Should You Introduce Yourself To Me At A Bar?

Saw this question on Hacker News today:

Went to a talk by a VC who is very active in my area. Didn't get a chance to introduce myself after the talk (there were < 25 ppl at the talk but the VC had to run). A few hours later, was out for drinks with a friend and saw he was at the same bar but talking with someone else. Discussion ensued with my buddies around whether or not I should intro myself considering I didn't have a chance earlier in the day, but I ultimately decided against it. What say you: Should I have? I ask for the next time I'm in this situation.

I say hell yes you should introduce yourself. But you should also respect that the VC is out with friends and probably isn't up for a long conversation.

I would suggest you walk up to the VC, say "I saw your talk today. It was great. My name is Jane Doe and I'd love to find a suitable time to tell you what I'm working on. I'll send you an email to follow up. It's a real pleasure to meet you." Then make a polite departure.

My view on these sorts of things is that I love meeting people, no matter where I am. But I don't love being pitched when I'm out with friends and family. The Gotham Gal has witnessed this so many times that she gets annoyed by it now. It happens most often at parties. Sometimes she'll just grab me and say "let's get out of here."

Social situations are ideal for a quick hello. Make an impression. Put a face to a name. But don't pitch. That's going overboard.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Which bar is that Fred?

    1. fredwilson

      i visit quite a few…

      1. Jon Michael Miles

        This makes me miss New York man.

        1. fredwilson

          Come visit

          1. Syed Karim

            How often do people “coincidentally” bump into you? 

          2. Free bets uk

            They “coincidentally”…. “incoincidentally”…..bump!….lol

  2. Christophe Maximin

    Serious question:How about VCs who never really read their emails, or VCs who just don’t have a public e-mail address?When your only chance to really interact with them is there, what should you do?

    1. Dan Lewis

      People who don’t want you contacting them when they’re working probably don’t want you to contact them when they’re not.

      1. Rohan

        Exacto.Fine line between being persistent and being a pain in the ass. (I’m too often in the 2nd category). Helps to take pause and reflect, once in a while..

    2. fredwilson

      if they never read their emails, why would you want to work with them?

  3. Rohan

    Or begin by sending the VC a complimentary drink.And arouse an eager want in the VC to get to know you..;)

    1. fredwilson

      i would not recommend doing that. i would not like it.

      1. Rohan

        Ah. Good to know. When we meet, I’ll just walk up and introduce myself – not to worry.And I’m sure you’ll go- ‘Oh lord. So YOU are that guy’  Haha

        1. fredwilson

          i will recognize you from across the bar

          1. Rohan

            Awwwww.* Touched * 🙂

        2. Dennis Buizert

          If you are Yoda, then it will be even clearer. Haha 

          1. Rohan


      2. leigh

        also, could be awkwardly misinterpreted 😉

        1. kidmercury

          hahhahaa yeah def!

    2. JimHirshfield

      Naw, we don’t live in an episode of Mad Men anymore. 

  4. LIAD

    When opportunity knocks you need to grab it by the nuts.There are clearly right and wrong ways of doing things and you must be a mensch at all times but it’s imperative to capitalise on serendipitous opportunities as they present themselves.



    2. JimHirshfield

      Ya know, I was gonna say “mensch”. That’s really what this is about. Just be human. “Mensch” – WOTD.

  5. Rohan

    The question should be, ‘Is it worth doing’ and not ‘Can it be done’.–Quote of the day. Have a good one, folks! 🙂

  6. Ela Madej

    So what bars do you hang out at ;)?

      1. Ela Madej

        Ha, I like your style –  the foursquare link makes so much sense! Would actually love to talk to you early next year when we have a prototype up, I’lll find a way 😉 Greetings from!

      2. ShanaC

        where are you claiming has good coffee these day (always looking for more coffee shops)

      3. Rohan

        I expected you to say ‘AVC’!Bartender fail.

    1. Dennis Buizert

      The one below his building perhaps?And he can always be found on the subway between USV and his home when he travels. At least I think.Or you could try and look at his Foursquare activity 🙂

      1. Ela Madej

        Right, the subway. Let me start a camp there and start stalking poor Fred 😉

        1. Dennis Buizert

          Be sure to bring fire. It could get really cold. 

          1. Ela Madej

            HEY, I AM FIRE! I run on rocket fuel 😉

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            ME APPROVE.

      2. fredwilson

        yup. bumped into the three founders of a tech startup on the L train last night heading home. got a nice update from them.

        1. JimHirshfield

          See, now that’s perfect, because among other things, the subway creates the perfect dynamic: no powerpoint allowed, a clear “hard stop”, you can see if entrepreneur is good on their feet, and a bit of “reality check” (harder to create a “reality distortion field” when packed into a subway car).

        2. Ela Madej

          I suppose it’s just slightly more difficult to bump into you when you live in Europe 😉

    2. Rohan


  7. Dennis Buizert

    I will remember this for my upcoming visit with you Fred. But on a serious note. I feel that if I saw someone “famous” I would not disturb them unless I an appointment or I know them. I guess that is a culture difference and maybe that is why a lot of famous people can walk freely here in the Netherlands without major disturbances. It took me some huge balls and debating emailing some people in order to make a visit on a casual level, deeply knowing I have something to talk about beside the birds and the bees. Upcoming 2 weeks will be a good test for me know if I can do it or if I need practice and maybe a bigger set of balls. 

    1. LIAD

      This kind of stuff is hard, especially for introverts like me, but it must be done. Rejection therapy which I think is both serious and a joke may help – 

    2. Dave Pinsen

      I generally feel the same way. On a few occasions, I’ve noticed famous individuals I respected a couple tables away at a restaurant. In those cases, I decided the nicest thing I could do was let them enjoy themselves in peace. At a public event — a speech or whatever — that’s a different story. I’d say hello and share a few words.If I saw Fred at a bar out with friends, despite this post, I wouldn’t bother him.

      1. David Semeria

        Spoken like a true gentleman, Dave.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Nice of you to say, David.

      2. ShanaC

        Me either.  let him eat, drink, hang out with family, friends, whatever.Life gets weird when you can’t have quiet time away from business mentally.

        1. Rohan

          So true. I don’t think I would like to be disturbed personally.. Then again, I like compartmentalizing things.

  8. RichardF

    “Bar hours” would be much more fun than “office hours”

    1. Dennis Buizert

      It brings a certain casual feel with it. Maybe less pressure at that point. It could help some newly “weds” or people who are from a different culture when it comes down to raising money or awareness. 

