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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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One More Thought on Getting A VC’s Attention

Comments (7)

I was going to edit my Getting A VC’s Attention post but I thought the point I was going to add was important enough to highlight it in a separate post.  In the post I wrote:

The feature is not the magic.  Listening to your customers (in the case a prominent VC blogger – who’s attention is in high demand) and reacting to requests quickly and publicly is.

What I meant to emphasize is that the magic is in "the doing."  It’s not about talking.  It’s not about commenting.  It’s not about emailing.  It’s about doing.  Rapidly iterating your product – demonstrating that you know how to process feedback, prioritize (based on whatever your current goals are), and executing. 

If your goal is getting a VC’s Attention (as I expect Bret Taylor had as one of his goals), this was a brilliant approach.  I’m not suggesting that you should orient your development schedule and feature list around what a VC wants (yeah – that would be a generically bad idea), but if you are trying to get a specific VC’s attention that you think has something to add to the mix, this is a great way to do it.

All of this (and the early morning, thin mountain air) made me think of my favorite Star Wars quote.  "Do, or do not.  There is no try."  … Yoda

  • http://www.loupaglia.com/correlate Lou Paglia

    bringing out the yoda-based wisdom, good stuff.

    • http://www.oakslade.com/blog/post-production/how-clients-watch-online/ Darran Foxon

      I work with an early-stage VC fund in the UK; one of our portfolio media companies was producing a series of films for a senior VP at American Express. The entrepreneurs wanted to use FTP-software to showcase the work. We pointed out that it “ain't the friendliest bit of software”. Over the weekend, the team identified and installed a PHP-based viewing system. They even blagged the URL http://www.watchyouredit.com . The result; a happy investor seeing a quick and effective response and, more importantly, a very happy customer

  • http://blog.jparkhill.com Jay Parkhill

    I just listened to an interview with the founder of Stonyfield Farms. He had numerous quotable moments. One of my favorites was his emphasis on maintaining a high “talk/do” ratio. Exactly.

    • Aziz Grieser

      The Stonyfield Farms founder is very passionate about his organic yogurt, and sustainability. He spoke at my MBA graduation at Babson College, and man, did he piss off the republicans in attendance. I don't think he even talked about us, or our futures once. It was all about the environment and how we need to stop doing what we're doing now. That and buy his yogurt. LOL

      Someone I could easily see as a green-peace-bomber, blowing up a Japanese whaling boat in the middle of The Pacific.

  • John McCarthy

    “Do, or do not. There is no try.” … Yoda

    As my son and daughter begin a new little league season I am glad to be reminded of this advice I have been known to give them as a coach, which of course contradicts the phrase I also use “Just do your best and have fun.”

    As long as I am quoting Yoda I have my son's attention…One of the key challenges as a parent/coach and I think as an investor or manager is knowing when to use each of thes e contradictory phrases.

  • http://www.derekscruggs.com Derek Scruggs

    As seen on a t-shirt (mine!):

    do || ! do: try;
    >> try: command not found

  • Aziz Grieser

    The game of “pin the tail on the VC” is pretty boring, IMO, but it is necessary. I think the best thing that I've learned is to keep my communication to a minimum and in context. That way my comments are quick reads and stand out somewhat.

    The trouble is that too many startups feel that they need capital to “do”, and therefore they come across as all “talk”. I agree with the need to “do” in the eyes of a potential investor, but the “step” function that requires significant customer traction (10k users) is sometimes unattainable. Additionally, what risk does the investor take, if any, if they are only interested in slipping on board once a website “hits” an opportunity. So are every other VC firm and money, is just that, money. The main VC differentiation in the eyes of an entrepreneur, like me, is when someone in the VC firm “gets it” enough to invest prior to any major success.

    In our conversation (Brad's and mine about my company), Brad did something along those same lines that made me think he might not “get it”, but he does see there could be potential and offered to connect me to relevant contacts at his disposal when the time comes. This is just as valuable to someone striving for the chance to justify themselves in the market.

    Take er easy.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/lou_paglia lou_paglia

    bringing out the yoda-based wisdom, good stuff.

  • Darran Foxon

    I work with an early-stage VC fund in the UK; one of our portfolio media companies was producing a series of films for a senior VP at American Express. The entrepreneurs wanted to use FTP-software to showcase the work. We pointed out that it "ain't the friendliest bit of software". Over the weekend, the team identified and installed a PHP-based viewing system. They even blagged the URL http://www.watchyouredit.com . The result; a happy investor seeing a quick and effective response and, more importantly, a very happy customer

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/john_mccart7589 john_mccart7589

    "Do, or do not. There is no try." … Yoda

    As my son and daughter begin a new little league season I am glad to be reminded of this advice I have been known to give them as a coach, which of course contradicts the phrase I also use "Just do your best and have fun."

    As long as I am quoting Yoda I have my son's attention…One of the key challenges as a parent/coach and I think as an investor or manager is knowing when to use each of thes e contradictory phrases.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jay_parkhil2393 jay_parkhil2393

    I just listened to an interview with the founder of Stonyfield Farms. He had numerous quotable moments. One of my favorites was his emphasis on maintaining a high "talk/do" ratio. Exactly.

  • Derek Scruggs

    As seen on a t-shirt (mine!):

    do || ! do: try;
    >> try: command not found

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/aziz_griese5636 aziz_griese5636

    The Stonyfield Farms founder is very passionate about his organic yogurt, and sustainability. He spoke at my MBA graduation at Babson College, and man, did he piss off the republicans in attendance. I don't think he even talked about us, or our futures once. It was all about the environment and how we need to stop doing what we're doing now. That and buy his yogurt. LOL

    Someone I could easily see as a green-peace-bomber, blowing up a Japanese whaling boat in the middle of The Pacific.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/aziz_griese5636 aziz_griese5636

    The game of "pin the tail on the VC" is pretty boring, IMO, but it is necessary. I think the best thing that I've learned is to keep my communication to a minimum and in context. That way my comments are quick reads and stand out somewhat.

    The trouble is that too many startups feel that they need capital to "do", and therefore they come across as all "talk". I agree with the need to "do" in the eyes of a potential investor, but the "step" function that requires significant customer traction (10k users) is sometimes unattainable. Additionally, what risk does the investor take, if any, if they are only interested in slipping on board once a website "hits" an opportunity. So are every other VC firm and money, is just that, money. The main VC differentiation in the eyes of an entrepreneur, like me, is when someone in the VC firm "gets it" enough to invest prior to any major success.

    In our conversation (Brad's and mine about my company), Brad did something along those same lines that made me think he might not "get it", but he does see there could be potential and offered to connect me to relevant contacts at his disposal when the time comes. This is just as valuable to someone striving for the chance to justify themselves in the market.

    Take er easy.

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