Advice Aggregated

By Alex Mackenzie at

A perpetually evolving doc of the advice I've received or inherited about the business of VC.

Josh Wolfe was the first person I heard refer to venture as a business of aggregation. In venture we see a lot -- fungal computation to open source contributor models (fan of allcontributors) to gift card breakage state laws.

Below you'll find my ~unique aggregate of learnings about the business of venture - beyond the "usual" / "technical".

  • "Suck the oxygen out of the air" - Pat Grady on winning founder mind share. (about Sarah Guo!)

  • "Do good deals" - Anon on becoming a great investor. "Obvious" - but very easy to climb the wrong hill.

  • "Look at the steepness of the slope" - Geoff Lewis on assessing the MOIC of people vs. companies.

  • "Rock, sand & water" - Sarah Tavel with a framework on consumers' time allocation.

  • "Not all revenue is created equal" - Bill Gurley on meta financial analysis.

  • "You can still improve an axe" - Jeff Bezos on invention.

  • "Work with life's work entrepreneurs" - Geoff Lewis on investing in upside & resiliency.

  • "What's the last step" - Palmer Luckey on how to avoid working on (or investing in!) incremental ideas.

  • "10*9" - Roelof Botha on investing exceptionally vs. incrementally.

  • "World's most important companies" - Bryan Singerman. "Obvious" - but useful way to keep incremental bias/adverse selection in check.

  • "Study Burning Man" - Jess Lee on building / appraising communities.

  • "Builder & Persuader" - Mike Maples on profiles of co-founders to look out for.

  • "Failure to imagine failure" - Josh Wolfe on company failure being ok as long as the cause of failure was anticipated.

  • "Bat-signal" - Marc Andreessen on Peter Thiel optimizing for the type of founders, colleagues, peers he wants to work with.

  • "Sell what LPs know how to buy" - Paul Martino on fundraising narratives for emerging managers.

  • "N-of-1 vs. 1-of-N" - Arjun Sethi on investing in companies capable of generating persistent differential returns.

  • "There are operate to win companies or outright innovation companies" - Henry Ward's taxonomy of companies to build / invest in.

  • "Chips on shoulders put chips in pockets" - Josh Wolfe on identifying founder tenacity.

  • "The power of defaults" - Julien Digital on atom-based network effects.

  • "Technical logistics companies" - Alex Wang on the value of investing in / building intangible complexity.

  • "Their time is already allocated" - Marc Andreessen on the difficulty of capturing consumer attention.

  • "Look for what sucks" - Josh Wolfe on investing in what matters.

  • "Multi product companies" - Bedrock Capital on assessing the feasibility of second / third acts by companies.

  • "Truth seeking" - Benchmark on due diligence.

  • "Ask the same question, 10 different ways" - Wes Chan on seeking the truth.

Pull requests encouraged if you have a learning to share!