Yet Another (ex-)VC Blog

Cloud computing, startups, and venture capital

Archive for January 2013

The key to VC fundraising: “Not need it.”

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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.”

via Continuations : Want a Good Deal? Have a Credible Alternative.

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Written by John Gannon

January 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm

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New eBook – 15 networking emails that worked

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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.)

poorly written recruiter email

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 – job hunting emails that helped me get meetings with or secure introductions from hard-to-reach startup execs (whose companies were hiring!) and VC’s.

Download eBook

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve taken these emails – emails that worked – and compiled them into a free eBook.

This eBook is filled with 15 job hunt email templates and 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.

Written by John Gannon

January 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm

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Before you write your first eBook, here’s 15 things you need to know

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Just 1% of authors earn out of their advance.  (Are you still surprised about #1 and #2? :)
  4. 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…
  5. …Gumroad.  Gumroad provides a ridiculously simple platform to distribute and sell eBooks as well as other digital goods.  If you don’t need a lot of fancy features and just want a super simple sales and distribution platform, it’s a great service and they eat into much of your profit margin!
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. Long plane flights rock.  I wrote almost the entire first draft of content on a couple of cross-country plane flights.
  9. 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.
  10. No email list yet?  Get started today.  A great “give” is to provide a portion of your book to new subscribers to your list.
  11. 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). BTW if you sign up, they’ll shave a few bucks off of my bill, too! ;)
  12. 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! :)
  13. 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.
  14. Consider giving your book away for free to your Tribe.
  15. 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 recently finished my second eBook!  It’s 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 click here to learn more.

Written by John Gannon

January 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Mobile DevOps via VictorOps

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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

via VictorOps raises $1.58M to helps ops teams get web sites back online — Tech News and Analysis.

Written by John Gannon

January 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

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