Reading Mark Suster's excellent post, "Why You Need To Take 50 Coffee Meetings" brought to mind one of my personal corollaries: Talk with everyone.
I'm a relatively small-time investor. It's a documented fact, and I don't try to hide it. But that means that I need to deliver value beyond money if I'm going to convince entrepreneurs to accept my money.
One of the ways I do this is by being more accessible than richer, more glamorous investors. A friend asks that I speak with someone? I always say yes. Someone writes me a clever cold email? I take a meeting.
When you're in my position, the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world don't seek you out...unless you meet them before they become "Mark Zuckerberg."
Every mogul or rockstar entrepreneur started off as an uncool kid who was stuck on the outside looking in. I'm not smart enough to figure out just based on an email who's going to be important in the future. So I meet everyone, and treat everyone with respect.
To cap my downside, I try to push all my introductory calls to my commute along 101. This means that I'm not taking time away from real work, and that even the worst call is bounded by the length of my drive.
I talk with hundreds of entrepreneurs per year. The vast majority of the time, I'll probably never work with them. But at least I've given myself that many more chances to discover the next great company.
- I've written in the past about not limiting your relationships to people who seem immediately useful.
- Here's an eerily prescient post in which I describe meeting Ben Casnocha and David Weekly in the same week in 2004...I had no clue at the time that 7 years later, they would be two of my most important collaborators.