’t get ahead without hard work and dedication.

I want to let you know that we at Pace will give you the personal attention that you need to fill positions ranging from internship through experienced professionals. All you need to do is send me the job specs as Word attachments and we will take care of the rest. We want your business and will do what it takes to earn it. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kudos to Pace Career Services, and please send us your best grads! If they are willing to hustle like you, I am sure they would be great additions to our team!

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Written by John Gannon

April 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

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Simple, compelling, and inevitable value prop FTW!

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After hearing more details about the features of the product (I think he was heading to the level of Quantum electrodynamics) I asked if he could explain to me why I should care. His response was to describe even more features. When I called for a time-out the reaction was one I hear a lot. “Our product is really complicated I need to tell you all about it so you get it.”

I told him I disagreed and pointed out that anyone can make a complicated idea sound complicated. The art is making it sound simple, compelling and inevitable.

via Turning on your Reality Distortion Field « Steve Blank.

Written by John Gannon

April 24, 2010 at 9:55 pm

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Ingredients for a great startup technology conference

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Image representing Dealmaker Media as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase

Having just returned from Under The Radar where we (VMTurbo) were a presenting company, I have startup tech conference best practices on the brain (and some minor jetlag).  I swear that the people at Dealmaker Media are not paying me to say this stuff, but this was one of the best conferences I have been to in a long time.  So, I thought it would be worth a post.

BTW you can count on all of the below ingredients being in the stew when we organize the first VMTurbo World (inaugural conference in 2013, if all goes well ;)

Ingredients for a great startup tech conference

Plenty of time for networking: There were multiple 30 minute breaks, as well as lunch and breakfast, giving attendees plenty of time to network.  Also, the presenters, panelists, and judges were invited to come one day earlier for additional networking opportunities.  And for those who were hard to get out of their shells, the Dealmaker Media folks made a point of brokering introductions with others in the room to grease the skids.  This was a nice touch and something I’ve not seen done at other conferences.

Diversity of attendees: The conference had a nice balance of investors, companies, and end users.  Honestly I was a little concerned after signing up that it was going to be very VC heavy (there are a bunch of big name VCs who sponsor), with  few potential customers  but I was pleasantly surprised with the mix, and especially the number of customers.  One of the VCs in attendance even commented to me that this is the one startup conference he always tries to attend because of the high quality of the companies and attendees.

Short presentations: Presenting companies were limited to 6 minutes each plus a couple of minutes for panelist questions afterwards.  It was the perfect length and gave just enough time to make the key points.

Audience participation:  For each group of presenting companies, there was SMS voting by the audience for ‘Best Presentation’.  Fun for the audience, and bragging rights for the winning companies.  I haven’t looked into it but I have to think running something like this is pretty cheap.  Surprised more people don’t do it.

Short duration:  The conference  was 1 day, with the day before being devoted to panelist and participant networking as well as an opening reception.  This was the perfect length, and although I left very tired, I felt it was a productive use of our company time and money.  Contrast this with some of the longer tech conferences.  Sure, I love going to VMworld and I do get a good deal out of it, but 4+ days of conferencing and associated social activities is a little much and by the end I’m ready for a Star Trek style teleporter back to New York.

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Written by John Gannon

April 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm

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Sobering view of the Lean Startup Pivot

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Finally, when everyone else had their turn, the grey-haired VC turned to the founder and said, “If you do what we tell you to do and fail, we’ll fire you. And if you do what you think is right and you fail, we may also fire you. But at least you’d be executing your plan not ours. Go with your gut and do what you think the market is telling you. That’s why we invested in you.” He turned to the other VC’s and added, “That’s why we write the checks and entrepreneurs run the company.”

via Why Startups are Agile and Opportunistic – Pivoting the Business Model « Steve Blank.

Written by John Gannon

April 12, 2010 at 11:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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