    2. Rohan

      Like happy hours with a twist. Like that!

    3. fredwilson


  9. Rohan

    I have a related question for all – Is there ANYTHING you can do to make more of an impact? i.e. of course you can give a great introduction and all that. But, anything else? Carry a CD with what your product does for such serendipitous meetings? 

    1. fredwilson

      gifts and such annoy me as if i can be boughtjust bring itit being what makes you and your product special

      1. Shawn Cohen

        After he released Getting to Plan B, Randy Komisar mentioned that he invests in the person as much as in the concept. If the concept fails, he’s willing to see the entrepreneur pivot to Plan B. Is that a sentiment many VCs share?

        1. fredwilson

          Yes. We do it all the time.

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Shawn Cohen

            Or maybe “Great team w/ bad idea can still win?”

          2. Albert Hartman

            “When a management team with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact” Warren Buffet

      2. Rohan

        Makes sense. Thanks for pitching in, Fred. This is turning out to be a great discussion. And it applies more than to meeting VC’s… 

      3. leigh

        True – but i remember the first time I was looking for a job when i was changing careers — the people who made time for me — sent them each a bottle of something something afterwards with a card and never forgot their generosity.  Now that i’m in that situation with pple trying to get my time for the same reason — i never say no and i really appreciate it when they go out of their way to say thank-you.  

    2. jason wright

      Have a beta site up and running, have the waitress hand Fred  a complimentary Nexus phone loaded with the software…and then just carry on eating and drinking. 

      1. fredwilson

        That would rock

      2. JimHirshfield

        Ha!  “The entrepreneur at the other end of the bar was admiring your portfolio and wanted to buy you an Android on the rocks.”

      3. JamesHRH

        That’s really good Jason.

        1. jason wright

          Thanks. Now I just need idea, site, Nexus,… stakeout :-).

    3. JimHirshfield

      Wear a Yoda mask. That’ll be memorable.Or lacking that (let’s say you left it at home) have your avatar on your business card.

      1. Rohan

        Hehe. Don’t think that will fly beyond Fred.. haha

      2. panterosa,

        Or like me I have pink panther t shirt

        1. JimHirshfield

          Every day? You must have a lot of those t-shirts.

          1. panterosa,

            I have other aliases too. I mix it up….

    4. falicon

      The easiest thing is to just:”Awesome, be.”



      1. Rohan

        NO CD. IT NOT 1997.HahahahahaI really like the story idea, Grimster. 🙂

      2. panterosa,

        I TOTALLY AGREEIn fact, my specialty as an artist/ designer is making those cool little give aways and objects of desire and intrigue. It’s so fun I can’t call it work. It’s pure pleasure. And they work!!

    6. JLM

      Stupid idea, true, works — oversized business cards.  The average business card is so damn boring as to be invisible.Just use a nice 3 x 5 card with rounded corners printed on very high quality 16pt stock unvarnished.I have been doing this for years because I deal with regulators who constantly lose your cards.  They never lose mine and it has paid dividends.  You will always strike up a convo over the cards.

      1. Rohan

        Killer idea. Thanks JLM! Any more up your sleeve? 😉

  10. Tom Labus

    Common courtesy should rule here and would you want someone interrupting your down time/ conversation.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes if its short and sweet

  11. awaldstein

    FourSquare link tells a story in it’s own right. Encouraging me to step up my use.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s the value prop right there ArnoldDelicious for places I visit

      1. awaldstein

        “Foursquare is like Delicious for places I visit.” Nice!

  12. Scott Barnett

    It’s always hard putting yourself out there, especially when you’re trying to introduce yourself to someone who may seem untouchable or hard to reach.  However, *you* have a lot to offer as well (or at least you better believe that!), and if you make a nice and simple introduction as Fred suggests and the person blows you off or treats you disrespectfully, then you know that’s not a person you really want to know in the first place.  That’s a pretty good data point too, if you’re looking for an investor.The other advice that is given here and other blogs constantly is that you should always be looking to get to know folks *before* you need them… so I’m not 100% positive, but I’m pretty sure if you said to Fred “I’m just starting out on an idea, heard your talk, thought it was great, wanted to introduce myself, had some questions on your talk I’d like to follow up with you on, what would be the best way to do that” I can’t imagine he would be annoyed with that either.  I know that I would like to start to get to know a VC before I need to pitch them, if at all possible.

    1. fredwilson


    2. Rohan

      Very true. 🙂

    3. JamesHRH

      I think a lot of people struggle with this – especially if you are pitching someone who is busy ( or is outside your city ).Some people excel at the silly putty aspect of building relationships – most of them are not great problem solver / tech founders.KISS advice from Fred is bang on – put a face to name, make a request to talk shop appropriately and move on.

      1. Scott Barnett

        James – not sure I totally agree with your second sentence, I know many excellent relationship builders (including myself) that are great problem solvers or technical.  And are you implying that the inverse if true too – that great problem solvers/tech founders are not good relationship builders?  Building good relationships is a skill – just like becoming a great programmer is a skill – you need to work at it.  I think *anybody* can become a great relationship builder – you just have to want to and understand how to build them. Think hard about what’s stopping you from walking up to *anybody* and introducing yourself – it’s simply the fear of rejection.  Once you get past that, you realize that most people are as awesome as you, and if you can open that first door,  you might have just created your next great relationship.  And for the small percentage that reject you, they probably weren’t going to be a good fit for you anyway, and it took less than 20 seconds to find out.  Win-win! 🙂

        1. JamesHRH

          mostly agree with your comments.My comments were more geared to personality types. Some people excel, naturally, at reading others emotionally. This gives them a strong advantage in building relationships.

  13. Jon Michael Miles

    I love that this blog is active first thing in the morning. When to pitch is always a consternation for the pitcher and pitchee. My living is in television and I was literally writing a pitch email for a show idea when I stopped to read AVC. When to pitch and how to pitch is always something that is a combination of courage and tact. Fred obviously makes it a policy to be accessible – as thousands of blog posts and comments can attest. Other VCs may have different policies, but I’m sure all the seasoned professionals enjoy a quiet dinner with the wife like the rest of us. 

    1. Avi Deitcher

      +1 for the active. Except that I live in Israel and commute to the US for business. So… half my time I wait until early afternoon for the posts. Just gotta get Fred to post before going to sleep? :-)+1 (again? is that +2?) for the “dinner with wife”.I modify my above remarks. Big difference between intro-ing to someone standing on a street corner or at a bar with a group, and someone sitting down to a dinner with their significant other.



