Interning in Venture Capital (2/2)

This past June, I interned for three months at OpenOcean in London, a European venture capital firm focused on software companies raising their Series A.

Alex Obadia
Jun 3, 2018 · 12 min read
How excited you should be right now (Dwight and Michael from TV series The Office)

Daily Life (Pt. 2)

  • Entrepreneur First’s #8 Demo Day (an investor-only event where EF’s 8th cohort pitched their companies for seed funding, see videos here)
  • VEECEE London #2 (a social event that gathers young VCs)
  • London Machine Learning Meetup (‘Drug Discovery and Safe Reinforcement Learning’ with A. Saffari of BenevolentAI and T. Krause of ETH Zurich, slides of Amir’s talk here)
  • Firestartr’s Debate on Crypto-Economics (Panel composed of major actors and/or thinkers of the space debating whether ‘Cryptoeconomics is the paramount concept of the century’, recorded debate here)
Firestartr’s Debate on Crypto-Economics with 8 panelists including Jon Matonis (Co-Founder of the Bitcoin Foundation), Vinay Gupta (Founder of Mattereum), Jack du Rose (Founder of Colony.io), Jeremy Millar (Chief of Staff at ConsenSys), and a closing keynote from Professor Michael Mainelli (Co-Founder of Z/Yen Think Tank).

Takeaways from the internship

  • Follow the right people on Twitter and Medium. Don’t try to build your high-quality follow base from scratch and instead start with a few people you know for a fact are good, look at who they follow and then follow these people too. Chances are the people you look up to look up to others themselves. Before you know it you’ll have tailored a newsfeed of live continuous high-quality content.
  • Subscribe to newsletters and develop a habit of reading them. Tech newsletters are content aggregators and will do the bulk of the work for you by sifting through the most interesting and important pieces to read. A few quality newsletters are all you need to keep up with the tech world. I mention many of them in part 1.
  • Cut down on all the nonsense, focus on fact-based, consistent, fresh content. Anything less doesn’t deserve your attention. You should actively steer your attention away from nonsense by unfollowing, blocking and deleting whatever is a waste of time, be it an app, a person, a blog, a media outlet. Here’s Paul Graham’s essay (Life is Short) on the same subject.
  • Use a multi-platform bookmark tool like Google Keep to save articles for later. Whenever you have some free time, instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, open Google Keep and read that article you saved for later. A lot of information is missed not because you can’t find it but because you forget about reading it.

📈 About investing 📉

  • ‘If you keep checking how your investment is doing all the time, then your sizing is too big and your due diligence unsuccessful’Ani on crypto investments
  • ‘As a seed investor, you can’t really get lost in all the possible scenarios the investment could go wrong but instead, have to think “what if all the stars aligned”’ — Ani

🔮 About VC 🔮

  • ‘ As a newcomer in the VC world, find a vertical you like and specialize in it early instead of choosing the generalist path. That way you will craft a reputation much faster and be the go-to guy for that particular vertical. ’ Harry to Max
  • ‘ We make our money on the deals that worked, make our reputation on the deals that don’t ’ — Someone quoting Marc Andreessen

🌎 Other topics 🌍

  • (In a brainstorming session) ‘No objections, only suggestions’ — Richard
  • From my experience, hiring is one of the areas where you should make as less compromise as possible and hire exactly who you’re looking for because if you don’t, it’ll come back to haunt you later on one way or another.’ — Richard (led several successful enterprise software businesses, hired hundreds of people)
Exhibit C

My advice for people who want to break into AI: don’t be too worried if everybody else says what you think is nonsense. Especially if you think it’s a really good idea, and others say its complete nonsense, then you know you’re onto something. — Geoffrey Hinton’s interview in Heroes of Deep Learning

Instead of accepting the truths given to him, Hinton thought for himself. He saw the world as malleable as opposed to the many who see it as a static unchangeable one, reflected on what could be changed and then acted on his beliefs. This is key to dealing with uncertainty; develop your own process to navigate through it, but also thrive in it by letting yourself theorize and reflecting on what your personal take is on an issue.


What’s next for me?

I’ll be heading to San Francisco in April to visit Rahul and experience Stanford and Silicon Valley. I am still on the decentralisation rollercoaster and am hodling tight to my seat. In six months, I’ll be graduating from my Mathematics bachelor’s degree at Warwick University. I’m not sure what’s next but I know I have growing interests for decentralization, artificial intelligence and quantum computers. My future is filled with uncertainty but I’m not too worried, OpenOcean taught me how to deal with it 😉

More Michael Scott from TV series The Office

Alex Obadia

This is my personal publication where I write about decentralized networks, music and other topics that interest me. Any constructive feedback is greatly appreciated :)

Alex Obadia

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Twitter @ObadiaAlex

Alex Obadia

This is my personal publication where I write about decentralized networks, music and other topics that interest me. Any constructive feedback is greatly appreciated :)