Yesterday I did office hours for the second time. We started doing office hours in the fall of last year and try to do them once a quarter. Brad, Albert, Christina, and I all do them. Christina does office hours way more often than the rest of us. But we all do them.
We were inspired by Josh Kopelman and Brad Feld who have been doing their equivalent of office hours for some time now.
Here's how we do them. We use Nate Westheimer's Ohours platform. Here is USV's Ohours page. And we broadcast office hours openings on the USV Twitter feed. Signup is on a first come first serve basis.
I block out a three hour period and take meetings in 15 minute blocks. So I did twelve short meetings yesterday. About half of them were in person and about half were on skype video.
Because there is absolutely no screening and signup is drop dead simple, the lineup is completely random. And that is what I like most about office hours. I doubt any of the people I met yesterday would have gotten a meeting with me any other way.
The two most common uses of the fifteen minutes was a funding pitch (I got three of them) and advice on which of two or more ideas the entrepreneur should focus on (I got four of these). But I also got people looking to get an intro to a potential customer, people looking for advice on scaling an organization, and people looking for me to promote what they are doing to others.
Earlier yesterday morning I had breafast with a young VC. He talked about finding "outliers" and how important that is in our business. He is so right and although I've yet to meet an entrepreneur I immediately wanted to back during office hours, I am equally sure that it will happen and it will be a person we would not have met through our usual process.