Yet Another (ex-)VC Blog

Cloud computing, startups, and venture capital

Archive for August 2012

Running one-on-one meetings for the right reasons

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Generally, people who think one-on-one meetings are a bad idea have been victims of poorly designed one-on-one meetings. The key to a good one-on-one meeting is the understanding that it is the employee’s meeting rather than the manager’s meeting. This is the free-form meeting for all the pressing issues, brilliant ideas and chronic frustrations that do not fit neatly into status reports, email and other less personal and intimate mechanisms.

via One on One // ben’s blog.

Written by John Gannon

August 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm

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Things that make you go “Hmm”

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From I.B.M. Mainframe Evolves to Serve the Digital World – NYTimes.com:

“The mainframe is the most flexible technology platform in computing,” said Rodney C. Adkins, I.B.M.’s senior vice president for systems and technology.

Written by John Gannon

August 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

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Venture Capital Job Hunting Hacks class slides

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Below are the slides from my most recent Skillshare class, “Venture Capital Job Hunting Hacks“.  I have been teaching the class in NYC (twice now).  Have been thinking about expanding it, so if you’d like me to take it to another city or in an online format, please leave a comment and let me know.

By the way, if you are interested in advice and tips on getting into the VC industry, feel free to join my mailing list via the form below. No spam (I promise!) and only super relevant content to a VC job search.

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Written by John Gannon

August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am

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4 awesome B2B startup sales tips from Steve Blank

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Lessons Learned

In complex B-to-B sales, multiple “Yes” votes are required to get an order.

A single “No” can kill the deal. Understanding the saboteurs in a complex sale is as important as understanding the recommenders and influencers

We needed a selling strategy that took all of this into account.

In a startup not losing is sometimes more important than winning.

via At times not losing is as important as winning « Steve Blank.

Written by John Gannon

August 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm

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Job hunters! Are you asking for referrals?

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When you have a good career networking meeting/call with someone, don’t be afraid to ask them for a referral to others in their network who may be helpful.

Some people you meet may volunteer to make referrals if you make a good impression during your meeting/call, but others may not think to offer it. You should always ask, assuming your meeting/call went fairly well and you developed a rapport with the person you met.  This is an easy way for you to expand your network AND you will likely get to connect with folks who otherwise would not take a call/meeting with you if you reached out blindly.

An example ‘ask’: “Thanks so much for meeting with me today. Based on what you learned about me and my career aspirations, I was wondering if there are any other folks in your network who you think I should speak with?”

One last thing…make sure you make this ‘ask’ at the end of your call or meeting. Don’t do it in a follow up email. You’re definitely harder to ignore in person!  :)

Looking for career advice and job hunting tips?  Sign up for my list and you’ll receive periodic career advice in your Inbox (and NO spam!).

Written by John Gannon

August 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

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When to quit your venture capital job hunt

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Recently, a few people have asked me: “When do I know if I should quit my venture capital job search?” Because the VC job hunt can take a very long time, with few signs to show you if you’re heading in the right direction, it’s especially important to understand when you might consider quitting your search for a VC job (and instead evaluate an indirect route, like working for a portfolio company first), and when you should press on with your search.

It took me 16 months of active searching while in business school (+ a couple of months after graduation) to get my first VC offer, so I’d like to think I am somewhat of an expert in knowing how to evaluate when to quit – because most people in their right minds would have quit if they were me (jobless immediately post-MBA, with twins on the way that summer)! However, I had a couple of major data points to suggest that I was getting close and that I should keep pushing. If you are seeing these data points in your VC job hunt, you might want to keep pushing, too…

Point #1: If you are in “final round” interviews with a firm or on a very short list of candidates (< 5 candidates remaining),  you probably have what it takes to get yourself in that position again with another firm. I remember on the day I graduated from business school, I received a voicemail from a firm with whom I had conducted a final round interview. Unfortunately – it was a “Ding” call – I did not get the job. However, I knew that if I was that close, I had a reasonable shot of getting to final round interviews with another firm. And that’s exactly what happened – with 3 different firms over the next couple of months.

Another example — a few weeks back, I met someone last week (pre-MBA) who has been searching for a VC job for the last several months. He was trying to get an indication from me as to whether or not he should quit his search as he had become frustrated with his perceived lack of progress. When he told me that he had made it to final round interviews with a firm, but didn’t get the role (the firm chose to hire no one, incidentally, even though they were running a somewhat formal hiring process), to me that was a big indicator that this guy had a shot at cracking into the industry, so I encouraged him to stay the course. And I definitely won’t be surprised if he gets to a final round interview with another firm soon.

Point #2: Do you know which venture capital firms are hiring? Do you know which VC firms have junior staffers who have just left their jobs or who are leaving soon?   Do you know which firms have recently raised a new fund?

If you’re not able to answer these questions pretty readily after a few months of serious searching, this could indicate any of the following things:

  • You’re not searching hard enough!
  • You’re not approaching VC firms in the right way (e.g. via warm intros through their trusted networks)
  • You don’t have a background that fits the firms you’re approaching

If you’re challenged by the 1st item, you need to do a gut check.  As I have mentioned in other posts, it is very hard to break into the venture capital industry and so you have to have a tremendous passion for the subject matter as well as the job search process.

The bottom line:  If you think you have a realistic shot at breaking into the venture capital industry, be relentless, polite, and persistent in your search!

If you are interested in advice and tips on getting into the VC industry, feel free to join my mailing list via the form below.  No spam (I promise!) and only super relevant content to a VC job search.

Written by John Gannon

August 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

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I think Greylock or Sequoia may be hiring

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Glocap just sent out an email blast about a big firm in the Valley looking for a post-MBA associate to cover enterprise software. Here’s a link to the posting. Sounds like the hiring firm wants someone with operating experience in the software space.

Glocap always tries to be mysterious in these job postings, which is pretty funny because then they describe the firm in a way that’s a dead giveaway. For example, in this post, they describe the firm as follows: “Our client is a global, multi-billion AUM venture capital firm with over 40 years of history and success in partnering with entrepreneurs.” There are only 3 firms that come to mind in the Valley that fit that profile – KPCB, Greylock, and Sequoia. And one of them (KPCB) doesn’t hire associates, so that leaves us with two – Greylock and Sequoia. If I were a betting man, I’d say its Greylock, because they just brought on a new General Partner (who may need some associate(d) bandwidth).

My recommendation: if you have some enterprise software chops, and are post-MBA (or soon to be), network your way into these firms and don’t go to Glocap. I don’t have anything personal against Glocap but if you’re looking for your first job in venture, recruiters (in my experience) are not typically very helpful. You’re better off expending some networking cycles to find someone who knows someone at the firm.

By the way, if you are generally interested in advice and tips on getting into the VC industry, feel free to join my mailing list via the form below.  No spam (I promise!) and only super relevant content to a VC job search.

Written by John Gannon

August 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

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