      1. Rohan

        Unless you are JLM, Andy Swan or the Grimster. 😉 

      2. fredwilson

        that’s partially because i go to work

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. fredwilson

            That’s a good thing

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    3. Rohan

      I guess background research helps. Adapt to audience etc. 🙂

  14. Avi Deitcher

    Anyone who is personable and normal appreciates that friendly and considerate intro, it says, “hello, we are both human beings out enjoying time with friends, but we may have some business relationship, so I will just say hello, introduce myself *as a person*, and deal with business at a better time.”Anyone – business partner, investor, employee, you name it – who *cannot* respect that kind of respectful intro is not someone you want to get into (business) bed with. Think about it: if someone cannot deal with that, what are they going to be like when the going gets tough? Stick with the humans, like Fred says.

    1. andyswan

      “we are both human beings”…that would get a chuckling brush-off from me.  Who talks like that?

      1. Avi Deitcher

        That is not what you say; really! It is the implicit message underneath. 

  15. Wesley Verhoeve

    YES. Wholeheartedly agree. This happens to me with artists that approach me at concerts of my own artists, or at bars afterwards. The ones that are polite and respect that I’m actually kind of “at work” I think of more highly. The ones that try to tell me about their show the next day and keep on rambling, when I can’t really even hear them over the music, go right into the “pass” file. Social intelligence is a big indicator for me whether or not I’d make a suitable match with an artist in a working relationship.

  16. Peter Sullivan

    I always thought about how annoying this would be. 

  17. andyswan

    Related post yesterday… 7 rules for pitching to investors that almost everyone FUBARS:…bonus tip:  If it’s me, lead with a pappy, rocks….second bonus tip AFTER first:  if it’s me, you need to seriously reevaluate your targets.  

    1. Dave Pinsen

      You just crashed your servers. Working now.

      1. andyswan

        Working for me….but it’s a DNS redirect (to tumblr) issue….very spotty and just now creeping up.I blame my hosting company, but it’s premature to name names.I hope the link works for everyone soon. My bad.Then again, if you’re not following me on tumbr you get what you deserve. A

        1. Dave Pinsen

          It’s working now. Great post.

        2. custompoloshirts

          Link worked fine for me. Great post, thanks for sharing. 

    2. RichardF

      Love the whiteboard idea.

    3. ShanaC

      I really love the whiteboard idea.  if only because I hate making power points

    4. LIAD

      sweet blog theme

    5. LE

      “Listen to the man.  He probably has a very good idea/approach, and you’ll get him thinking about your business.”Knowledge of pecking order very important in life. Many people fail by not understanding this.”The 2nd best answer you can get in a pitch is a no. Enjoy the no. It frees you.”Same with dating. “Remember, you’re just two people sitting down having a conversation about a business that you BOTH want to make you BOTH a lot of money. “Same is true in many aspects of business life. As only one example pitching newspapers, TV and blogs. They are looking for content. It’s your job to convince them why they should run a story about you or your company. They need stories to run.If your story is good they will want to run it because it’s good for them. Your job is to convince them of that.

      1. andyswan


      2. testtest

        Knowledge of pecking order very important in life. Many people fail by not understanding this.pecking order is for peckers.respect, yes. But if you want to make an omelette you need to break some eggs.

        1. LE

          “respect, yes. But if you want to make an omelette you need to break some eggs.”Go into detail on exactly what you mean by that.

          1. testtest

            what, so you can try to pull apart my argument, or imply you didn’t mean “pecking order” in the way i understood it?it means you should be respectful to everyone, regardless of their position. And having some arbitrary structure in your head about who is “higher up” in the pecking order is a barrier to changing the order of things.if you’ve got a shot at changing the world — in some small way — “pecking order” shouldn’t even come in to it. nothing arbitrary should.

          2. LE

            “it means you should be respectful to everyone, regardless of their position”Sure I agree with that.”And having some arbitrary structure in your head about who is “higher up” in the pecking order is a barrier to changing the order of things. if you’ve got a shot at changing the world — in some small way “I’m not looking to change the world.

        2. Philipsugar

          LE makes a good point, but I think rather than pecking order it is who is asking who for what, and how many levels up or down you are going.So the issue is to be respectful, in my mind that is that the person asking should expect one level down in response.Lets take my levelsOn the Ask:1: Cold call with no clue2: Call knowing who I am, what I look for and and succiently asking what you want3: All of number 2 plus fomalizing your request asking for a specific item that respects my time4: All of number 3 plus connecting with my network and making sure that you are on track.Reponse should be expected is one lower:0: no response1: Quick blow off with no interest2: Quick discussion with reason3: Discussion with detailed reasoning.

      3. Grace @ Leveraged Buyouts

        Good points.  When making a pitch it’s absolutely essential to humanize in your own mind your prospective investor.  Approach them wisely and with respect, but remember that your business plans are strong, worthwhile and definitely worth his or her time.  Timidity can come across as a lack of confidence in yourself and your ideas.    Grace

    6. David Semeria

      “And for the love of all that is pappy LISTEN”Yup, that would be the authentic voice of Mr. Swan.

    7. awaldstein

      Great post Andy.If you start from the whiteboard, you will have to engage the group to make it a success.The final interview for my first job as a Marketing exec, they just pointed to the whiteboard,  threw me marker and said, “your meeting”.

      1. leigh

        love that.

    8. fredwilson

      leave the powerpoint, take the whiteboardinstant reblog…

      1. Mahdad Taheri

        Leave the powerpoint! Leave the whiteboard! If I were to pitch I’d do it with a dance :-)…

  18. SofSof

    Love it!

    1. andyswan

      Supply and demand, Sofia…supply and demand.

    2. fredwilson

      I agree with your critiqueWhat you say all very true

  19. Conrad Ross Schulman

    Being a entrepreneur, I am not a fan of todays post…how come your devaluing the entrepreneur?The vc should be thinking about how to approach the entrepreneur…after all, the vc needs the entrepreneur in order to stay in business. Not the other way around…

    1. andyswan

      supply and demand, CRAD, supply and demand

      1. Conrad Ross Schulman

        Your wrong..the entrepreneur has the means to create his own capital and resources.The vc needs us. we don’t need them. What is so hard to understand?!Google it if you want more proof

        1. andyswan

          How many disqus accounts do you have, Crad?   You and Sophia posted same original comment (sophia first before you realized your mistake 90 seconds later), and now she’s enthusiastically liking your posts and agreeing!Looks like someone is devaluing the entrepreneur by faking his support.Laaaaaaammmmmeeeeeee.

