My Lightspeed partner Jeremy Liew recently wrote If you know what you want to be in the future, start being it now. He suggests that:
The best training for doing any job is doing that job. Not doing a related job. Doing the job itself.
As a former CTO, it was obvious to me how to get better at writing software and building products… but his post mentioned becoming a VC, where the barriers seem entirely different. So I asked Jeremy a very tactical question.
What could someone do right now to get you to hire them on the investment team?
They would find interesting companies, research why each would be a good investment, and pitch them to me. But sadly that doesn’t scale.
So I had an idea: “DealMemo”
The most important part of being a VC is finding incredible founders building non-obvious solutions to problems that will be massive someday. You need to form thoughtful opinions about what the future will look like and why this team is capable of achieving it.
There’s no reason why you can’t start honing this skill today. Even better if you can show others a track record of consistently picking the right ideas and right teams at the right times.
How? What if you wrote a Medium post every time you found a company you would add to your imaginary portfolio which outlined the team, the idea, the market, their traction, and why they are positioned to win. Tag each post with “DealMemo” so others can find them. Through this, you build a timestamped public track record.
Need some inspiration? One of the most famous versions of this is Roelof Botha’s 2005 YouTube memo at Sequoia. It’s long and detailed, but worth reading. Many VCs also publish “Why I invested in X” posts which are extracts from internal deal memos that look more like the Youtube one above. Some examples: Takipi, Operator, Clover Health, DroneBase. There are dozens more.
If enough folks do it, I bet VCs will start reading “DealMemo” Medium posts and will use them as input when they’re hiring next. If you’re thoughtful and happen to be right a few times, expect to get at least one phone call.
Update: Never disclose non-public info publicly. I assumed that was obvious. Also, Listing 4 companies in a tweet with #FantasyPortfolio isn’t my point. You should write the actual memo or you get no credit for the idea :)