Basically, VanderZanden developed a system where Lyft does not have to set up local operations in new markets; new drivers apply and get their background checked online, they are then screened by phone, and a more experienced local driver does a vehicle inspection and ride-along.

Per a recent thread, I never send decks in advance. Hat tip to @chudson for properly explaining why. Now that I’m beginning to do some VC work, I consciously lower my interest in people who send me decks in advance. If I’m helping write your deck then I need it, but if you see me primarily as an investor instead of an advisor, then it is specifically a bad idea. Find a way to write a paragraph or a one pager that’s interesting Leave the storytelling for when we’re making eye contact.

Because of all that, the in-person experience that a founder provides to the potential investor is critical. You are getting the chance to tell a 40 minute story about an organization that doesn’t exist to a person who you want to turn over noticeable cash to you on a poorly documented promise. Make it a story, make sure it has a great arc, and tell it well. I say 40 minutes because successful decks are 15 slides at most. The investor will be ten minutes late, and you want to get them out of there ten minutes early. If they have an assistant, helping the investor get back on schedule will make it a lot easier to get subsequent meetings booked.

I just sent a very uncomfortable note to a dear old friend on how to re-do his pitch — here’s the constructive (rather than critical) portion of that note, lightly edited.

The point of the first meeting is solely to get the second meeting which is the start of the ‘real’ process. I’m going to address the form of a successful pitch here. I can’t change your business fundamentals. The outline (slide numbers) of a deck that works is:
1. Attention grabber. In Minute 1, bring them into your emotional zone or get them dying to hear more. The former is generally when you are pre-product and the latter when there is user or sales traction.
2. Big market. What sells is proprietary redefinition of a market that a) makes the investor believe you’ve found a reason for customers to change behavior, and b) teaches them something.
3. Customer Pain — what hurts so bad that people will get off their asses and do something different that is worth money?
— if you don’t have them hooked by slide 3, it’s over, consider very politely packing up and leaving or switching to small talk having nothing to do with your fundraising. The former is more intriguing and tells a better story.
4. Solution - benefits description of what you do differently. if you don’t know the difference between benefits and features, then delay pitching until you do.
5. Features - product details and a demo if you want to do one, though i don’t do them. i don’t trust technology enough, plus a demo makes the investors even more likely to mistake themselves for the target market segment
6. Users/Customers/Sales plan
7. Team 
8. Competition/Ecology
9. Milestones — what you promise to accomplish with the money not the Use of Proceeds
10. New financing and previous raises
11. “Come dream the dream with us” slide. Early stage guys are fantasists. The Lumatic deck was very efficient at closing angels/seed funds while we were still in development. I started with a car fire photo from Tahrir Square in Egypt to get people into my intended emotional zone, and I ended with Dorothy taking her first steps down the yellow brick road. I got the whole thing down to thirteen minutes and was closing great angel investors with it over Skype screenshare.

Please note that there are no financial projections. They don’t get you to the second meeting.

Do I really look like a man with a plan, Harvey? I don’t have a plan. The mob has plans, the cops have plans. you know what I am, Harvey? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught one. I just DO things.

Question about one of the Joker’s quotes from Dark Knight (spoilers!)?

Rafer sez:
Kept meaning to put this where I can find it.

“Why wouldn’t Google just eliminate the merchant from the middle?” said Faisal Masud, e-commerce chief at Staples.
I was working with a lawyer on a deal 15 years ago. The lawyer on the other side of the deal was newly minted. I said to my lawyer “we should be able to get pretty good terms, since he’s new.” My lawyer, who was one of the top ten deal lawyers in the world, according to American Lawyer magazine, sighed and said “we’ll get the exact same terms we would have gotten if he was an experienced lawyer, but it will take three times as long and he’ll convince his clients you’re trying to screw them.”
As far as I can tell Aileen Lee popularized this term in a Techcrunch article last year. Some days I wonder why she hates us, and some days I thank the gods that she didn’t decide to call them Princesses, or worse. But there was in her analysis the rationale for The System as well as the reason for its absurdity.
Highlighting [founder] depression is useful but also limiting.