          1. Conrad Ross Schulman

            get with it

          2. andyswan

            she TOTALLY agrees!   Yay!

          3. Guest


          4. Alex Murphy


        2. JamesHRH

          This is a highly immature approach. Your binary power game indicates an analytic prowess, but not much judgement.Given the binary choice between intelligence and judgement, take judgement every time.BTW, the right answer is money and opportunity need each other. You should be striving to make a good match, not make VC your bitch.

          1. JLM

            “…money and opportunity need each other…”Bravo, brilliant, well played!  Truth.

          2. LE

            “Given the binary choice between intelligence and judgement, take judgement every time.”Right and judgement is a seat of the pants feel, which, while not always correct certainly aids decision making greatly. Not learned from books. Can’t be learned from books. Can’t be learned from reading HN or blog posts either. 

        3. LE

          “The vc needs us. we don’t need them. What is so hard to understand?!”Numbers wise that doesn’t really make much sense. The % of funded companies that succeed is much lower than the total number of companies invested in. And if you assume an idea (or team or whatever) will approach a number of VC’s and some won’t get funded at all (by any VC’s or angels) then I wouldn’t expect those to be the ideas that are better than the ones that were in the pool that has a chance of success because they were funded by *someone*.And that pool, funded companies, what is it? 1/3 work, 1/3 don’t work, 1/3 fail or something like that? Consequently VC’s invest in more companies that don’t work than companies that work. “Your wrong..the entrepreneur has the means to create his own capital and resources.”No idea is a sure thing. Forgetting even the non money advantages that a VC brings to the table for a second what you will find is that even people that don’t need VC money (people who have cashed out of a previous venture or are otherwise rich) will many times take VC investment (same as large companies have joint partners). 

    2. SofSof

      Totally agree! 

    3. Cliff S

      Crad, i see your point. Todays post implies that Entrepreneurs ‘Need” Vc’s in order to be successfull. Hence the title, “Should You Introduce Yourself To Me At A Bar?”

    4. Jonathan Berkowitz

      this doesn’t make much sense to me.  the story here is that the entrepreneur recognized the VC in a bar.  How would the VC have known there was a budding and of course most excellent entrepreneur just a few footsteps away?I think you’re over reacting – it’s a simple case of one person recognized the other, there’s absolutely no ‘devaluing’ in this story. 

      1. Conrad Ross Schulman

        im just wondering why the story is always about the entrepreneur approaching the vc…why can’t the entrepreneur get justice? 

        1. Jonathan Berkowitz

          I’m not sure that’s the case, I don’t really know.  But if it is, I wouldn’t read too much into it.  It’s an ecosystem, both parties need one another.  Pragmatically, I think it’s probably true that on the whole, entrepreneurs research and study the VC community they’re interested in to mine for quality matches. They probably do, on average, know more about a VC coming in than a VC knows about them.  That may include how they look 🙂 As is the case frequently in life, the one who is most motivated by the moment will initiate an action.

        2. fredwilson

          Many of our best investments happened when we approached the entrepreneur

          1. Jonathan Berkowitz

            That does not surprise me to hear.

          2. Alex Murphy

            VC = Woman at BarEntrepreneur = Man at BarSometimes, the women pursue, they should, they are better at picking the right match from the initial observation.  Men just want to get laid.  Entrepreneurs all too often just want money.

          3. ShanaC

            You betcha (from being the woman at the bar oftentimes)My favorite relationships I chose.Note to the men out there…

          4. Rohan

            I have a suggestion on your Disqus Ranks, Fred. I like instigator, regular and I think they make sense.’Welcome back stranger’ is one I’m not a big fan of.I’d prefer ‘Welcome back friend’.

          5. fredwilson

            Good suggestion!

        3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. kidmercury

            in beefing, the only thing that hurts more than the truth is the obvious truth…….+1 to fake grimlock here

        4. JamesHRH

          This is ridiculous.The premise of the post was that the VC just spoke to a crowd and the entrepreneur saw him after. The VC scans and stores the crowd and then approaches them all later? That’s what you think should happen?

          1. Conrad Ross Schulman

            I think that the entrepenuer is holding the best hand at the poker table. If the entreprenuer is holding the best hand, why should he approach someone with a less valuable hand?

          2. JamesHRH

            Because you are not playing a zero sum, win/lose game with your source of capital.

          3. David Semeria

            Many entrepreneurs, many tables, CRAD.Also, it’s not poker because the cards can change right before your eyes.You’re new at this aren’t you?

        5. Alex Murphy

          Start a blog and write from your point of view.  Put your picture out there, get up on stage, give a talk, and tell people to come intro themselves to you … maybe they will.

    5. JamesHRH

      ?Fair question for an inexperienced entrepreneur, with the right answer provided.Hardly rubbish.

    6. Rohan

      Are you having a bad day??Unusual reaction from you, CRAD. 

      1. Conrad Ross Schulman

        You don’t agree at all with what im saying? not even 1 percent?

        1. Rohan

          CRAD my friend, I can see something here touched a nerve. In my case, I don’t think it’s about agreeing with you or even about who is right or wrong. I do have 3 reasons why I feel this comment is out of place here – 1. Let’s take a different example – Should companies be pitching to potential employees? Or should employees be pitching to companies? There may be an inherent pecking order there. But it doesn’t really matter to me. 2. The reason it doesn’t matter is that if you are really good, you will always be in demand. The best companies don’t need to pitch as they’re in demand. And the best talents are always in demand as well. As far as VC’s are concerned, Fred definitely falls in the ‘really good’ category. And typically, life works on a ‘get good or get out’ rule (implicitly atleast). 3. Now, Fred reads a post on an entrepreneur’s blog that could be a potential questions folks who bump into him might share. This blog post is read by 10,000 people-a-day, 500 of whom might fall into that category and decides to give them his point of view. I don’t know if it’s just me but I don’t see anything wrong with that.I see you have a different point of view. And I see you are upset by what you perceive to be the hierarchy (i.e. vc’s in demand and entrepreneur’s not). I just don’t think that’s enough to call something rubbish.That said, it IS unusual from you. So, I still don’t know what to make of it. 

          1. Reddy_s

            +1ROHAN ,  the best explanation I have seen for this kind of  situation.

