Investor Relations for Post-Seed Startups

When founders are raising their seed rounds, they try to meet with as many investors as possible -- a sound strategy for raising money. However, after those seed rounds close, most founders are unsure about how to allocate time to new investor relationships. Should they start reaching out to Series A investors even though a Series A is over a year away? Should they accept meeting requests from VCs they've never talked to before? If they do meet with new investors, what should such meetings be about? This post will address some of the most common questions about meeting with investors when you're not fundraising.

(Read More...)

The Fight Against Overconfidence

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the 100-hour rule:

For most disciplines, it only takes one hundred hours of active learning to become much more competent than an absolute beginner.

The downside of achieving basic competence is that it often leads to overconfidence. This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. In a study published in 1999, David Dunning and Justin Kruger found that unskilled individuals greatly overestimated their abilities, while highly skilled individuals underestimated their abilities. Here's an illustrative figure from the study:

(Read More...)

The 100-Hour Rule

A recently popularized meme is the 10,000-Hour Rule, which describes the amount of time required to achieve mastery of a field. This rule has several implications:

(Read More...)

Tackle the Hard Stuff First

"If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first."

- Mark Twain

(Read More...)

Respect the Other Players

There are many articles these days about young startups raising tons of money. There is also an increasing number of articles about well-funded startups suddenly struggling or shutting down. Every time a new story comes out, there's a chorus of comments about how a failing company was doomed from the start, or how the VCs investing at huge valuations are dumb, or how the founders of a company don't know what they're doing. Sometimes these comments are accurate, but much of the time they're ill-informed. These comments also reveal two common biases: the tendency to underestimate others (and overestimate oneself), and the tendency to draw conclusions from present data without considering what data might be missing. These are dangerous biases -- especially when used by founders to hastily dismiss the quality of their competition.

(Read More...)