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I often meet with a lot of first-time founders and listen to them to make their pitch. Usually, the storytelling isn’t great. There might be ambition and lots of understand on how to build games. But the founder is still figuring things out, and they don’t completely understand what a VC backed games company needs to sound like.
I’m continually learning about VC. I feel like it’s a superpower that I have. I can learn from others. VCs are sharing content out there, and it’s a fantastic way to learn from them.
Why do VCs matter? VCs have three principal jobs: picking startups to invest in, helping startups after investing, and raising capital for the fund. Once VCs have invested in a company, it becomes a team effort to build something big. I believe that it’s highly worthwhile for founders to understand how VCs work and think so that you can find full alignment.
Demystifying VC is in the founder’s interest. When you are raising money, you are often selling, and the investor is buying. You need to know the motivations and aspirations of your customers. When I was a founder, I was always researching how VC worked, so that I could approach funding rounds in the right way.
I never really read books to understand VC, but I spent and still spend a lot of time listening to VC podcasts and reading VC Twitter.
Podcasts and VC
Below is a list of podcasts that are great for people who are just getting into understanding VCs.
This Week In Startups
- Probably my favorite episode is when Jason interviewed Chris Sacca in 2012. There he covers his story from the dot com bust, where he want into dept for over $2m and how he bounced back from that. https://thisweekinstartups.com/chris-sacca-of-lowercase-capital-twist-291/
- Website / Spotify
Twenty Minute VC
- An incredible podcast with weekly VC interviews. Thousands of episodes with so much knowledge and insights shared. Since the episodes are short, it’s quite easy to get into listening to these.
- Website / Spotify
- You got to listen to the one with Keith Rabois. There’s more knowledge back into this half-hour episode than any book on investing in startups could handle.
- Website / Spotify
Here’s some more advanced material.
Venture Stories by Village Global
Invest Like The Best
There is this thing called VC Twitter, which I learned about a few years ago. It’s several dozen VCs from around the world, mostly SF and Silicon Valley, talking about radical ideas.
I think everyone who’s interested in startups, be it gaming or not, should follow a lot of VCs since they have these insightful thoughts, many times in a very contrarian way. Tyler Cowen recently wrote an article on the Marginal Revolution about this, sharing these insights:
VCs are in the business of speculating about the future and identifying underestimated trends. They are subjective to evolutionary pressure that selects for heterodoxy, as capital supply increases, the importance of differentiation on other axes increases. VCs have a growing incentive to personally market their product.
VCs lack conventional bosses who could sanction them if they say something ill-advised on Twitter. VCs face some of the most asymmetric return distributions of any profession. Two instances of being correct can outweigh being wrong in every other case.
Much of what supposedly-controversial VCs say is not actually contrarian but widely shared but repressed since most people have a strong disincentive to attract opprobrium. This disparity heightens the oddity of VC twitter. Unlike many occupations that profess to be about ideas but often put form above substance, VCs in some substantial sense actually are. What can seem like naivete is often a genuine engagement with the basic questions?
Therefore, in our shared pursuit of novel ideas, we should give thanks to VC Twitter. Which category of Twitter users is most similar?
Here are my top 10 picks on VC Twitter to follow:
- He is a humble VC, likes to share a lot of exciting thoughts
- Listen: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5h0a68BN8B5pid4txLygQI?si=gw3gllnGTV2rc_EQX5cG0Q
- Investor, advisor, entrepreneur, sold his company to Twitter
- Wrote the book High Growth Handbook, his blog at http://blog.eladgil.com/ is full of exciting stuff
- Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLV2ry35Uxk
- Former CRO at Tinder, VC at Chapter One
- Great at sharing thoughts that are really out there
- Listen: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7rjWw61Jh1lzLxD8RxzCul?si=LqJWVhAGTzSH_AG27EClKA
- VC at Haystack, early-stage generalist fund in SF
- Former journalist, writes a lot, really great guy, most sympathetic VC you could find
- Listen: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5KhaJmiyGbWyTiYhhioU6Y?si=vMAk9fibTvicCNGPIePXfw
- Investor, entrepreneur, member of the PayPal Mafia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PayPal_Mafia
- Pinned Tweet “Formula for startup success: Find large, highly fragmented industry w low NPS; vertically integrate a solution to simplify value product.”
- Listen: https://player.fm/series/starting-greatness/keith-rabois-key-lessons-from-peter-thiel-reid-hoffman-and-jack-dorsey
- Early-stage VC from SF
- Has a fantastic site with lots of fundraising and VC knowledge https://www.codingvc.com/
- Founder of Y Combinator
- PG has been writing about life, work, VC, startups, for over two decades, http://paulgraham.com/articles.html, now mostly Tweets
- My favorite essay from PG is “Do Things That Don’t Scale” http://paulgraham.com/ds.html
- Investor in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) space
- Tweets about topics that others aren’t talking about or won’t talk about.
- Listen: https://anchor.fm/belowtheline/episodes/8–Ryan-Caldbeck–Talking-Allowed-e4010s
- More of a philosopher than a VC
- Great at both
- Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qHkcs3kG44, https://nav.al/, and https://spearhead.co/podcast
- Designer/engineer turned VC
- Garry is an excellent content creator. In addition to Twitter, he’s the best YouTuber VC
- Listen: https://twitter.com/garrytan/status/1231080418364911616 and https://www.youtube.com/garrytan
Check out the people I follow on Twitter by clicking here.
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