Dave McClure – Angel Video Interview Series

Facetime Logo

[This post is part of an on-going series of video interviews with members of the start-up community – see a list of links to the full series here.]

If you have seen Dave McClure do any public speaking, you have been in a room of people at least mildly shocked by what he had to say. Dave is nothing if not colorful in terms of how he expresses himself, both in person and in writing. I always get a kick out of watching him do his stuff, so it was a natural priority to add him to the Angel Video Interview Series.

Dave is a very well-known super-angel and the founder and general parter of 500 Startups, an internet seed fund and accelerator based in Mountain View, California. He’s an engineer and a marketer, working in both roles at PayPal, and has personally invested in 60-70 companies on his own, including some big name companies: Mint, SlideShare, Twilio, Bit.ly, and Jambool. Through 500 Startups, he has done almost another 500 or so more.

Dave spent some time running the seed activities at Founders Fund and running the Facebook Fund fbFund. In recent years Dave has turned his focus to the international market announcing 500 Startups expansion into Mexico and India. For a globe trotting venture captialist, he is a pretty fun, hilarious and down-to-earth guy. We talked in April 2013 in San Francisco. Here’s what he had to say. (Email subscribers, click here for the video).

Comments, questions or reactions to this post? Leave a note below and I will respond to your questions.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy: Angel Video Interview SeriesThe Long Road to Instant SuccessThoughts on Crowdfunding,  The Crowdfunding Interview (Frank Peters Show), Pattern Matching Can Cause BlindspotsGetting Off The Ground; Early Formation EconomicsPitch Clinic at MassChallenge (Video)Why Angels Chase ElectronsBoards vs. Advisory BoardsDelusional EconomicsTen Rules For Navigating in The Age of OutrageThat Vision ThingThe Power of An Advisory BoardLoch Ness, Unicorns & The First-Mover AdvantageAre Entrepreneurs Wild Risk-Takers?Top 20 Dos & Don’ts with Angel Groups & Early Stage FinancingWhat I Look For In An EntrepreneurThe OvertureDo The Right ThingOpen Forum with Angel, Seed and VC Investors (Video)Should I Wait For A Technical Co-Founder?, and 20 Bootstrapping Ideas.
Subscribe – To get an automatic feed of all future posts subscribe to the RSS feed here, or to receive them via email enter your address in the box in the upper right or go here and enter your email address in the box in the upper right. You can also follow me on Twitter @cmirabile and on Google+.

Start-Up Marketing (Guest Post – Six in a Series)

Ducks

My good friend Jeff Berman has agreed to contribute a series on marketing for startups to the Scratchpaper community. This is the sixth in the series (table of contents here). Stay tuned for more.

How to Botch Marketing #5: Just Copy What The Category Leader Says

Hey, if it works for the #1 brand in the category, it will work for you, right?

Before deciding on a me-too marketing strategy, try this thought experiment: [Read more…]

Start-Up Marketing (Guest Post – Five in a Series)

gears

My good friend Jeff Berman has agreed to contribute a series on marketing for startups to the Scratchpaper community. This is the fifth in the series (table of contents here). Stay tuned for more.

How to Botch Marketing #4: 

Start By Telling People How It Works

The whole point of marketing is to get your prospects to pay attention to your message, to sit up in their chairs and turn on the front part of their brains and take in what you have to say. You need to constantly remind yourself that most people are actively trying to tune you out.

Marketing is getting people pay attention to you when they would rather not.

The Problem With How-It-Works Messages [Read more…]

Nailing The One Minute Pitch

the pitch

A couple weeks ago I was asked to speak to a large group of entrepreneurs about building a good one minute pitch.

First point I made was about the mechanics: the bare bones every thorough pitch must include: [Read more…]

Start-Up Marketing (Guest Post – four in a series)

Speak to Individual

My good friend Jeff Berman has agreed to contribute a series on marketing for startups to the Scratchpaper community. This is the fourth in the series (table of contents here). Stay tuned for more.

How to Botch Marketing #3:

Speak to the Industry, Not the Individual

People have problems. People have budgets.

If you’re selling something to a business audience, it’s easy to slip into thinking your market is the business (e.g., hospitals, schools, hotels; the list is endless). But businesses don’t make decisions. To get on the radar, you need to address the needs of a specific individual inside the organization. [Read more…]

Customer Crowdfunding: Not So Fast Entrepreneurs (Again!)

CrowdfundingI have written and spoken at length about the issues associated with equity crowd-funding of companies. And not long ago I wrote a piece entitled Customer Crowdfunding: Not So Fast, Entrepreneurs, which was about the pros/cons of customer crowdfunding at the product level (e.g. Kickstarter type fund-raising). In that piece, I made the point that, for all its virtues, customer crowdfunding does have some significant risks for entrepreneurs. It exposes your product plan to your competitors and the world, long before you have it in the market. In the piece, I list the many things your competitors can glean from your successful Kickstarter campaign (spoiler alert: market size, market demographics, market enthusiasm, your price point, your features, your design and look & feel, and how long until you can bring it to market.)

