Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #76
Here's why you should always accept a drink from a VC
Announcement time: I’ve finally gotten slightly less lazy than usual and bought the domain EntrepreneurOfficeHours.com so I could hook it up with this newsletter. I mention this for two reasons.
Reason #1: When you tell people how great EOH is (which, I’m sure, you do all the time), you can just send them to https://entrepreneurofficehours.com. Easy, right?
Reason #2: Visiting EntrepreneurOfficeHours.com is the best way to access the archive for all these issues. I figured that’s helpful I’m up to Issue #76, and newer subscribers might be interested in the things I wrote back in, say, Issue #6.
On that note, I guess it’s time to add to my archive with this issue. The featured article explains why you should always accept a drink when a VC offers one before a meeting. Also, in this week’s issue of Web Masters, you’ll get to hear my conversation with one of the true pioneers of the early Web, Joey Anuff. He founded a website called Suck.com. Pretty great domain name, huh? Definitely more catchy and easy to remember than EntrepreneurOfficeHours.com…
Most VCs will offer you a drink at the start of a meeting. It might seem like an obligatory courtesy, but could it also help you snag a huge funding round?
There was a lot of hype and excitement surrounding the early Web, but it was actually pretty terrible. One early tech writer wasn't afraid to point that out. His name was Joey Anuff, and he built one of the most popular websites in the early days of the Internet: Suck.com.
Find out whether he still thinks the Web sucks on the new episode of Web Masters:
…or search “Web Masters” wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.
FROM THE ARCHIVES…
A lot of people think Silicon Valley is the best place to build a startup. Don’t believe them. I have a theory about what Silicon Valley really is, and it’s not what you think.
Office Hours Q&A
Thanks for all your articles, Aaron. I love reading every issue of Entrepreneur Office Hours.
I am curious if you would mind sharing what do you believe is the number one most important skill for an entrepreneur to have?
Interesting question! I suppose if you ask 100 different entrepreneurs, you’re going to get 100 different answers, and there’s probably not any truly correct one. (Though, there are almost certainly better and worse answers.)
The easy answers to this question would be skills like fundraising, sales, product development, management, leadership, and other typically entrepreneurial or business-related tasks.
I have a bit of a different philosophy about this. I think the most important skill for an entrepreneur is the ability to constantly ask thoughtful questions.
Questioning everything is like an entrepreneurial superpower because it helps in so many aspects of the work you’ll need to do. For example, the very beginning of the entrepreneurial journey -- finding your initial “idea” -- requires questioning the world around you in order to identify what problems aren’t being solved in the market.
As you start building your venture, you’ll need to keep questioning things: Who are your potential customers? How can you reach them? What’s the best way to solve their problem? Is the way you’re solving their problem sustainable and scalable?
As you grow, you’ll need to be constantly questioning the trajectory your company is taking. Do you have the right team and resources? Are you evolving your company in the right ways? Are you leaving yourself vulnerable to competitors?
To be clear, it’s not that any of the specific questions I’ve mentioned are necessary. What I mean is that great entrepreneurs don’t accept anything at face value. Even if they agree with something, they still question it because they understand that they might be biased. The only way to avoid getting trapped by their preconceived notions and biases is to constantly question the world around them.
Also, note that questioning something doesn’t make it wrong. For example, a great entrepreneur might question an employee about a decision, but the question doesn’t mean the decision was wrong. It’s more like a process for checking and verifying that the decision was right.
Anyway, the point is… question everything. Even question the advice I give in this -- and every -- issue of EOH. Asking questions as often as possible will make you a better entrepreneur. Plus, when you ask other people questions -- like this question you’ve asked me -- it forces them to think more critically and helps them improve themselves.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!