How to Get 900+ (Homogeneous) LinkedIn Profile Views in One Day

I’m an avid reader of Dan Primack’s Term Sheet daily newsletter. The format and content are spot-on and efficient, and I enjoy Dan’s voice and writing style. Dan’s a celebrity of sorts within VC/PE circles and has done a great job of building a sense of community around his newsletter, social feed, and live events.

A few weeks ago, Dan announced a March Madness pool for his TermSheet faithful. The grand prize: the opportunity to write Term Sheet for a day. Despite hardly following college basketball this year, I took five minutes and filled out the bracket without hesitation. After all, what better prize could there be for someone like me who is trying to break into VC?

Fast forward to this Monday morning, the day after the Elite Eight games had decided who was going to the Final Four. When I opened my inbox, I was greeted by the following email from a VC I know:

“Nice job on your march madness bracket. Read you were in lead on term sheet. Nicely done!”

What?!?!

I quickly opened Term Sheet and saw the following at the end of the top section:

Wow. The following went through my mind:

  1. Why must ESPN.com’s bracket builder use sans-serif fonts? My last name “i-obst” often looks like “L-obst”, especially with a sans-serif font.
  2. I’ve never wanted Kentucky and Duke, then Duke again, to win more in my life.
  3. I wonder how much traffic this will drive to my LinkedIn profile?

As it turns out, 930 different people, mostly from the PE/VC industry, viewed my profile on Monday.

This was significantly more than an average month let alone an average day. Great exposure for me. And I was grateful:


That night, I logged back in to take a look at those who’d viewed my profile, and I noticed an overwhelming, yet not surprising trend: they were predominantly white males. In fact, almost 90% of those who had full information were white males. For anyone who knows the venture industry well, or has been following the Pao trial over the last few weeks, this isn’t surprising. But it is a stark reminder to me that the industry is far from diverse.

It also reminded me of something Gordon Ritter said at an event for Kauffman Fellows that I attended in January at Draper University of Heroes:

“When you’re at an event, at a meeting, meeting with entrepreneurs, run to those who are different from you.”
Draper University of Heroes

I wrote this quote in huge block letters in my notebook. It’s something that has changed what I read, what events I attend, and who I approach for conversations. I was reminded of this quote again on Monday when I did the math on the profile views.

Diversity issues in the VC industry have been well documented (see here, here and here, to start). Less documented are the successes coming from VCs and Angels with more diverse backgrounds. For example, today the New York Times featured an article about female-run VC firms. At the same event where Gordon spoke, I had the opportunity to meet and learn from a wide array of VCs and aspiring VCs, including:

There are growing pockets of diversity within VC, but an industry dedicated to innovation and disruption needs more. Who’s going to identify, fund, and build the next big thing — someone who thinks, acts, and looks just like everyone else or someone who is different? I’m betting on the latter and running towards them.