The original post is probably worth a skim if you are an entrepreneur contemplating a customer crowdsourcing platform. One of my key concerns is that small companies may essentially be giving up their only advantages if they go this route.

Now, on top of those original concerns, which mostly boil down to generic and unavoidable by-product of the public nature of these platforms, I am alarmed to see a much more serious, pernicious and cynical issue come to light. [Read more…]

Pick Your Angel Investors Wisely (David Hornik)

VentureBlog

David Hornik of August Capital recently posted a great piece on his VentureBlog regarding the importance of choosing your angel investors carefully in this age of mass market early stage investing. His advice bears repeating, and he’s given me permission to repost it here:

Pick Your Angel Investors Wisely

By David Hornik.

A great deal has been written about angel investing in recent years. Angel investing has become the sport of choice for many successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley (e.g., Dave Morin,Chris MichelAriel Poler, etc.). What’s more, it has spawned a whole new class of venture funds — once called Super Angels, now called Micro VCs (e.g., First Round CapitalTrue Ventures,SoftTech VC, etc.). And now traditional venture investors (e.g., Greylock Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, CRV, etc.) have created programs to invest small amounts of money in large numbers of startups. Unfortunately, as seed investing moves from a boutique practice to more mass market, [Read more…]

Start-Up Marketing (Guest Post – three in a series)

Busy World

My good friend Jeff Berman has agreed to contribute a series on marketing for startups to the Scratchpaper community. This is the third in the series (table of contents here). Stay tuned for more.

How to Botch Marketing #2: 

Assume People Are Eager To Hear From You

This is the most common marketing mistake of early-stage companies. And it’s completely understandable. You just spent months or years coming up with your product. You put an absurd amount of effort and money and focused attention into it.

So, of course, in bringing it to market, what you want to do is tell people about it, right?

The problem is, almost no one cares about your thing. Everyone you want to sell to is already doing something else to solve their problem. They don’t want to hear from you. They’re busy.

It’s Not You, It’s Them

Once your product is developed (and you’ve made sure it performs for non-techies), you need to take a deep breath and make a concerted effort to step outside your own perspective on it. You need to think of what you’re doing as the solution to someone else’s problem.

Who are these people? How does the problem look from their point of view? What are they doing about it now? How do they see their options? What would they like to do if they could?

Where Effective Messages Come From

If you understand your offering as the solution to someone else’s problem, you can develop a message that they might pay attention to. And that’s what marketing is really about: Getting your message heard. If your prospects had the time and inclination to read lists of features and functions, you wouldn’t need marketing. But they don’t, so you do.

In rare cases, a list of features is enough. But most of the time, people need to be persuaded to pay attention. That’s why marketing is interesting. It has to be.

Jeff Berman is the founder and principal of Berman Creative, a creative agency focusing on brand strategy and marketing solutions for early-stage and redirected companies. You can reach Jeff at www.bermancreative.com. We’re grateful for his contribution. 

Comments, questions or reactions to this post? Leave a note below and I will respond to your questions.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy: Ten Rules For Navigating in The Age of OutrageThat Vision ThingDelusional Economics,  Loch Ness, Unicorns & The First-Mover AdvantageDoes This Slide Deck Make Me Look Fat?,  The Long Road to Instant SuccessGetting Off The Ground; Early Formation EconomicsWhat I Look For In An EntrepreneurThe OvertureDo The Right ThingInstagram’s Turn for a Face-PalmZynga’s Bad KharmaBank of America Still SucksNetflix: 3 Lessons From the Pricing FiascoBank of America Still SucksWalking into a Buzzsaw (Amazon’s Brazenly Arrogant Retail Promotion)Something From Nothing – Bringing the Store to the Customer.

Subscribe – To get an automatic feed of all future posts subscribe to the RSS feed here, or to receive them via email enter your address in the box in the upper right or go here and enter your email address in the box in the upper right. You can also follow me on Twitter @cmirabile and on Google+.

Why Giant Smartphones are the New Normal

Ascend MateUntil a very recent epiphany, I had been observing this trend of growing smartphone screen size with puzzlement. Android smartphones grew to 4 inches. 4.5 inches. 4.8 inches. Then Samsung releases the Galaxy Note at 5.3 inches. And now the Note 2 at 5.5 inches. And now Huawei has just released a a phone with a 6.1 inch screen (the Ascend Mate, pictured above).

Yet Apple was not wrong that good one-handed operation maxed out at a screen size of about 3.5 inches diagonal. And you definitely look a bit odd holding a tablet to your head. And these things are giant in your pocket, if they even fit. So what is driving this? [Read more…]

Start-Up Marketing (Guest Post – two in a series)

My good friend Jeff Berman has agreed to contribute a series on marketing for startups to the Scratchpaper community. This is the second in the series  (table of contents here).  Stay tuned for more.

_____________________________________________

How to Botch Marketing #1Over Really Easy

My previous post was all about how Early Adopters are great, but the real market is with the Early Majority, who are about 10 times as numerous.

This is the first of 12 ways to botch your marketing with your most important audience.

Are You Ready For This?

[Read more…]