This has been a pretty busy couple of weeks with lots of inbound deals, calls, emails, and meetings. Out of all this popped out a few things you might want think about when working with the VC community. Or your banker, employer, friends, and mother.
BCC – Blind Carbon Copy
It actually stands for Basically Careless Crapola. From the mail bag (edited to protect the yadda yadda):
Yo. Later today you will get a note from Joe. He is worried about being in front of VCs. I told him about the 30 minute, just come and chat, and I think he will contact you. I appreciate you taking a look, he is a big fan of you, likes the firm, etc, I’ll owe you.
Yep, you are already there, right? “Joe” hits the reply all key and sends:
“Thanks. I met segal’s partner once before, bit of a wonk and really made the point to me these banking VC goofs don’t really have a clue what goes on outside that little cubicle world. But, for you, I will be nice, suck up, and show him the demo. It’s dumbed down so that VCs can understand it. On the bright side, they have a nice view of the harbor and the receptionist is outstanding.”
Lesson: Don’t use BCC. Forward it if you want somebody else to see what you sent. Also, if you receive a message where you are BCC’d, forward it to the original sender with any comments you want to make.
Track Changes – Microsoft’s way of letting you show me your underwear.
You’ve spent a bunch of time building, no crafting, that Word document. It’s a work of art. Every word, sculpted to make the masterpiece that is: Your business plan. Ta da.. Do yourself a favor. Before you send it out, accept all changes, save it, mail it to yourself, and make sure you can’t see the changes or earlier versions of stuff because geeks like me will always click “track changes” and always set the view to “original showing mark up.”
I love looking at the mission statement paragraph with the original text, then the red lines, then the comments from some editor saying “Michael, this is complete bullshit and stupid, sober up, write it again.” Or, my personal favorite, in the financial discussions section, again the original text, red lined, with comments saying “Kris, VCs always cut projections by half so don’t tell the truth puff it up as I show, argue with the twits, and then agree on the number you know to be real anyway.”
Two plans this week, two different word documents, same oops, forgot to accept changes.
Lesson: Accept all changes and, if you are really worried, save it as a PDF.
[Side note: Nothing is more fun when the lawyers screw this up and flip documents with “I don’t think they will go for this but try anyway” comments still in the document.]
Auto Complete equals Auto Oops.
My name is not Rick Sekat or Ric Steves or Rick Stein. When you are sending an email to a zillion people, slow down and watch Outlook’s helpful auto-complete of email addresses. Accidently putting me on copy for email to your agent and/or lawyer about your thoughts on valuation; helpful for me, bad for you.
Lotus Manuscript and Borland Sprint = I don’t think so.
I got a plan from a fine young lad in Barrie, Ontario. He was just looking for some quick advice. I couldn’t open the attachment and when I asked what word processor he had used: Borland’s Sprint. 10 points for loyalty, I guess After I got the Anti-Microsoft rant, I suggested both Open Office and sending me a simple text file.
[Side Note: I wondered if Sprint was still alive and, yep, you can go here to see.]
So there you have it, 4 simple items you might want to consider thinking about. Always entertaining when you are on the other side of this stuff.