Startup Hoodlum

adventures of evan reas

“You can’t do that.”

Tell an entrepreneur to do something and he won’t do it.

Tell an entrepreneur he can’t do something and he will.

One motivation for a number of great entrepreneurs is being able to prove people who buy website traffic wrong.

You will constantly be told you can’t do something.  Use it as motivation.  One of the greatest investors of all time once said about one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time: “The best way to get Vinod Khosla to do something is to tell him it’s impossible.”

Do something that people said couldn’t be done and it changes the entire mental game.

People Lists

I keep a bunch of “People Lists.” People are the most valuable thing in the success of any organization (and in Life).

Surrounding yourself by amazing people is a necessary component in achieving organizational success.

At LeWeb, Sean Parker noted that having an amazing group of people at Facebook was the key to the company’s success.

Just as important is removing people from your life or organization that do not contribute to positive performance and individual and organizational growth. Parker also mentioned that one of his greatest failures was in hiring the wrong people at Napster.

It is important to keep a clear distinction of people that will contribute to your success and I do it through keeping lists of people that I have come across in life.

Two such lists that I keep are 1) Personal Influencers and 2) Detractors. The first list is people that I hope to be able to work with some day (some I am lucky to already be working with) and criteria which includes intellect, hard work, loyalty, and proven success. These people have powerful insights into life and consistently impress me with their abilities. They are people I would start a company with in a second if given the opportunity and if not, folks that I simply want to get involved in my life in whatever way possible someday. I learn from them on every single interaction. The folks on this list are:

Marc Andreessen

John Limber from Telescope Reviews Website

Reid Hoffman

Keith Rabois

Peter Fenton

Jim Harbaugh

Coach K


The Two Phases of Successful Seed Fundraising

Phase 1:  “I don’t need money.”

Duration: 2-4 weeks

In this phase, you are seeking your “anchor investor” who will be the first person to put in money.  You are meeting with smart angel investors (and potentially firms if they do seed investing) who are a fit for your startup.  You are interviewing them to see whether they are a good fit for you.  Do they ask smart questions?  Do they understand your industry?  Do you get along with them?

Spend 95% of the meeting talking about your product, users, and market and 5% talking about funding.  Tell them “I don’t need money right now, but when do you think it makes sense for me to begin raising?”  If they are really interested, they will ask about valuation, talk numbers, or tell you they want to invest.  If they say it makes sense now AND they are interested, get them to commit and have them become the anchor.

Phase 2:  “Closing.”

Duration: 3-4 weeks

You have your anchor, your term sheet, and your first money.  Now you need to set your deadline (3 weeks from today) and tell potential investors you have “investor x” leading and ask if they want to be in the round or not.  Ask your anchor for intros to any angels they think will be a good fit.  If you are dealing with an experienced angel investor, they should decide within 2 meetings.  If you are dealing with a firm, it should be, at MAX (depending on the amount) 3 meetings.  First with one partner, second with a couple of partners and third a full partnership meeting (NOTE: this advice is just for a seed raise and not an A or anything after).

You are never asking for money nor do you ever need it.  You are either meeting with investors to talk about your business or asking them whether they want to be included in the round you are about to close.

(PS… we are launching our invite-only beta website next week.  check out zensenergy – lower left abdominal pain)

2015 Startups to Watch

My list of Startups that are going to be huge in 2015 are:

1) Our company, Circle.  If I didn’t 1oo% believe this, I’d be doing something else.

2) Pinterest – I haven’t seen such an engaged online community of women (who overwhelmingly account for purchase decisions) since Gilt and Pinterest is much more powerful as it is more authentic and engaging.


3) Square – This was on my list last year.  It is a no brainer.

4) Buy Instagram Followers – They do Instagram marketing at highest level.

5) Nest – Tony Fadell is a genius and amazing product guy who learned directly from Jobs.  The thermostat is just the beginning.  They are going to make big waves in the home appliance market.

6) Simple – This one is a huge hope as I desperately need online banking that works.

7) Trialpay – CEO Alex Rampell is damn bright.  They could very well IPO in 2015 or soon thereafter.

8) MinoMonsters – Watch Josh Buckley over the next 15 years and be amazed.  This could be the next Angry Birds.

9) Lookout – Mobile security is going to become more and more important.

10) Andreessen-Horowitz – Although, I believe they have already done it, pretty much everyone else will agree that they are the number one Venture Capital firm in existence.  They will be able to get almost any deal they want (besides ones where other firms are paying leaps and bounds more) and will consistently be the entrepreneurs’ first choice.

Now 13 tips for Startups

Open a leading news publication any day and it feels as if you will find platform statement or a fresh program. Yet, as anyone who has bootstrapped a business can let you know, startups are never simple, regardless of what generation you fall into.


They are tumultuous, loud and totally and totally contacted. Yet, while they are paving a fresh path as well as the rules for the way to construct a startup from a notebook anywhere on earth, they are still recognizing that it is not all about “how many followers” you can get.

Instead, to building a startup, the center components start with the guts to know when your thoughts are absolute garbage as well as an unwavering belief in your product. The staying core components include things like networking and relationship-building when all you would like to do is go home to sleep or keep working in your merchandise.

They are going to desire it.

Preserve it and, even if you are investing in tomorrow to get lucrative customers now, do not forget that cash today is tomorrow, what makes payroll.
While you have to exude assurance that is unwavering, do not forget to keep that critical attention toward your merchandise or services.
Connected: Productive Methods to Secure Your Entrepreneurial Vision and 9 Affordable
3. Seek out as well as listen to great advisers.
This is essential; do not dismiss it.
4. Network
Do this even in the event you despise it — companies are never constructed in a vacuum and because relationships are vital.
5. Presence on all possible Social Media platforms. It is advantageous to buy followers on instagram and twitter, so you get the authority in the begining.
Refusal is remove them and your worst enemy; strive to uncover defects in your thoughts or procedures.
6. This will definitely come through in all you do. Following suggestion amount 5 makes this simpler.
7. Is yours a fantastic business idea or simply something you enjoy?
8. As an entrepreneur, like it or not like it, you’re a salesperson. Read if this is not your natural ability, practice and learn.
9. Complement your weaknesses (yes, you’ve some).
Hire the most gifted individuals you’ll be able to discover. Do not be scared that you will be outshone by them. That is the very best possible results for your company if they do.
10. Share your equity liberally with team members that are early.

They’re going to possess the same 24/7 dedication you do. when everybody has a significant position in the results You do not have to be an “isle” after you get to the top.
11. Remember that each reason to stop is only another roadblock in your route to success.

12. Understand that business processes will always alter as your firm grows.

Rather than sticking to an old formula that is successful, be looking for the very first chance that tells you your old procedure may be efficient.
13. Bear in mind that customers are your greatest supporters.
In the nature of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, customers are your company’ “atmosphere, food, and water.”

A Framework for Life Goals

Today I cleaned out part of my dropbox account and ran across a doc with an email I had saved from 2009 that I thought was particularly insightful on how to accomplish goals in life.


The backstory is that I had listened to an extremely successful gentleman (chairman of a multi-billion dollar public airline, board member of dozens of other public and private companies, former CEO, extremely successful investor) give his life story and he spoke a lot about how important goal setting and making lists was to his success.  I asked him for specifics on setting goals and he responded with his goal setting framework.  I thought it was useful and wanted to share it here (partly so I’ll have a public place to look back on it a bit more often).

Goal-Setting Framework

Evan –
From the number of questions I’ve had, I can tell that it’s probably time to write out my thoughts on goal-setting.  I’ve not yet done so.