          2. Rohan

            * bows * 🙂 

          3. Conrad Ross Schulman

            You hit it..Im upset with the perception of hierarchy (vc’s in demand and entrepreneur not)Fred’s words are so strong online, that when he writes about this percieved hierarchy, most of the readers will (now) beleive that vc’s are #1 and entreprenuers are #2.Where I strongly believe that the hierarchy is the other way around..

          4. Rohan

            Again, I see your point and what upset you.I don’t know so much about hierarchy. And I’d rather not speak about it. The only thing I did disagree with was the approach.’When we are tempted to fight fire with fire, it’s nice to remember that the fire department actually uses water.’ 🙂 Have a nice day!

          5. Baptiste Picard

            Great analysis Rohan! You also have so many posts about VCs competing to fund startups. I don’t think this article is influencing the perception of hierarchy people have. VC / startup just need each other in the economy, I don’t see any real hierarchy here in the end.

          6. Rohan

            Agree about the hierarchy, Baptiste.When you’re good, you’re in demand is all I see.

    7. Alex Murphy

      After reading all of the comments to this, I think you need to try to look at this from the other point of view.  Fred was suggesting that if you are wondering whether or not to introduce yourself that you should, emphatically so.  He followed on to give some tips that apply not to just saying hi to a VC, but apply anywhere in life.  Say hi, give a quick intro, but don’t assume you can take that person’s time.  This applies all over the place. This is far from a personal attack and it is not to say that VCs don’t approach entrepreneurs, they do.  This was a post written in response to a specific question of whether or not to approach a VC as an entrepreneur.  It is good advice.  It is relevant for every person that reads this blog.  This post relates to two great rules of life:  – always be the first person to say hi  – treat others the way you want to be treated

  20. falicon

    This isn’t just true for VC…on a much smaller level than Fred I’m sure, but as a developer it’s also very annoying to get pitched at parties and social gatherings (unless I specifically ask to hear about your product/company).I too love meeting people, and really do want to know what people are working on, but it’s pretty rare that I’m going to get sold on doing development work for you via a conversation at a social event…but it’s HIGHLY likely I can be sold on *you* at a social event, and then when you follow up via emails and future conversations, there is a much higher chance I’ll want to do dev. work for you.Sell to the situation…in social gatherings, that means a quick and casual sale of yourself (make me buy into spending more time with you and on your project at a future time where we can dig into more details).

    1. leigh

      my dad was an OB/GYN — guess what happened when he told women that at parties 😉  

  21. Conrad Ross Schulman

    u in nyc? u wanna meet up for coffee? Im digging your energy

    1. fredwilson

      Is this for me? If so, sure

      1. Conrad Ross Schulman

        Can we do something cool?

        1. fredwilson

          Send me an email and we can discuss

  22. mikenolan99

    Had this idea yesterday… How about, or something like that.  When Fred flies to SF, he sells the seat next to him on the plane. The highest bidder gets a few hours of Fred’s time, and the money goes to charity.If the idea grows, rock stars, movie stars and politicians could all get into the act. O.K., maybe not politicians.  They wont be invited.Ideas?

    1. fredwilson

      I am a miserable flier

      1. ShanaC

        Learn to nap?

      2. Rohan

        Get Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle on audible.…Put it on sleep mode 30 mins.”Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing in New York in 30 mins” – #nextthingyouhear

      3. leeschneider

        Bose noise canceling headphones.  Godsend for flying, training, pokering.

    2. JimHirshfield

      Pay-to-Play? Not so sure that would come across the right way.There’s a huge difference between elevator pitch and cross-continent pitch. If you just met, it’s a bunch awkward to be stuck in the seat for 6 hours.Pitching VCs isn’t constrained by access. It’s not hard to get their attention. Keeping it is another matter.

    3. JLM

      I think you have a business in that idea.

    4. LE

      Seems it would be much less confining to apply the same concept to offering to pickup someone in a town car for a cross city or short ride. Pay for the transportation and make the short pitch.  Warren Buffet by the way already does something similar to your charity idea.…”A portfolio manager who paid a total of $5.3 million for two meals with Warren Buffett has just been hired to help pick stocks at Berkshire Hathaway.”

  23. laurie kalmanson

    hi, i saw your talk, and i made you a mix tape ……(you know, from before you just made things your favorite)

    1. fredwilson

      Yay. Thanks



    1. Rohan

      Do or Do not. Opportunity matters not. 

    2. LE

      Right. As nominal of a chance there is of meeting someone at a bar, there is a greater chance of that happening than expecting someone to knock on your apartment door or fall from the sky.

  25. baba12

    Mr.Wilson is not your average VC.In general I think if you come across someone you have seen/heard etc and want to acknowledge them it iss fine to do so wherever it maybe.Paul Giamatti was at the food coop here in Brooklyn a few weeks back, I saw him and just acknowledged that I liked his work and we went about getting our produce.I have seen Mr.Wilson a few times on an elevator when he is going upto his office but I have not felt it appropriate to introduce myself when he is busy reading something.I think if one is approaching a VC to get a chance to pitch anytime it is not a good position to be in. As my dad said negotiating a peace treaty with a gun on the table by your side is always better. If I could I would ask Mr.Wilson to come to Brooklyn to a secret science event and hangout… But I doubt he gets across the river to this part of the city.

    1. fredwilson

      I love Brooklyn. Going there tonite

      1. baba12

        Hope not to a shee shee pooh pooh place 🙂 there are plenty of those now… 

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Way to move the goal posts. First you speculate that Fred’s too fancy to go to Brooklyn. Now that he tells you he’s going to Brooklyn tonight, you worry he might be going to a posh place. What happens if it’s not? Will you move the goal posts out to East Flatbush, and chasten Fred for not going there?

          1. baba12

            no not moving any posts. My observation of most Manhattanites visiting Brooklyn is one that is very touristic in nature. If there is a event at BAM you can tell who is from Manhattan generally, a group that is just there for the show and as soon as it is over they get on the bus and get back to Manhattan.There has been a steady influx of Manhattanites into many parts of Brooklyn which has made certainly made things different. As for speculating being fancy or not, I don’t speculate but having seen Mr.Wilson 4sq checkins I observe that he has frequented less in Brooklyn. That is all I was basing my comment on.

          2. kidmercury

            gonna have to side with dave pinsen over baba12 in this beef. this strikes me as a case of goal-post moving. 

