Mastering The VC Game

My friend and fellow VC Jeff Bussgang has written an excellent book about entrepreneurs and VCs called “Mastering The VC Game.” If you are an entrepreneur who plans to work with VCs at some point in your career, you should read the book. It’s a fast read. You could easily read it in a cross country flight.

It’s full of stories about entrepreneurs and VCs and how they worked together. There is one about me and Jack Dorsey and Twitter that TechCrunch has excerpted today

I’m not feeling very well today, I think it’s allergies but I’m not sure. So I don’t have a lot in me right now. So instead of reading AVC today, go to Techcrunch and read the excerpt and then hopefully you’ll want to go to Amazon and buy the book.

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#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. David Noël

    Pre-ordered it this morning!

  2. RichardF

    read the excerpt earlier today – a glowing report card !hope you feel better soon!

  3. bijan

    feel better fred.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks bijan

  4. Joe Siewert

    Interesting how Twitter emerged out of Jack’s interests in couriers and real-time information flowing through cities. Twitter is such a simple and elegant abstraction of this kind of data flow.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve always loved that story about how the idea emergedi’ve heard him tell it at least a dozen times

      1. Joe Siewert

        Can he tell it in 140 characters or less? Haha, sorry, lame joke.I really like how he’s been thinking about these ideas most of his life. Interesting to hear about the projects that came before and how he iteratedto what Twitter is today.

  5. ErikSchwartz

    Adding it to my queue.

  6. ShanaC

    A) if it is a generic cold eat honey to coat your throat. Old theater trick.B) there are some people who recommend this, I have found it helps me- if it is really mild allergies (as in not the kind to cause your throat to swell up and stop you from breathing)- start baking regularly with raw honey from the NY metro region, particuarly whole wheat breads. You need to eat the stuff regularly. (So bake honey wheat bread and make healthy sandwiches at home, bring to work, eat) It’s a not “fun” process at first- however it will help you build immunity to pollens native to this area, since some pollen/ flower protein will still be in the honey.(Why honey should be a staple object…)

    1. dniederman

      Bee pollen itself is easier to take and probably available at local health food stores. We just toss it in smoothies.

    2. fredwilson

      i’m with you on honeyit’s a staple of my dieti never use sugar

  7. LIAD

    feel better

  8. Mark Essel

    The TC article was a great sales pitch for the book. But what concerns me is the competition for USV and in particular Fred as a VC.I’ve heard from sharp founders who say that the source of funding is not that important (I think it wad Chris Dixon). According to Jack and my own instincts VC partnerships are as important as picking cofounders.One hole in all these sensational startup stories, Angel Funding before a product launch. Where do the guys and gals that forge companies connect with risk chomping early stage investors?

    1. paramendra

      Good question, Mark.

      1. Mark Essel

        As far as I can tell, the magic of funding kicks in at 100k users. Until that tipping point we may have to rely only on our own persuasive abilities, skills, and cash flows.

        1. fredwilson

          i think that is a good number to usebut the ramp is as important as the total

          1. Mark Essel

            It may be my perspective, but it appears the slope or more appropriately the exponential coefficients on network based services are increasing. What once took businesses 5+ years appears to be happening in less than a year.Any ideas on what is causing this trend? And should we expect just as rapid declines in popularity?

    2. Tereza

      My sense is, former bosses, friends who have done well, people like doctors and dentists, people that know you and trust you and have fun supporting new stuff. It’s more sport than financial investment. A rich uncle, if you have one. (I don’t, but am looking to adopt one, so if anyone has any suggestions…..)I get the sense that many are not filthy rich. But nonetheless ‘accredited’ and comfortable enough that if they lose $25k they won’t hurt. They’re doing it because they love you or at least really, really like you, and trust you won’t go buy a Porsche with the money. They do it because it feels good for them to help you.At least, that’s what I’ve been told. Talk to me in a few months and I’ll speak from experience.

      1. Mark Essel

        I like to think of it this way, it’ll never be cheaper to buy into a share of my work than now.