Panel: Trends in Original Video Programming. Moderator: Rebecca Paoletti, CakeWorks. Panelists: Betsy Morgan, The Blaze, Megan Cunningham, Magnet Media, Erick Schonfeld, TouchCast, J.R. McCabe, Time Inc. [L-R]  @Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media

We organized the LDV Vision Summit for all of you and we greatly appreciate your positive feedback:

“Thank you for all your tremendous work organizing yesterday. It’s bold to bring everyone together from deep machine learning to publishers as brands - but it worked so well! I learnt a lot and met some great people, so thank you so much for including me! Sophie Lebrecht, Neon Labs, Co-Founder & CEO  

“Really impressive and most important - amazing founders presenting.” Adam Singolda, Taboola, Founder & CEO  

“You brought a lot of great thinkers in the space together. I enjoyed it!” Megan Cunningham, Magnet Media, Founder & CEO

“It was a very informative and useful summit for me to attend.”Tom Kennedy, Kennedy Multimedia

"Great event. Loved the format with a good mix of startups, investors, researchers and students. Will definitely join next year." Jan Erik Solem, Mapillary, Co-Founder & CEO

“Congratulations on a superb event. I met loads of interesting dynamic and successful people. And what a large crowd. Well done on such an excellent summit.”  Barry Shrier, Founder & CEO LIQUITY

“That day was a tour de force.” Amol Sarva, Co- Founder & CEO Knotable

It was a pleasure judging at the summit, really innovative companies.” Erik Nordlander Google Ventures

“thanks so much for putting on such a great event, and for having me up to speak. really enjoyed the whole thing - well done!!” Eric Berry, Co-Founder & CEO TripleLift

“thank you very much for the event, as I said yesterday I really enjoyed, and was pleasantly surprised with international crowd and diversity of speakers.” Kate Fedashko Founder & CEO Teller

"I was very impressed by the Summit organizers ability to gather all the important people in computer vision around this summit. Also, very excited to see the first event ever to mix academic researchers, entrepreneurs and VCs interested in the field. Can’t wait for LDV vision summit 2015!" Alexandre Winter, Placemeter Founder & CEO

"Visual technology porn with it’s top stars on one stage : a dream come true.” Paul Melcher, Kaptur Creator & Writer

“I just wanted to send over an email and say thanks for the great organization and emcing of the summit this week! You did a fantastic job and I had no idea that New York was so vibrant with computer vision startups and the like. I got many very valuable new contacts…” Martin Kallstrom, Narrative, CEO & Co-Founder

“I really enjoyed the summit—-I learned a lot from the discussions and I met a lot of computer vision people, whom I think I may start another company with someday. I just wanted to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to attend. Hope to see you again next year. Jacob Sniff, CoverSplash, Co-Founder, Sr. Engineer  

“I had a fantastic experience doing the challenge and coming to the summit, and it was wonderful to meet you and Serge and so many other amazing people.” Serena Yeung, Ph.D. Stanford University and winner of our Entrepreneurial Computer Vision Challenge

“It was a spectacular job and my cofounder and I enjoyed the summit very much.” David Luan, Dextro Co-Founder  

“What an amazing event you put on yesterday. You and your team did a stellar job in putting on a well orchestrated program, engaging speakers, great venue, I could go on and on. Fantastic Evan! Donna Romer, Samsung NYC Accelerator

“thanks for putting on a great summit! I learned some good stuff, caught up with people I hadn’t seen in a while, and met some interesting new folks.” Jamie Hamilton, Categorical Technology, CEO  

“You do not disappoint. It was truly an honor to participate in what I’m sure will be just a first of a long run of annual LDV summits.” Barbara Tien, Ponga, Co-Founder & CEO

“Just wanted to drop a quick word of congrats for yesterday’s event. I was able to attend up until about 4pm and the content was top notch. Met a bunch of outstanding people too. Really enjoyed it! Hope you’re doing well - thanks for putting it on. Very valuable gathering.” Andrew Fingerman, Photoshelter, CEO

“Thank you very much for including me in the summit. I had a great time and enjoyed meeting the people.” Jeff Madoff, Madoff Productions, CEO

“As comedians, we weren’t quite sure what to expect at the LDV Summit. But seeing as we do much of our work on YouTube and in the digital space, it was really cool to learn about how future technologies will change the ways in which we develop and create content.” Ethan Fixell, The Dave and Ethan Show,  Comedian

Programmatic buying is ridiculously complex,” said one media executive. “We will beat you every time at the auction.

Companies Bypass Media Agencies to Buy Ads and Data | Adweek

Rafer sez:
Programmatic is complex but that statement is untrue. No wonder the quote is anonymous. If the brands bid direct, they can bid higher and win even without getting the price quite right. The 30%+ that the trading desks charge make them lose auctions by definition.

Scientists and artists are famous for cherishing rather than resolving their hang-ups.
His sense of humor was almost British—subtle but ultimately caustic and antiestablishment.


Amazing Dronie of Climbers at The Summit of The Matterhorn

Rafer sez:
What’s the dronie app analogous to Frontback?

(via lilly)