Both Sides of the Table

I’m going to be a bit of a fangirl here so bear with me.

Twitter is proving to be a great source of reading material, and I’m starting to see the appeal of it now more than ever. I’ve also come to the inevitable conclusion that there is no single formula to become a great entrepreneur, venture capitalist or product manager. In order to truly develop meaningful insights, you need to do a lot more than just read a single book or a single article on Medium. Like mastering any other craft, it requires concentrated effort and practice.

Until you’re able to construct your own system based on what works for you and what doesn’t (morally, creatively and otherwise), the next best thing is to follow a system that comes from a source you trust. For me at this point, it’s Mark Suster. I think my Tweet summarizes his appeal for me

While my dad can give me philosophical advice about life when I need it, more often than not I call him to ask random questions about filing my taxes. It’s practical and easier to understand the process from someone who has experience with it, and you don’t need to go into more details of the subject matter than you need to. Mark Suster’s advice is along the same lines—realistic and backed by a shit ton of experience.

I am subscribed to his blog of course, but I actually reinstalled Snapchat after being incredibly annoyed with it just to keep an eye on Mark’s Snapchat stories. Very helpfully, his snaps are transcribed for people who aren’t on Snapchat, but I find that watching him speak is a welcome break from reading, and his fist bumps at the end of each story never fail to put a smile on my face. In any case, some of his best hits from his various Snapstorms are below (huge thanks to @lazalberto)

  • 50 coffee meetings. If you committed to just 1 coffee meeting per week, you’d have 50 meetings per year – imagine how many connections you’d actually make.
  • Always send a thank-you email. You’d be surprised how very few people are thankful for the time they actually do get.
  • It’s really important, even at an early stage team, to have diversity of skills. If you’re more introverted you might want someone more extroverted. If you’re more process based, you might want someone more freeform.
  • Another big mistake, particularly in Silicon Valley, is people underestimating product management. The success of Facebook and Google is the exception, not the rule. Of course you need great engineers, but you need to mix it with great product management to get great product.
  • Inexperienced investors or board members will always try to get you to hire people with great resumes; I like to tell companies to hire people who are one punch above their weight class. Hire the person who was number 2 at sales or finance or marketing, who wanted the top job, so they’re hungry and will work harder.
  • A players beget A players, and B players beget C players. It’s because A players are confident enough to hire great people, while B players often lack the confidence so they hire people less good than themselves.
  • If you have a business, you need to think about distribution. The app store is only one distribution point. Think Facebook, think Imgur, think Reddit, think Slack… And for all you Apple fanboys, think Google.

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