Pretty cool, simple tool for starting to think about how much money your business needs before you’re ready to buy that yacht…or at the very least be break-even. http://growth.tlb.org/
Does your business have a sworn enemy? I don’t mean a frenemy whom you openly work with until that hopeful day when you can crush them. Not the people who kind of annoy you. I mean the businesses and people with values that are antithetical to the core mission of your team. I mean the entities that offend you with their very existence. In the immortal words of the Notorious B.I.G…the folks you have beef with.
A sworn enemy provides a foil. A true south to your true north. A dragon to wake up and slay every single day for your users, customers and for the world. As Josh Linkner wrote in Forbes, you’ve got to pick a fight to build something that really matters.
Your sworn enemy might be mediocrity in a market. It might be bad, ugly design in Enterprise software (shout to FieldLens). It might be inefficiencies in supply chain, or poorly managed retail operations that lead to higher prices for end consumers (looking at you Jeff Bezos). It could be mercilessly attacking the stuffy whiteshirt and propriety of old school Valley VCs with passion-filled expletives and non-traditional money-ball strategies (hell yeah Dave McClure!)
Our team’s sworn enemy: the mediocre introduction middleman. You know that guy who offered to introduce you to some Angel Investors if you pay him to play? Yeah, him. You know that recruiter who keeps calling you with candidates half of whom it turns out you share connections with (and the other half of whom aren’t a good fit because that recruiter doesn’t know you or your team well)? And for the basement bargain price of only $10,000-$20,000? Definitely him.
It’s not that there aren’t amazing recruiters and incredible advisors that you’d be lucky to work with. It’s that mediocre middlemen have built an industry around your fear that you can’t get to the right people for your business to succeed. That’s bull.
I get higher quality intros and candidates than 99% of the crap that cold calling middlemen lay on my doorstep; simply by combining the power of my team’s networks
So we’re putting you on notice mediocre introduction middlemen: step up your game. Empower your clients. Collaborate with them on identifying who they already know so you can go find the leads they TRULY can’t get to. Your target clients are the people that are increasingly using Simplist to turn every team member, advisor and investor into a connector across every single one of their combined networks (linkedin, twitter, facebook, their contacts, and we’ve got more coming!)
A small, scrappy team can do all of the following without paying a middle man if they know how to leverage their networks:
Yeah. We’re gunning for all mediocre middlemen (and mediocre middlewomen), especially the ones who prey on early stage founders and small teams. That’s beef.
Building is a team sport. Simplist wants to help you combine the power of ALL your networks to build faster and more cost-effectively.
In a nutshell it means someone likes that we’re building the simplest way in the world to build your business faster and better leveraging (and collaborating with) your network. In fact, they like it so much they submitted to ProductHunt that Simplist is something to watch. (Thanks Kris!)
Then I went over to vote myself (even the President votes for himself, right?) and realized there were some GREAT questions about what we’re up to. So, I’ll answer them here and keep this updated then when my account is approved for commenting, I’ll put in-line on ProductHunt:
1. Jeremie Berrebi, (Co-Founder of Kima Ventures) commented:
Looks very interesting…but not sure LinkedIn will allow this…
Response: Jeremy, legit issue to consider. Our sincere hope is that Linkedin recognizes that as a team, for the past several years, we have only focused on trying to make these networks more useable and valuable to the end user. In this light we are never trying to siphon off users or build a new “uber” network so much as we take a user-focused view; in order to make it easy for them to get to the right people in any of the places they have connections or are looking to make connections. In fact anecdotally (supported by exit data) we send our users BACK to linkedin to do the “last mile” of connecting with new prospects that our users’ friends or teammates have referred. We actually want to create value for the network by first recognizing that insights about the connections and paths are in fact highly valuable to business users (and businesses). That said, if you’d like to help us make our case to the product team at Linkedin, shoot me a note. :) Love to know what you think about this.
2. Erik Torenberg (rapping @raptfm, hustling @ProductHunt) replied to Jeremie:
@jberrebi if they would allow it, wouldn’t linkedin let us do this directly already? i like it a lot, but it seems to good to be true.
Response: Erik, 1st off as a (semi)-retired rapper I love what you’re up to at raptfm and may have to jump in a cypher with you. Ok, back to work. :) Linkedin blazed an incredible path as the first indispensable professional network. And it built a huge business by achieving massive scale and then charging recruiters and salespeople for the ability to reach out to users. That made (and still makes) a ton of sense for the salesperson, but leads ultimately to a decline in awesomeness of user experience. We are really excited to demonstrate the ways in which all of this connection and expertise data can be made commercially actionable for end users without cannibalizing the core focus on Linkedin’s business. If you (and me) and other users signal with our dollars that this kind of user-centric data mining is commercially interesting (for you as well as for them) then we think everybody wins even though our approach is not native to Linkedin’s DNA today. Make sense?
