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Amy and I have just launched a new project we are working on together called Startup Marriage: Balancing Entrepreneurship and Relationship. It includes a blog, a tweet stream, and a book (hopefully by the end of the year.)
Since the beginning of 2010 I’ve written two books. The first, Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons To Accelerate Your Startup, was with David Cohen, the CEO of TechStars. The second, Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer And Venture Capitalist, was with Jason Mendelson, one of my Foundry Group partners. Wiley published both of them and I’ve learned a lot about writing a long form book. I’ve also enjoyed the process and the work immensely, except for the final, mind-numbing edit cycle.
Amy and I have been talking about writing Startup Marriage for several years. Do More Faster’s last chapter is on Work-Life Balance and I have written a lot about Work-Life Balance on my blog. While there is always more to learn and figure out, Amy and I have gotten a lot of things right, although we’ve had plenty of ups and downs along the way as we’ve figured this stuff out.
We’re spending a good chuck of our time in Paris and Italy writing together. Our goal is to have a solid draft of the book done by the time we get back to Boulder after Labor Day. We haven’t decided whether to self-publish or go with a publisher this time around – we’ll see how we feel when we get a little closer to the end of the draft. In the mean time, we’ll be blogging regularly on the Startup Marriage blog about a wide variety of topics, including the experience of writing a book together. We hope you’ll follow us and participate!
Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book The Thank You Economy came out today. Gary sent me an uncorrected manuscript a few weeks ago and I read it the night I got it. It’s dynamite and I highly recommend it for anyone who is doing anything in business today.
I’m a huge Gary V fan. I can’t remember where I met him, but it was at a small dinner about five years ago at some event where I also met Tim Ferris for the first time. When I look back on the evolution of the gang in the room (I think Sacca was there and I’m now digging for some of the other attendees, but Gary fed me so much wine that my memory is now hazy) it’s pretty cool to see what everyone has accomplished.
My first real dose of Gary was Wine Library TV. I’m not a wine guy (there are a lot less brands of single malt scotch so I’ll stay with that) but I was fascinated with Gary’s reach and what he was creating. Crush It! was his first book and was full of energy, inspiration, and insight. The Thank You Economy takes it to another level.
What I love about Gary is his intense passion for what he does, his endless examples that are right on the money, his irreverence for the status quo, his complete dedication to his ideas, and his obsession with mastering anything he gets involved in. Books like The Thank You Economy are easy to read – they are full of great examples knitted together with Gary’s thoughts and ideas, written in a very accessible way. While reading the book, you feel like you are a having a long conversation with Gary, which of course, you sort of are.
Gary – congrats on crushing it again. Thank you for writing the The Thank You Economy!
Update: Brian Williams of Viget reminded me that he organized the dinner I referred to above. It was in 2007 at a Web 2.0 related conference in DC. Here’s the note from Brian reminding me of this – thanks Brian for dislodging this memory (and for organizing that great dinner).
“Was the dinner you mention the one we had in Virginia around the Web 2.0 conference I helped organize back in 2007 (no longer running)? As far as I remember, in addition to you & me we had Gary and AJ, Tim Ferris, James Surowiecki, Ryan Carson, Frank Gruber, Om Malik, Rohit Bhargava (Ogilvy), and JD Kathuria (co-organizer). Not a bad dinner! I don’t think Sacca was there, but there was a lot of wine …
I remember suggesting to the guys organizing the conference with me that we invite Gary to speak because I loved his approach to WLTV and figured he’d change the world — they thought I was crazy. ”
After writing Do More Faster with David Cohen, I have deep appreciation for the effort involved in writing a book. After reading a bunch of entrepreneurship books, I’ve decided there are three categories: (a) autobiographies, (b) consultant roadmaps, and (c) practitioner stories. I like the practitioner stories best, followed closely by autobiographies. I do not like consultant roadmaps and have decided I won’t read them anymore.