  26. William Mougayar

    Speaking of Foursquare, why not write a note on Fred’s check-in at that bar and say: “I was at your event earlier & loved it. Great coincidence we’re both here. Can I approach you to just say hi and follow-up later?”Fred will get this notification right away, and knowing him he will telegraph back “Sure, please do.” Even if Fred didn’t respond then, or if he missed it, this message will appear in his Inbox when he checks it, and the said entrepreneur will automatically appear in the New box in the Engagement folder, with their picture.This would be a great way to also make a good impression by using 2 products that Fred loves 🙂

    1. Rohan

      And make a certain Monsieur Mougayar very happy as well.. 😉

    2. baba12

      Speaking of, are you planning to get us some more invites Mr.Mougayar?

      1. William Mougayar

        I just did.

    3. Shawn Cohen

      I like this idea–Foursquare is such a big space w/ few players, it’s hard to miss messages there. Or maybe I’m just speaking from a Foursquare newcomer perspective…

      1. William Mougayar

        Yes,- engaging with someone over a social network is a subtle interaction signal.

  27. Benoit Fallenius

    Are we seeing the death of the elevator pitch?Sure, you will need it for journalists and others, but if it’s not effective on a vc…  

  28. ShanaC

    How much does this apply to general behavior at bars?  I mean lets pretend you want to meet random guy or random gal (becomes friends, date, ask question about hair), how much is going up and then disappearing going to work?

    1. AVCoholic

      I’d think respectful always wins out over possibly being annoying. Besides, if the person is intrigued enough they’ll keep the conversation going. No one likes being in a situation where they might need to pry themselves out of. Fred’s answer applies to more then just pitching. If you want to meet someone, go over, introduce yourself, try to be funny or engaging but make it quick and short. Sparks rarely fly immediately so let them be in control of choosing to continue or not. It allows them to focus on you and what you’ve said instead of thinking how they’ll get out of this socially awkward situation.

    2. LE

      I think dating and other social engagement is a different situation obviously. The problem in a social situation is much of the response is going to be based on physical aspects instead of what you have to say. That being said people (men/women) fear rejection. So if you simply walk up and say *something* that means you are telling the person you are open to their advance without looking desperate (like sitting in a corner staring). Walk up, pay some compliment (shoes, watch, ask a sports question etc.) and then walk away and see what happens.) 

      1. ShanaC

        Usually positive things (from experience)

    3. Alexander Close

      But what about going up, making a quick memorable impression, then disappearing?Thinking about the similarities between making an impression to a VC or to “that” girl/guy. (or anyone really)  I’d say they’re totally similar.Do be unique/memorable/yourself.  Do be brief.  Do make the opportunity for a future connect. (email, bus card, whatever) But the most important part, do something. 

      1. ShanaC

        I think this post and all the comments could be summed up as “Do something, and make it a memorable something, but not so much as to be freaky”

  29. Neil Braithwaite

    It would be great if Fred had a designated “Pitch” email account. Open to all entrepreneurs. For time and consideration it should be limited to 300 words or less and/or a 90 second video attachment. (Auto reply: Thank you for your pitch, will contact if interested) And since Fred and the Gotham Gal are both VC’s, they could monitor the pitches to see which ones they might find interesting – and possibly make them some money. So don’t bother Fred on his personal time – unless all you really want to do is introduce yourself.  

    1. LE

      “if Fred had a designated “Pitch” email account. Open to all entrepreneurs.”Exists already:If you would like to share your ideas, business, or feedback with us, please send us email at [email protected]: Or if you want to standout a little more also send an overnight letter or package to the postal mailing address of USV.

  30. Tom Hessert

    Brave post…I would love to hear the 1 month follow up. 

  31. Aaron

    Agree – everyone’s ok with being picked up, it’s the insensitivity that ensues which people hate.Be street smart.

  32. Gotham Gal

    Be respectful.  Say hello, shake hands and move on.  Nobody wants to hear you or your pitch in a social situation.  It is rude…and btw makes for not getting a chance in hell to ever have an opportunity to actually make your pitch in person again. Being at an industry invent and watching someone corner Fred is so wrong on so many levels.  It forces us to leave because he can’t be social.  Someone actually pitched him in the bathroom…seriously! We are public people, we love talking to everyone but there is a time and a place for everything. 

    1. William Mougayar

      And that was the direct version of Fred’s post. Well said, in case someone didn’t get Fred’s subtleties.

      1. Gotham Gal

        that is what makes us good partners. he is subtle, i am not. i have learned to be more subtle as the years go by but it certainly isn’t part of my dna.

      2. fredwilson

        I love that woman!

    2. kirklove

      Ha, didn’t see you comment before my comment. I know people interrupting your dinner, ignoring you and focusing on Fred is your favorite thing in the world. 

    3. Rohan

      Agree. Not so hard to pitch Fred either. Just show up here! Reeks of bad research, that. 

      1. andyidsinga

        sheesh 😉 Im sure that pitch was a stinker.

        1. Rohan

          Story of my life, andy.. 😉

          1. andyidsinga

            I was referring to the person who pitched Fred in the restroom 🙂

          2. Lucas Dailey

            That’s obviously terribly disrespectful or shows the person is simply completely clueless.But, man!, I love that image in a adversarial relationship. A real no-holds-barred, go to the mattresses slug fest.I can totally picture Steve Jobs can-jacking Bill Gates about a lawsuit or something.

          3. andyidsinga

            that is sofaking hilarious – I swear to god I’m going to use “can-jacking” in a conversation tomorrow 🙂

          4. Mordy Kaplinsky

            Hey.  He had a captive audience 🙂

        2. William Mougayar


    4. LE

      One of the things that I’ve seen that correlates to a successful sales person is both the inability and ability pick up on social cues. (Yes both ways.)Now if I walked up to your table (and I wouldn’t it’s not the way I operate) I would have immediately picked up on your annoyance (even if you were hiding it with a smile) because I am really good at faces and emotions and interpretation of such. And I would have acted accordingly seeing your annoyance which is quite clear from your comment as well as Fred’s post. (I feel your pain I hate to be interrupted anytime and was raised to not interrupt adults to wait for a pause in conversation. I just got a free dinner from a nice restaurant after I wrote that the waiter interrupted way to much.).But on the other hand I’ve also seen that many good salespeople are able to ignore (or they don’t interpret) facial cues so they can barge ahead and not be devastated by the “get the f out of here” of the receptionist or potential buyer when cold calling. In the end, depending on the type of sales you are doing, having an accurate interpretation of emotions is beneficial (since you can learn to overcome the “get the f out”) more than you can learn to interpret emotions.Don’t laugh – the Real Housewives series is good for getting practice with facial emotions.

