Approaching and starting a conversation with a stranger is never entirely comfortable. When it is at an event specifically billed as a mixer for different constituencies to access each other, it can be especially awkward (e.g. entrepreneurs to meet investors). Even people with the best of intentions can have their guard up, make unfair assumptions, or slip into stereotyped roles. When you think about the fears and motivations in play, this is no surprise. In the entrepreneur/investor context, the investor is afraid of being trapped for an excessive period of time in an awkward conversation where they have no interest in the subject, and to escape, will be forced to say something that might come across as hurtful, disrespectful or rude. The entrepreneur is worried about getting and keeping the investor’s attention, laying their story out in a cogent way, and looking down the barrel of almost certain rejection. Eyes dart, brows furrow, sweat beads, minds race. Nobody sets out to be an oaf, but it seems to happen anyway. I was struck, at just such an event tonight, by the huge difference basic people skills and manners can make in terms of an entrepreneur’s overall effectiveness in this setting.
Archives for June 2011
Should I wait to find a technical co-founder or get started with a free-lance resource? Do I need a technical co-founder before I go out to raise money for my start-up? I’ve been asked about this enough to merit a post. Not sure there is one right answer, but here’s what I know. While an entrepreneur isn’t required by any law of nature to get a technical co-founder before seeking funding, it is safe to say that for most companies in the tech space, it would be “very much preferred” by the typical investor.
Gotta love when everybody wins. I finally got around to trying the optical character recognition (OCR) engine recently built into Google Docs, and I have to say, I am pretty impressed. It’s not perfect, but its GOOD ENOUGH to turn the text in any scan or PDF or photo into editable text. Some editing and clean-up is required, but it beats re-typing the whole document.
Little miracles like this always make me stand back and contemplate the forces that conspired to bring them to me. In this case we can thank one of the more powerful forces in the universe: the beneficial alignment of interests.