This is a belated and probably too-skinny version of a post I decided I’d do every year, starting with last year. Usually, when I say ‘learned,’ I really mean I engaged enough to understand a little bit of what’s going on, and not that I am wizard-level user in any of these. In 2018, I spent time learning fewer new things than in 2017, but I probably went slightly deeper.
I remember the feeling of meeting with prospective investors and wanting to make a good impression. The first few conversations with an investor are high-stress and full of subtle signals. Most founders have good instincts and navigate these situations well, but the points below comprise some of the nuanced issues that I have observed over the years from the other side of those meetings. Hopefully these apply to early stage VC conversations in general, but note that they are specifically biased toward founders in the Midwest.
In spite of doing an extremely poor job of keeping any writing up to date on this site, I am going to start doing annual recaps of what I have learned over the past year. I am not totally convinced that I will use the same broad categories year-over-year, but had to start somewhere. These are the tools that I have been learning to use over 2017. I have not mastered any of these tools, more just built enough of a baseline competence to accomplish my goals in each of them.