Why Should a Founder Meet With You?
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
4d ago
I’ve been coaching a lot of non-partner VC professionals and their number one challenge (besides taking obligatory meetings that their GP throws over the fence at the last minute—GPs, why do you do this? Stop wasting your team’s time and a founder’s time. Just pass when you think it’s a pass.) is trying to figure out how to get in front of the best founders with a title like Senior Associate or, potentially worse, Investor, which everyone assumes means Senior Associate. Don’t get me wrong. There are very smart, likable, and helpful people in these junior roles—but compared to a partner, if yo ..read more
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Appropriate Accessibility: Announcing nextNYC Open Office Hours
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
1M ago
Over a decade ago, when I was working for First Round Capital, we opened our doors for “Open Office Hours”—a series of open meetings where any founder could come in and chat with us for 20 minutes each. We met quite a few smart folks. I’m not sure we backed any of the founders—but that wasn’t the point. We made connections, hopefully made a good impression, and potentially helped founders along their journeys with some advice or connections. It’s an approach to the community that I’ve tried to emulate—to make myself available to founders wherever I can, but it’s not easy to scale. I couldn’t ..read more
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The Pros and Cons of Rando Rich People Investing in Your Startup
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
3M ago
Say what you will about VCs, but we’re a mostly predictable bunch. You know what our incentives are and we care enough about our reputation within the ecosystem to not do anything too terrible—usually. Still, there are a lot of downsides to taking venture money—the push to grow at all costs, our desire to be all up in your business, literally, and sometimes, we’re kind of obnoxious. That’s why when you come upon someone outside the traditional ecosystem, there might be a lot of compelling reasons to take their money. I’m not talking about active angels. I’m talking about what someone I know r ..read more
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Why It's Good to Be Transactional
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
5M ago
When people describe what they hate about networking, they often use the word “transactional” in a negative way. No one likes to sell or be sold anything—or to be only valued for your ability to exchange goods and services right there on the spot. That, however, is a very privileged perspective on time. People who can take the time to “get to know each other” without demanding anything right off the bat have both extra time and also enough stability in their lives to be able to forgo short term needs for long term benefit. You never hear a homeless person suggesting that you “see if there’s a ..read more
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It's time to leave Twitter.
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
5M ago
Two weeks ago, I opened X/Twitter and got pushed an ad for an anti-trans movie produced by PragerU and that was my final straw with this cesspool. I immediately requested my Twitter archive of over 63,000 tweets over 16 and a half years. Not surprisingly, it took nearly two weeks for me to receive a link to it given how understaffed the company is. Once I got it, I deleted my account. I’m gone from Twitter for as long as Elon Musk continues to own it. I’m sad about it—but actually more sad about what it has become more so than actually hitting delete. Twitter used to be a great community and ..read more
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Level Setting and Career Goals for VCs: What level are Midas List VCs actually performing on?
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
5M ago
I find level setting to be one of the most difficult things to do around any task or skill. Just how good is good? What are the best people accomplishing? How do you measure it? It comes up a lot with my coaching clients who aspire to be top VCs and are trying to figure out how to self-assess and goal set. I figured the best way to go about answering would be to ask the best of the best. Over the last couple of weeks, I asked everyone who has been on the Forbes Midas List over the last three years what their activity and accomplishment actually looks like in the functional areas of the job. B ..read more
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The Advantage of Having Venture Backed Friends
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
6M ago
I’ve made over 100 investments in my career and nearly half of those went into diverse teams. I’ll be the first to back up the notion that diverse founders have just as much ambition, drive, intellectual horsepower, creativity—you name it—than anyone else. In fact, you could make the argument that, because of their lack of advantages in other areas, the ones who make it to a venture pitch actually have more of these raw ingredients because they’ve had to in order to make it to the same destination as their straight white male counterparts. There is, however, an advantage that some founders hav ..read more
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Questioning War
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
6M ago
“Israelis & Palestinians do not deserve the consequences of evil forces that drive those who make decisions, profit from conflict, and push hateful rhetoric that make people lose their consciousness.” This was a very powerful sentiment that I wholeheartedly embrace found in a very difficult to read (warning) Instagram post about the horror of the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7th. This post is about considering the costs of war. I acknowledge that I come at it from the perspective of a male-presenting and born straight white mildly Christian person of economic privilege, born into a ..read more
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What Plinko Can Tell Us About Where to Post
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
7M ago
A lot of people ask me what I think of posting to Twitter these days… (I’ll start calling it X as soon as I learn to stop saying Battery Tunnel and Triborough Bridge). My general take is that it’s far worse than it used to be in terms of engagement and some people have for sure abandoned it—but it still really doesn’t have a replacement when it comes to timely events like news or sports. In some ways it feels like a company that has gone partially remote—where you still get certain types of interaction on “office days” that you can’t get at home, but it’s definitely not what it was. Whether yo ..read more
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How to Ask for Advice and Get People to Commit the Time to Answer
This is going to be BIG
by Charlie O'Donnell
8M ago
Apparently, this doesn’t just happen in cartoons. People often ask me for advice on fundraising, generating deal flow, hiring, increasing visibility, triathlons, babies, etc.--a really wide range of stuff. This post isn’t meant as a criticism of anyone for doing so. It’s just meant to share some transparency around how to best get me and, I think, others to engage. As is the case with any major company, career, or life function, the breadth of information one could pass along in each of these areas could fill a book. That means that a chat over coffee or a phone call is going to deliver a lar ..read more
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