3. Mack Flavelle (biz dev, tapstream) commented:
Just poking at this now. If this works as well as I’m fantasizing this could be really interesting. My linkedin account has become unusable in the last year due to so many VERY loose ties. Maybe this helps fix that.
Response: Mack, we’re definitely hoping to help make all of your networks more useable for you in three ways
Obviously to say we have a long way to go is unequivocally true but we hope we can help your network work better for you starting now.
Please ask any questions over at ProductHunt or here and I’ll do my absolute best to answer. Full disclosure: Our product is rapidly evolving so we REALLY love all feedback, even the harsh kind. When we do our jobs right, you’re able to build your companies and causes better and faster and we take it seriously if we’re not living up to it.
You. You’re why. My team is addicted to that look of accomplishment on our users’ faces (or tweets) when they get to the people they need to help them build. When they communicate in personalized and effective ways to activate their community.
It’s unique. It’s inspiring. It’s that moment when they realize that their team’s network of contacts connections and customers is more powerful than they ever realized. It’s the moment they see even more possibility.
I love that instant that they look up and realize they just cracked the riddle on their hunt for the perfect person…
I love that when we do our jobs well, you guys build amazing companies and causes faster and better.
We tend to focus on founders, freelancers and small teams but this piece was great. Awesome article by Wired UK on which digital tools will help British politicians take home the win. Props to Geoff Mulgan for a smart mention of our friends Thunderclap and other powerful tools like Nationbuilder. We love simple tools that empower people to connect and engage authentically. Grassroots at scale is on its way. (full Wired article here. Great read)
For our part in this new world, we want to be the best in the world at enabling collaboration around WHO (perfect people, intros and endorsements) and HOW (best channel, most compelling messaging) to engage. Quickly. Actionable people lists for outreach/engagement.
Curious what platforms you think we should be teaming up with…
Teams need simple tools to leverage the greatest asset they start off with…the support and expertise of their team/community’s networks. So we’re rooting for more “force multiplier” tools like Thunderclap and will continue to do our part to make networks work better for everyone building stuff.
Happy Monday! Whether you are a Simplist user or not you need to take 5 minutes and make three simple changes to how you use Linkedin.
It’ll work better for you and suck less for the people you’re connecting with or connected to.
1. Please stop using the default connection request text when you don’t actually know someone.
Folks. Please. For real. Take 10 seconds and explain to the person whom you don’t know, a) why you’re intrigued by them and/or b) how you guys might collaborate. Especially if you’ve never interacted with them anywhere. And don’t even get me started on the irony of “since you are a person I trust…” for someone YOU DON’T KNOW.
2. Email your linkedin contacts instead of messaging whenever something is really critical.
Linkedin is awesome at lots of stuff, but most people don’t reliably check their linkedin message inboxes. What you may not know is that Linkedin has actually made it easy to grab your contacts’ email addresses. It takes like 10 seconds. Literally, my 60 second explanation below took longer to make than it takes to pull email addresses from Linkedin into my address book. You can backchannel with trusted contacts in email and bring it back to Linkedin for intros (if you haven’t already figure out another, Simpler way…)
3. Warm introductions are your business’ best friend so make it easy for your team and your friends to help you with them.
Imagine sending a simple link to a friend that they could click and see which of the people they know are perfect for you. And then being able to initiate that intro via email. Well that’s exactly how we’re making Linkedin (and Twitter, Facebook and your address book to start) more valuable for you and your team. Simple ways to understand and collaborate around your contacts and connections. So get Simplist now and get the warm introductions flowing!
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Jason Freedman [42Floors, FlightCaster, Y Combinator] absolutely NAILS IT with this blog post about how investors aren’t listening to you unless someone they trust makes the introduction.
Cold Pitch = Dead Pitch.
"Investors don’t want to meet you. They wanted to be introduced to you."
…It’s a huge difference. Another top tier VC once told me that out of the thousands of business pitches he receives in his office every year, his firm has never funded one that came in completely cold. In other words, the only way to get their investment was through an introduction…
Getting introductions is the most time-effective way to engage the most important people you need. It could be investors, talent you need to hire, people with industry expertise, or potential customers.
So find the right people to introduce you - I’d start with a Simplist list filled with “founder”, “start-up”, and “vc backed” keywords.
You’re a founder. You’re a visionary. You’re bold, You’ve started something…like maybe even Costa Rica (really Google, that’s the example you’re going with?)
So stop reading this and go find the people your business needs.
Ok. Still reading? Fine, how about this:
In his awesome 2013 Forbes piece on Fundraising, entrepreneurship expert Eric Wagner gave 12 amazing tips on raising capital for your startup. Fully FIVE of the tips are about finding the right people. Team, advisors, experience, investors. #’s 3,4,5,9 and 11 make a good case for you to stop reading and start FINDING the people you need.