        1. Tereza

          Yes — we are highly undervalued assets! A bah-gain!

    3. ShanaC

      Also. it reminds me how you need to form close bonds with these people. Famous doesn’t equal close bond.

  9. paramendra

    Going over.Get well soon.

  10. mt3862

    Went to pre-order … august this year for the UK kinder need some fresh extra VC gap filing info for 2 weeks times … fail – few long trips next week so would like to use this time reading something if anyone can recommend something

    1. RichardF…… is a good place to start it also has links to Brad Feld’s book listing and he devours books.

  11. Scott Carleton

    Read the excerpt this morning. I particularly liked Jack’s quote comparing west coast and east coast VCs:”For whatever reason, Jack found more of those challenging VCs on the East Coast than on the West Coast. “I think it was just an attitude thing,” he said. “I found the East Coast to be a little bit more aggressive. They say what they mean in the hopes of just moving on right away. On the West Coast, people were a little bit more laid back. If they thought we were going down the wrong path, they wouldn’t necessarily say it, but they might make it known in an indirect way. I just didn’t appreciate that at all.”I feel that it shows a good contrast between NY/East Coast’s business history and mentality versus silicon valley’s

  12. Ovi_Jacob

    feel better fred…great excerpt, added to my list

  13. wfjackson3

    Looks like an entertaining read. /me adds it to the list

  14. iamronen

    rest well, feel good!

  15. Tereza

    Feel better.

  16. Gorilla44

    I recommend using a neti pot (nasal passage irrigation) daily during allergy season. I have really bad allergy problems and since I started using a neti pot it has gotten way better.Pollen counts are much, much higher in many parts of the country this year. Not sure why.If you have sinus pain, heat pack on the face also helps a ton.Eating native honey does not work by the way. There have been studies done on that and there is no proven benefit.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ll check that outthanks

  17. DavidD

    While I look forward to your posts, you have more than delivered after your decision to slow down your posts. Get well. And thank you.

  18. My Next

    Thank you, added to my amazon buy list

  19. Nick Giglia

    I hope you feel better, Fred. I used to get terrible allergies, but thankfully since I had surgery they haven’t been nearly as bad.This looks like a wonderful window into the ins and outs of the VC game, and I can’t wait to read it. Hope it comes out on Kindle! I especially loved, in the excerpt, how Jack mentioned that choosing a VC was like picking a boss you can’t fire, and he also mentioned the difference between East Coast and West Coast VC’s. I look forward to more stories like this in the book.

  20. Matt A. Myers

    Feel better soon.Some more advice if you’re looking to try some new things..i) Probiotics.If you’ve ever had anti-biotics (no doubt you have) then you should take probiotics. And please don’t just eat yogurt with some probiotics added, they don’t give you enough and not enough of a range of bacteria.Note: You’ll be a bit gassy for the first few days and might have some discomfort from that … 😀 but, reason being that you’ll be growing millions of healthy bacteria, and the bad bacteria will be fighting for food but by ingesting good bacteria you increase the ratio of bad to good … bad bacterias and yeast in the bodies can cause anxiety, depression, and overall increase stress on the body – which includes increasing sensitivity to allergens and your body’s reaction to them. Even if you don’t do it immediately, you should do it when you’re feeling better (and everyone else reading this should too).Suggestion: Udo’s Probiotic formulas;… + You can get them at most health food stores. There’s a 5-strain losange one that you let dissolve in your mouth after meals.ii) Ginger tea, and chamomile is good too.Maybe a bit odd, but it will help. 🙂 I like making a ginger tea. Grate some ginger into boiling tea with a cut up lemon and maybe a couple of cloves (not cloves of garlic!) Will help with tummy.Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory so will help relax your body and could help with blocked passages, etc..

