I recently gave a talk to the Canadian Tech Accelerator on how to find decision makers and get meetings as a startup with limited connections. The Canadian Consulate of New York brings a few select young companies to NYC every 3 months to expose them to the New York Tech ecosystem while they grow their business.
For my efforts, they were kind enough to give me a lifetime supply of maple syrup along with a lock of Gretzky’s hair. Pretty sweet trade eh!
In this talk, I cover:
ways to find a decision maker
how to write cold emails that actually work (warning contains unconventional, non-toolish advice)
exact cold call scripts and strategies
some random “resourceful” tactics I’ve used to open doors that I think …
This post is part of the Startup Edition series.
How the heck do you land a startup job as a non-technical person???
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked this I’d have like $2.65.
I want highlight one technique I call the “Proof Approach” that I’ve seen work time and time again.
When you have no prior startup experience, employers are taking a risk on you. They use your previous accomplishments and pedigree as a proxy to determine your capacity to be an effective team member.
If you created enough value at your last job to demonstrate everest potential, this might be enough to secure a gig. But many young people haven’t, and sometimes even major accomplishments aren’t enough to land …
I’ve donated more money to the driving range than I’d like to admit.
You see, growing up I was told in order to improve or perform something at a high level, the best thing to do was practice. In the context of aspiring to break triple digits on the links, I thought hitting the range and swinging until my hands bleed was the right approach. Sigh.
The distinct memory of those blisters isn’t why I now cringe at that approach. I cringe because I realize I could have used my time much more effectively. When you want to get results faster than you can teach yourself, the best thing to do is seek advice from an expert. In the instance above, I should have taken a …
Today I bring you an interview with my buddy Alex Banayan, a 20-year old VC and author for Crown Publishing (Random House).
In this interview Alex reveals:
How we landed a VC job at 19 with Alsop Louie Partners and leveraged the power of authenticity to do it.
The advice that the President of Microsoft gave him
Details on his new book that he hopes will shape the minds of the next generation
How he funded the initial book writing process and travel (hint: involves sail boats and Drew Carey)
An awesome story on how he hustled his way to get a meeting with the CEO of Toms Shoes (and a personal story from yours truly on the “creating serendipity technique”)
The lesson that his greatest mentor …
In the second edition of my new interview series, I have a chat with Dan Shipper. Dan is a co-founder of Firefly and has made a few waves in the tech scene.
In this conversation Dan reveals:
The details of his new startup Firefly and where he got the idea
Why he decided to shelve his last startup and the biggest lesson he learned
A recap on the most valuable lesson he learned from Jason Fried, founder of 37 Signals
How he’s started relationships with guys like Gary Vaynerchuk and Jason Freedman
Insight into what I call the “horizontal relationship building technique”
How he manages his time amidst running a startup and being a philosophy major at Penn
Clay Christiansen video here
Find Dan on twitter or his …
I recently had an interesting business development conversation with a founder that I thought others might find interesting.
His company is just about to finalize a deal with their first marquee partner. He was wondering at what point he should start using their name in conversations with other prospects.
The social proof of another of big name in the space is tremendously valuable for them. It provides optics that can be leveraged to attract new partners/customers. Thus, the earlier they can take advantage of this the better.
One (dangerous) Approach:
You could start telling other prospects that you’re working with the partner despite the fact it hasn’t been finalized.
The upside is that you might be able to expedite landing additional partners.
The downside is that …
Many startup founders are deathly afraid of building their own sales team. They default to channel partnerships to try and get distribution. Sigh.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a channel partnership is when a person or organization sells products on behalf of another company. An example of this is how Duda Mobile uses Webs.com as a channel partner. Customers of Webs.com can mobile optimize their website through a partnership DudaMobile. Webs.com benefits from the partnership by filling out their offering to prospective customers and DudaMobile benefits from the distribution to Webs.com customers.
Partnerships like this can be great for both parties. But they also can also barely move the needle and be extremely time-consuming to develop.
Here are a few things startup …
In the first part of this post, I shared how calling for a former employee can help you find a decision maker. Here’s a few other strategies to isolate the right contact at a large company.
Use Implicit Data on LinkedIn
Let’s revert back to the conundrum of there being 12 people in the marketing department and limited transparency to which one is responsible for your particular initiative. There’s a few places on a LinkedIn profile that contain implicit data from which you can draw conclusions.
The Skills and Expertise Section
The skills and expertise section contains granular endorsements (i.e. email marketing, social media, SEM). These can provide a strong indication what someone is responsible for at a particular company.
Say I was looking to …