      1. Gotham Gal

        You are spot on. Reading the cues, the room and the looking between the lines is key

    5. ShanaC

      I can’t believe someone did that…

      1. Gotham Gal

        yep. i’d put that under the “tad aggressive and utterly inappropriate” category

        1. ShanaC

          maybe we need a “manners in the digital age” guide. Just so we have something to point to about “what not to do”

  33. phineasb

    Totally agree with your take here on both coming over to say hello and on not pitching. The one thing I would add is to provide a little context on what you are working on, the napkin sketch of the business — “l am working on changing the way people learn to code and I would love to find a time to chat with you about it” gives me something to think about and provides context to the details in the e-mail follow-up.

    1. fredwilson


  34. kirklove

    If Gotham Gal is at the bar make sure to say hi to her as well. You don’t want her ire on you. Plus it’s just respectful you know. Plus, plus, she’s awesome!

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. Looking forward to tonite!

  35. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    Reporters get this a lot–and this advice also applies to us. 🙂

  36. JLM

    Bar etiquette of former times —You call over a waiter and send a drink to your “target” and his conversation companion.The waiter points out to the target from whence the drink has come and a mannerly target comes over to thank you and acknowledge your generosity.You stand up, shake hands, say — “it’s nothing but I saw you speak today and it was awesome.”  You exchange cards.You follow up with a hand written notecard. And take it from there.This used to be called “networking” back before the Internet ruled our lives and it worked like a charm.Bonus question — in the old days in NYC when you said to someone — “let’s have a drink” “I’ll meet you under THE clock.”Where was THAT clock?  When was it destroyed?  Why?Did YOU ever meet someone under THE clock?

    1. LE

      Penn Station station clock? 

      1. JLM

        Not even close.

    2. Lucas Dailey

      The clock in Grand Central Station is the most iconic I can think of in the city, and definitely still a popular meeting place. But I’m guessing it might be code for something else.

      1. JLM

        Kinda close, same architectural genre

        1. Lucas Dailey

          The old clock tower building by Mckim Mead & White on the 300 block of Broadway? (My first profession was architecture).

          1. JLM

            Nay, not so.  You are traveling too far afield.

          2. Anne Libby

            I can see this clock right now.   It’s a masterpiece.

    3. JLM

      Clue no 2 — Holden Caulfield creator haunt

      1. ShanaC

        Grand Central Terminal.Sent from a phone, forwarned

    4. JLM

      Clue no 3 — F Scott Fitzgerald short story title

      1. ShanaC

        The Ritz . There is a short story by him called ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’Sent from a phone, forwarned

    5. JLM

      Clue no 4 — Sean Young 1986

    6. LE

      Ok – here it is:”Biltmore Hotel on Madison Avenue and 43rd Street, which was rebuilt into an office building. The Biltmore clock was the one referred to the phrase “Meet you under the clock,” (Sean Young clue did the trick).

      1. JLM

        BINGO!  Well done, well played.  Persistence pays off.Now I owe YOU a drink.BTW, did you know the clock still is there?

        1. LE

          Didn’t know that actually. Let me know when you are around Philly metro area (or I will let you know when I am around Austin).

  37. jason wright

    How about a beach bar on Madeira?

    1. FlavioGomes

      Totally down for that!!

  38. FlavioGomes

    Don’t reveal to a vc that you’re a bad timer with an awkward introduction.   This can also apply to pitching to anyone in the value chain.Service providers who lay deep pitches at me over drinks at parties will most likely never get my business.  The ones that keep the introductions brief, tell a quick and cool story and ask for a follow up sometime down the road…almost always get a second look.Lord knows that I ain’t afraid to approach anyone at anytime but I’ve made a pile of bad timing fumbles in my early days and I cringe with a pang of shame each time I recall them.

  39. Trevor McLeod

    Fred,  It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday.  We were the only two people waiting for the elevator, so it seemed like a great opportunity to introduce myself.  I agree with you.  Short, respectful is so important – especially in a social setting.Anyhow, hope I didn’t take up too much of your time yesterday.

    1. fredwilson

      elevator pitch!!!nicely done

  40. Joe Marchese

    A guy waiting tables (between music gigs) at a local restaurant sees LL Cool J in the restaurant when he lived in the area. After debating whether to approach, the waiter introduces himself and hands LL an audition CD and quickly steps away. He then spotted LL popping the CD into his dash as he drove away. Next day, waiter gets a call from LL’s manager, and it leads to a recording contract.Fred’s advice is spot on (imagine that!): be polite, don’t chat it up, but by all means approach. If you don’t, you just said ‘no’ to yourself.

  41. kidmercury

    fastest way to end a conversation……just interrupt their pitch and tell them 911 was an inside job (with a serious, unflinching face)…..that should end the conversation right there so you can go back to hanging out with your fam 

    1. Rohan


  42. LE

    “I saw your talk today. It was great. “Reminds me of how I got the attention of Tim Draper way way back in the 90’s. I saw him on John Dvorak’s TechTV late one night and I made some disparaging comment about something he said. My wife (at the time) looked up and said that he was a really good looking guy. So I wrote him an email the next day and started with my wife’s compliment about his looks and then went into my pitch. That started an email conversation which ended up with him inviting me out to SV for a job interview working for DFJ (which I never took him up on). I have done this on other occasions as well. I remember pitching someone on something in college and walking up to their kids pictures and giving some compliment. Now if you remember how you were in college you’re not really tuned into kids (or at least I wasn’t). But I knew enough to know that they were important to the person I was pitching at the time. 

  43. davidhclark

    “Hell yes introduce yourself.” Yet another reason why Fred is my favorite VC. 

  44. legendarymoves

    I got part of my inspiration for my own blog which I started about a month ago.  The blog has to deal with business, startups, and what it takes to be a legend.  The site is .

  45. Dudu Mimran

    Do you hang out in bars at Tel Aviv:)

  46. leigh

    lol i barely felt comfortable meeting you at the AVC event.  @wmoug:disqus  made me 🙂

    1. William Mougayar

      True. I had to push you…it was short and sweet, though. 

      1. leigh

        hey he had someone showing him the world’s coolest 100K watch – no competition 😉

  47. Luke Chamberlin

    Now all that’s left is to figure out the correct number of drinks to imbibe beforehand. I’ve narrowed it down to more than one, but fewer than ten. Could probably use further narrowing.