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Fred, can we arrange a 30-60 minute meeting? An hour would be better because I think I’ll get you excited and you’ll want to talk more.I keep getting really excited and I want things to move ahead faster. I’m a big picture thinker too and I have enough practice presenting now. I think you’ll understand me.It’s my birthday today, so maybe I’m a little more antsy to get moving faster and why I’m motivated to ask… I’m getting old! Ack! :)I’m not sure best way to arrange a meeting? Following me @mattamyers and PM me with best way to contact you could work or can ask for my cell number? We can talk after you’re feeling up to it of course. Hope you reach this and we can get in touch soon.

  21. Rocky Agrawal

    What a great story. Thanks for sharing and feel better soon.

  22. andyswan


  23. Doug Covey

    What a wonderful community to comment on Mastering The VC Game and offering remedies for what ails you. Hope you feel better –

    1. fredwilson

      i know, this thread turned into a discussion of medicinal treatments. so funny.

  24. markslater

    feel better

  25. Guest

    Rest up and feel better, Fred – just ordered the book, looks like it’s going to be a great read.It’s very refreshing to read the insights of people who’ve been on the trenches both as an entrepreneur and a VC — Mark Suster’s and Chris Dixon’s blogs being great examples of that. Not sure if it’s a trend… but it seems like entrepreneurs-turned-VCs/Angels are increasingly emerging now, similar to how several start-up incubators (Y Combinator, TechStars, etc) first started 4-5 years ago to provide even more guidance and transparency in the tech community for entrepreneurs – always a good thing.

    1. fredwilson

      entrepreneurs turned VCs created the venture business in silicon valley in the late 60s and 70sthey are the best VCs if they enjoy being on the bench. many entrepreneurs can’t do that

  26. Donna Brewington White

    Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. Stop that!Since several have offered remedies & advice, I’ll throw in Source Natural’s Wellness Formula which keeps attacks to the immune system in check.Can’t wait to read the book. Loved this paragraph from the TechCrunch article that is so “classic Fred”:Fred Wilson has an interesting take on the relationship between the entrepreneur and the venture capitalist. “I think venture capitalists, first and foremost, need to feel like their job is to make entrepreneurs successful. So I think of venture capital as a service business. The entrepreneur is your client. It’s a very weird relationship because the entrepreneur is not exactly paying you, even though they really are paying you. But they absolutely can’t fire you. In fact, you can fire them. So it’s among the weirdest kinds of service relationships that one could come up with.”

  27. William Mougayar

    Fascinating & insightful excerpt. It’s amazing that the passage of time allows the behind-the-scenes stories to be more powerful when they come out later.I particularly liked the observation about your aggressive thinking which is so true & related to your investment practices.

  28. Bruce Barber

    Feel better, Fred.

  29. awaldstein

    Fred…if you are not better I will call my mom and order her chicken soup with knaydelach. Guaranteed to please if not cure.

  30. Mike Geer (MG)

    Well linked, sir. Get well soon!

  31. jspringer

    Read the excerpt, then order the book (Amazon naturally). Consigliere is the best description of the ideal VC. So many times it’s a negative avuncular mix; fawning praise one minute, whooping behind the corn crib the next. Consigliere conjures the best of the knowledgeable advisor who’s bad when you need ’em, and always there to haul your ass out of the deep end when you get in over your head.

    1. fredwilson

      and knows his place

  32. Glenn Gutierrez

    Sweet. Will definitely get the book. If you’re still feeling the hit, Claratin-D all the way.

  33. TanyaMonteiro

    have you tried agave nectar, lower GI than honey, looks/functions the same, just a thought. rest well

  34. Jeffrey A. Fromm

    The TechCrunch excerpt was very interesting. The idea of a VC as a service provider is compelling, and the notion that a service provider should love the product and be committed to adding value beyond the obvious (money as a VC; legal advice as a lawyer) is critical to the best client service. Thanks for letting us know about the book.

  35. Fernando Gutierrez

    Hope you already feel better!It’s interesting how you mention flights to read. I also find them one of the few places/moments where I can read without interruptions or guilt… still hate them though, too much time lost on security, delays and being moved like sheep.

  36. jsperli

    Even when you are under the weather, your posts still turn out to be useful. Hope you feel better soon.I caught the book a second time on OnStartups the next day, too.