Be the Twitter Guys: More gold from Sam Altman’s startup class

From Lecture 9, where Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway, and Parker Conrad from Zenefits talk about how to raise money.

Full of good stuff, but my favourite line was from Parker, about his first attempts at fundraising and what he learned:

(Annotated text from Genius)

I started a company before this that I was at for six years, and my co-founder and I pitched almost every VC firm in Silicon Valley. We literally went to sixty different firms and they all told us no. And we were constantly trying to figure out how should we adjust our pitch? How should we do the slides differently? How do we tweak the story? That sort of thing. At one point there was this key insight that someone gave me when I was pitching at Khosla Ventures and this VC said “Guys,” he was looking for some very particular kind of analysis that we did not have on hand, he was like “Guys, you don’t get it.” He was like, “You know if you guys were the Twitter guys, you guys could come in and just be like blublublubluh and put whatever up here and we would invest in you. But you guys aren’t the Twitter guys so you need to make this real easy and have all this stuff ready for us,” and all this kind of stuff.

And I took the exactly opposite lesson of what he wanted me to take away from that which was: geez I should really just figure out how to be the Twitter guys and that’s the way to do this.”


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