Biz Dev, Entrepreneur, and Dwolla. Previously at Aviary. Forbes Contributor.
Alex has done a bit of this and a bit of that and has shared his journey along the way on his blog. He’s founded SocialRank, he’s co-authored a book, and he’s locked in many deals. Listen up kids, this is the real world of entrepreneurship.
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I have always wondered if I would write a lot of tweets in order (ie tweetstorm, although that word irks me) would I gain or lose followers. - Alexander Taub (@ajt) August 21, 2014 I ask because I want to tell a story about the moment I realized I was getting "old" but it will take a good 10-15 tweets.
Many people talk about writing, blogging, and contributing content as a way to get their thoughts out there. The thought process is that if you write enough about something, you will be seen as an expert in that. This is great but I think there is another reason to write and that is networking.
On the heels of the last two posts, one of the big things we did at the offsite was set ourselves up to build out a roadmap. It is an easy task to build a roadmap when you are a small company; it is not an easy task to stick to it.
Yesterday I wrote about offsites and why they are important for your company. Today I want to write about "The Number" as it directly relates to the first offsite you and your co-founders take. "The Number" is something a company needs to set up early on as it is connected to what you track and care about.
This past week Michael and I had our first SocialRank offsite. We did it two nights last week (Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm-9pm) with one of our company advisors acting as the moderator/facilitator. We discussed everything from what we want to be when we grow up to what roles we need to fill to be successful.
Listening to podcasts is one of my favorite ways to improve my startup knowledge and understanding of the tech industry. The 25 minutes it takes me to get to work is perfect for listening to a few short podcasts or part of a long one.
"How can I break into the VC world" is the second most asked question I get after "How can I break into the startup world." To most, VC is sexy. VC, especially at the seed and A round, is really sexy. But there are very few VC jobs. Like next to zero.
Maybe it is just me but I find video really really difficult to consume on the go (streaming not downloaded). Even the best of them like YouTube and Netflix always have problems. Just yesterday I was coming back from DC, where I spent the weekend, and was trying to watch The Killing season 4, episode 1 on Netflix.
For the past few months we have been working towards SocialRank 2.0. Today we released it. It is awesome. Check it out at SocialRank.com Here is the blog post we published. Here is some press about it: BusinessWeek, TechCrunch, Pando, VentureBeat, The Next Web, Tech Cocktail, TechZulu, and on Product Hunt.
A friend of mine recently emailed me three questions she is struggling with about pre-pitching and I thought I should share the answers here as well. The three questions were: "1) Finding the right person and right level: I have a general idea of the department of the person I want to speak with, but how do I figure out if it is the right person?
Kramer tries not to watch the World Cup after "overdosing" in 2010. "The highs are high, but the lows? Oh, they're low! They're low, Jerry!" - Modern Seinfeld (@SeinfeldToday) June 12, 2014 I've been thinking a lot about the stress of startups recently. The above tweet from @SeinfieldToday expresses the highs and lows of startups pretty well.
Today is the official release of Pitching and Closing. Go pick up your copy today on Amazon, bookstores like Barnes and Noble and more. I know that people who pre-ordered it on Amazon have been receiving it early. The book was a fun process and would never have happened if not for Ellen DaSilva's tireless work.
When we went out and raised our seed round for SocialRank I learned a lot about what investors are looking for and how to play the fundraising game (it most definitely is a game and the people that want to raise funds have to learn how to play it.
I've been around the block with product announcements, fundraising news, and everything in between from my time at Aviary and now at SocialRank (I didn't do any press stuff at Dwolla; Jordan there was a stud). I've always struggled with the time-frame necessary to give a reporter enough time when trying to get coverage.
Pre-selling a product is a risky game to be in and it can blow up in your face if you do it wrong. The truth is, it can even blow up in your face if you do it right!
I've written before about the four reasons why someone would want to partner with your company. They are: you'll make them money, save them money, you'll grow their userbase, or improve their product. Then once you determine what bucket you fall into, the question will be what are their priorities, or what is important to the other side.
I've started a new trend in my work flow that is working out well. Previously, when getting emails I would reply whenever I got around to it. So if I got an email during the day and only got around to responding to emails at night, I would reply then.
Whenever I talk to people who are unhappy at their jobs, whether it be at a bigger co or startup, I try to remind them about the idea of the grass always being greener on the other side.
I read this great Quora answer by Jim Cantrell, the co-founder of SpaceX, where he talks about how Elon Musk learned enough about rockets to run SpaceX. It is a great read. My favorite part is the quote about him having the inability to consider failure.
Today's piece is a guest post from an up-and-coming entrepreneur named Mike Wilner. I met Mike during my time at Dwolla. He is launching a company and thought my blog would be a great place to share the concept and his RocketHub campaign. So without further ado: Mike's post.
Since 2012 I've taught a Skillshare class about Business Development and Partnerships. I eventually put the class on Udemy (which needs a little updating as it still says I work at Dwolla). This past week the fine folks at Coursmos added my class to their database. You can find it here.
This past Thursday I published a post on Medium about how we acquired the .com for SocialRank. It was pretty widely read (over 15k views on Medium stats). It was a detailed account of how it came to be, the good and the bad.
Today's post is one of the longest I've written. You can find it on Medium where it shall live and (hopefully) flourish. I don't think enough people write about acquiring domain issues. It is uncomfortable. But I like discomfort so I wrote a nice long post about it.
I've been a member of Product Hunt for over six months now. In the past two months it has been taking off in the press and in the startup world. Where I used to be asked for an upvote on Hacker News, it is all about asking for upvotes on Product Hunt now.
Earlier this month my buddy Greg McBeth wrote this post about Startup Moneyball. It focused on CEO/founder pay + equity compensation. It's a good piece. It made me think about how one would go about building a startup team using Billy Beane and the Oakland A's original strategy.
We've been quiet at SocialRank for the past 45 days. We'll continue to be quiet for the next few weeks or so. The real magic at startup companies is doing the things nobody sees. On the technical side, the stuff no one sees can be infrastructure architecture, user experience flows (although the end result is experienced) and more.
People always ask me "how can I land this or that job?" Or "how can I land this or that investor?" The key to "landing" that thing you want is usually being able to prove you can do something or that you deserve something before you actually get it.
We live in a world where almost everyone is digitally connected at all times. Being present is hard. I definitely struggle with it. Every single day. It affects my relationship with my wife, my family, my friends. I don't think it is going to get better on its own.
The fear of getting fired is something I know happens all the time but is rarely discussed. In the world of BD I think it happens a little more often than elsewhere because of the nature of the role.
The last few months have been quite the ride. I really haven't had time to take care of myself as well as spend time with family. I went from all-in at Dwolla for almost two years to leaving and starting SocialRank with Michael. There was no time off in between.
I'm very excited to announce that I've co-authored a book called Pitching & Closing with my good friend Ellen DaSilva from Twitter. The book is being published by McGraw Hill, comes out on July 25th, and you can pre-order it now on Amazon.