Ways I Can Help
(This page is intended for current/prospective portfolio companies.)
I often tell people, "let me know if I can help with anything," but what does that really mean? In general, I think founders should ask investors for anything they can think of. That said, here's my attempt at an exhaustive list of things I'm good at and things I'm not so good at.
- I help whenever possible and try to get out of the way when I can't. My goal is to be a resource, not an anchor.
- I try to reach out proactively every month or so, but please feel free to email me/get in touch with me whenever you'd like.
- I'm honest about what I do and do not know. If I don't know the answer to your question, I will tell you that instead of just making stuff up.
I can provide feedback on...
- your product (UX/UI, new features, website copy, new mobile app builds, etc).
- product direction and features ideas.
- pitch decks.
- sales decks.
- general company strategy.
- any type of written work: blog posts, one-pagers, etc.
I can provide high-level software design assistance with...
- API design and API feedback.
- Written product specs, API specs, and API docs.
- System design and system design feedback.
- Working through use cases for pushing a product into production.
- Advice on infrastructure design decisions (which NoSQL datastore to use, etc). I'm not super experienced here, but sometimes I know enough to be useful.
I have practical software domain expertise in...
- strategy and implementation details around data cleaning, deduping/entity resolution, data enrichment, etc.
- designing data processing pipelines (advice about high-level design rather than specific infrastructure decisions).
- fraud detection (and related problems).
- feature design for ML problems. I did a lot of this while working on fraud detection at Google and on deduping at Factual.
- I don't know ML, but I'm good at algorithms/heuristics/etc. I love thinking about hard/intractable problems and am pretty good at solving them (I used to place well in national and international programming competitions).
Ways I can help with recruiting...
- forwarding potential candidates whom I meet if they seem like a good fit (if you tell me what you're looking for).
- screening/interview process design (I did this a lot at my last job).
- recruiting strategies and messaging (I did this a lot at my last job).
- helping close candidates after they receive offers.
- interviewing your first engineer or two.
Intros I can provide..
- the longer I work as a VC, the stronger my network gets -- especially if you want to talk to other CTOs/CEOs/engineers and learn from their experiences.
- I have a fairly broad view of stuff happening in the tech world and I can provide market research about companies addressing specific problems.
- I work with ~40 startups and can dig up benchmarks on everything from typical accounting costs to average rent/employee/month in SF.
- I spent 2000-2012 as a professional software engineer at Microsoft, LinkedIn, Google, and Factual, plus I still write code on the side, so my advice tends to be rooted in practice rather than theory.
- I like helping and I'm open to just about anything. If there's something not on this list, please ask. If I don't know how to help, I promise I'll be honest about that and won't try to fake it in order to sound smart =).