Bill Draper (officially William H. Draper III) has written a gem called The Startup Game. It’s a mix of practitioner stories with some autobiography mixed in. Draper is one of the original VCs – his father (William Henry Draper, Jr.) started Draper Gaither & Anderson, one of the first VC firms on the west coast that coincidentally was the first firm to use a limited partner (LP structure). His son, Tim Draper, started Draper Fisher Jurvetson. And William III started several firms, including Draper & Johnson, Sutter Hill Ventures, Draper Richards, and Draper International. Yup – lots of Drapers, but they’ve all collectively accomplished some amazing things.
In The Startup Game, Draper talks about the early days of venture capital, the creation and evolution of the industry, and many of the early players whose names are well known to any VC insider. Along the way he tells stories about companies he’s funded (or missed funding) and generally teaches at least one lesson in each story. This isn’t an autobiography – while he mixes in lots of biographical information, the chronology is self-admittedly random and he bounces between stories of his father and son along with his sojourn to Washington DC which he calls his lost years.
SF Gate published an interview on Sunday titled William Draper, veteran venture investor, reflects and SiliconValley.com wrote a review titled Venture capitalist Bill Draper adds ‘author’ to his résumé with ‘The Startup Game. Both capture the spirit of the book which I view as a must read for any practicing or aspiring VC or entrepreneur.
On the heels of all the noise around Groupon’s $100m financing at a $7.5b (billion) post valuation, I thought I’d put out a call for “old VC term sheets – prior to 1990.”
My partner Jason Mendelson and I are working on a book titled Venture Financings: How To Look Smarter Than Your Lawyer and VC. The final draft is due at the end of February (feel free to give us your sympathy if you happen to see us between now an then) and based on my previous experience with our publisher (Wiley) on Do More Faster, I expect it’ll be out by the end of Q211.
The basis for the book comes from the Term Sheet series that Jason and I wrote on this blog in 2005. We’ve updated the series for the current reality of 2010 (of which much is very similar to 2005, with some differences), talk about lots of different twists that have appeared, and tell plenty of stories to illustrate what the implications of various terms and financing configurations are.
As part of this, I’m looking for some early VC term sheets. I started by trying to hunt down the original Digital Equipment Corporation term sheet (or letter describing the investment) from AR&D to Ken Olson but came up dry. Today, as I was working on some stuff, I realized it would be interesting to look at some term sheets from the 1970′s and 1980′s in whatever form they are in.
If you happen to be in possession of an older VC term sheet – either for a company that was successful or one that was a failure – I’d love to see it. You can email it to me if easy, or drop me a note and I’ll tell you where to fax it. I’ll make sure I honor your request to keep it anonymous if you want me to (either you, the company, or both) but of course would love the ability to weave it into the book where appropriate.
Well, week 1 of the Do More Faster book tour was a blast, but I’ve contemplated renaming it the “Do More Faster And Then Sleep All Weekend to Recover Book Tour” based on the empirical data from my 24 hour sleep session from Saturday at noon to Sunday at noon.
The book tour is in Boulder on Monday and Tuesday, then Denver on Tuesday night, and then Boston on Thursday. If you haven’t yet signed up and want to come, there are still some slots open as follows:
Monday Night – 10/18 – Two Guys and a Book – Beer with Brad and David. We’ll be at the Dairy Center for the Arts (2590 Walnut Street) from 7pm to 9pm tonight handing out book, drinking beer, and having fun.
Tuesday – 10/19 – We have two events during the day at the TechStars Bunker. If you are interested in TechStars, come to TechStars For An Hour from 2:30pm – 3:30pm. Then from 4pm – 5pm we’ll be having an event called Angels in the Architecture where we will discuss the local angel and VC landscape with co-panelists Howard Diamond, Brad Bernthal, Dave Carlson, Ray Crogan, Ari Newman, and Paul Berberian. Howard, Brad, Ari, and Paul also contributed to the book so come and get them to sign your copy! You need to register for each event - TechStars For An Hour or Angels in the Architecture.
Tuesday Night – 10/19 – We are having the big Boulder / Denver event at the Boulder Denver New Tech Meetup on Tuesday night. As of now 425 people are coming so don’t miss out. We have a bunch of the contributors from the book attending – maybe I’ll make them read their chapters.