Advice on cold emails

I think I’ve written a great cold email pitch. I based it on some blog posts about cold emails. Here are a few of the links I used to develop a strategy:

  1. Steve Blank (famed professor) on getting meetings
  2. Michael Seibel (investor) on cold emails to investors
  3. Hacker News comments on Seibel’s advice (interesting tidbits throughout)
  4. Claire Fauquier (investor) on cold emails to everyone
  5. Ty Ahmad-Taylor (CEO, THX) on the process of introductions

A couple notes:

1. Some of these posts conflict. Some people say don’t ask for anything, some say to be explicit. My advice — pick the one that makes sense to you. If the person you email doesn’t like your choice, you probably wouldn’t get along for long anyway.

The bottom line is that the content is what matters.

Everything is forgiven or ignored when the opportunity rings true. And, if it doesn’t? They’ll blame your email because that’s easier than telling you the truth.

2. Steve Blank has what may be the most useful comment. Offer the recipient something in return for speaking with you. He’s right — this is a better way to stand out and be interesting than begging for someone’s time, money, and attention.

It’s also a really useful exercise. You’ve got to sit down and crystalize all your knowledge into a single teaser sentence that may catch someone’s attention. Blank points out that this is a really useful thing to do. It’s awful at first, then you get an idea, and it’s great.

It’s also a privilege.

Few jobs offer people the opportunity to understand something. You learn this awfully fast when you say to the boss, I don’t understand, and the boss says, I don’t care, get it done. This happens a lot. If it doesn’t happen to you, ask your friends about it.

Being captain of the ship, no matter how briefly, is a powerful reminder that having time to think and synthesize knowledge is a great privilege. (This is one of the true privileges of being a practicing lawyer; I’ve really grown to appreciate it over time.)

So, what’s my cold-email pitch?

Well, I’ve got to keep some things close to the chest. But, the gist is that I’m going to offer to explain why the Internet video business hasn’t changed meaningfully in ten years.

Sounds interesting, no? I think so — and that’s the best I can offer. Ciao.


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