  48. Dave W Baldwin

    Interesting comments.1)  For the “VC’s need to pitch Entrepreneurs”-  This post is dealing with the bar/social gathering.  If Fred doesn’t know who you are while you know who he is, what have you accomplished if you just sit there and wait for him to come over?2)  Being fair to both Fred and GG, it seems that the invite to step up and say hello with proper constraint has been okay’d.  Then you could probably use his e-mail address and/or this forum to take it a step further.Just remember we are all people.

  49. Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg

    If you have to ask for permission to talk to *anyone* you are probably not entrepreneur material. Anything short of stalking (I don’t consider trailing people and/or showing up uninvited to an event/conversation to be stalking) is expected of you if you are pitching your business (or at least if you want to beat people like me, who were born without the “shame” sections of their brain). As a totally tangential aside, this reminds me of an episode from my days working at the New School/Parsons. I doubt most people realize it, but the first season of Project Runway (filmed mostly at Parson’s Fashion School, where I was the IT dude) was filmed in secret and was hidden from school admins until its thanksgiving premier (wikipedia says it was on Dec 1st, but my memory was that the Provost found out at Thanksgiving). The admins of the school were trying to play hardball with show’s producers, and the show was going to be moved to FIT, so Tim Gunn (who was the Chair of the Fashion Program at the time) decided to just go ahead and let them film it at the school without the official blessing of the school’s admins. When I first realized what was going on I met with Tim (who was not my boss, as I worked for admin not academics), and he asked me if I could not tell my boss (I would still give an arm and a leg to Tim if he asked, so obviously my answer was “I won’t say a thing”), and he offered to take the blame if/when the admins (my bosses) caught wind of the 4-week production (they didn’t). He also gave me advice that I have tried to live by ever since: *It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission*. I know it’s not a new saying, but after watching that show explode in popularity, and seeing all of the positive effects it had on the school (as well as, obviously, Tim), it has become a mantra that tell myself every time I wonder “is it okay for me to do what I want, if it will help me push the things I care about forward”. 

    1. David Petersen

      I disagree with this premise.  You can be shy and be entrepreneur material.  Probably not the best quality, but it’s not a deal killer.

      1. leigh

        partner with someone who likes the networking thing.  that’s what i did 🙂

      2. Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg

        Fair enough, though I think every startup needs one person who lacks shame and can ask anyone for anything that the business needs to survive and thrive. I’d say that shy entrepreneurs are appropriate as tech/behind the scenes founders, but a shy CEO / Business Lead seems like a recipe for a failed company.

    2. LE

      “ask for permission to talk to *anyone* you are probably not entrepreneur material””[Tim Gunn] decided to just go ahead and let them film it at the school without the official blessing of the school’s admins”An excellent story. Business and entrepreneurship is about taking chances and risks (things that would never fly with your lawyer). And this is  a good illustration of that. And knowing the “stick” or the punishment in case the stuff hits the fan is something to always factor into the decision process. If you ask in advance you will almost always get turned down.  Edit: I see you are located in Old City. I know that place *very well*.

    3. ShanaC

      Tim sounds like the most amazing guy.  And I used to love that show…

  50. Peter Mullen

    I’ve done this many times and each time received a warm response from the otherwise blindsided recipient.  Thanks Fred!

  51. Patrick Donohue

    Never miss an opportunity to shake a hand and say hello! It has opened tremendous opportunities for me. The key is to make it brief and polite. It is my experience that they will notice that you are being respectful of their time and space by indicating you ready to leave after a handshake and quick hello – and many times they will ask you a question and allow you to chat some more. It demonstrates respect (and you earn points) by being quick and acknowledging that you can follow-up at a more convenient time.~Patrick E. Donohue, CFA / founder / DealPen

  52. vruz

    Some people are just rude. It would be easier for them if you explained this in terms of a taxi.ON DUTY –  OFF DUTY.But people don’t wear a sign, it’s not that hard to understand.

  53. Luke Hristou

    This is such an interesting take and something that is hugely beneficial to understand.There will always be another time to connect or always another way, if you’re politely persistent, something I don’t think anybody minds. To me, it almost seems lazy to pitch somebodies ear off if you are meeting them for the first time in an inappropriate setting. Like Gary Vaynerchuk says – its the trying to close like an 18 year old approach. 

  54. samfjacobs

    You’re a cool dude, Fred.  Very fair rules.

  55. Sean

    HI Fred, I’ve been visiting your site for some time now but it’s my first time posting here. I emailed you before about possibly meeting up with you in NYC or having you speak at my law school. We’re located just 2 blocks from U Square. I would really appreciate it if you can get back to me. Thank you! 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      i must have missed your email. sometimes its a good idea to email a second time if i don’t reply. i can’t get to all my email

      1. Sean

        Hi Fred, thanks for the response. I’ve actually emailed you twice as a follow-up and I didn’t want to annoy you (and I know that you must get tons of email) so I stopped after that. Is your email [email protected]

        1. fredwilson


  56. Jon Atrides

    Thanks Fred, great advice.I have a question: time and time again i read the tip that enterpreneurs should not be so paranoid about telling people about their idea. I understand the concept, what you get back by revealing is worth more than what you gain by not. Yet, what you also read a lot is that a start up should scope its competitors – which means competitors will be scoping you as well. How do you strike a balance? And how real is the risk of idea theft?I thought Fred’s post on foursquare a while back was a great tip: always think miles ahead. But surely, a business is not always in the position of being so far ahead of its known and unknown competitors.

    1. fredwilson

      execution is the best way to protect an idea



  57. Nathan Hangen

    This is good advice, but I’m curious – how do you do more than just introduce yourself. That is, how can I be memorable enough that my email won’t get ignored when I do follow up?

  58. Josh

    Needless to say everybody needs to mind social etiquette – of course! But barring that – people are working ALL the time esp. in a city like NY. A bar might not be the best place to pitch anyways but connecting and a little more is surely game.This “celebrification” of VCs must stop! It’s the talent (the entrepreneur) that is the ‘celebrity’ here – if somebody has to absolutely be one! The VC is sitting on cash – a commodity at best. However the VC’s knowledge and character could make the commodity into a brand that people can trust. Here’s his/her chance to prove both (as FW mostly has)! 1% rule: “Money drafts the contract”99% rule “Capital chases Talent”

  59. Kevin Pillow

    I completely agree, I’m the up and comer trying to find a place in the entrepreneur/venture capital world.Its my job to find a way to be seen.