“Hacking the VC business one web service at a time.”

Fred Wilson

It’s interesting how investors are turning into media properties and using those properties to promote startups.

1000+ people subscribed to our daily email newsletter when Fred Wilson wrote about it recently. That’s not 1000 visitors — that’s 1000 new people who have given us permission to invade their inbox every day. Fred also sent us a stack of new Twitter followers:

Venture Hacks also sends a good amount of traffic (and signups) when we write about a startup. Here’s a screenshot of [Startup Digest]‘s traffic from a post on TechCrunch vs. a post on Venture Hacks:

How not to promote your investments

If you’re a VC, I don’t think you get much out of writing a single blog post announcing your investment. “Why I invested” posts won’t cut the mustard if they simply amount to “good team, good market, good traction.”

You might have to write about the company before you make an investment. You might have to piss some people off. And you will have to take risks with what you disclose. If you feel a little uncomfortable about the post, that’s probably a good sign. Look at Fred’s posts on Twitter, Disqus, and Foursquare for a model.

“There was certainly a few times during this transaction when I regretted how public we were with our interest in Foursquare.”

Fred Wilson

Every blog should have an aggregator

I think Y Combinator has the smartest approach to the “investor = media property” problem. I read YC’s Hacker News every day because it serves up one or two gems every day.

What’s in it for YC? Among other things, every YC startup with a significant post will be sure to get on the front page of Hacker News. And every single one of Paul Graham‘s posts will rise to the top.

If you’re a media property and you don’t run an aggregator, you’re simply ceding your audience’s attention to someone else’s aggregator.

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6 comments · Show

  • Greg

    I just hope no one takes your points and boils them down to “every VC should have a blog and an aggregator.” The average entrepreneur is pretty time-starved, and with great bloggers like Fred Wilson out there, competition for that attention is high. Personally, I love finding a great new VC or entrepreneur blog, but in the back of my head, I have to admit I’m always looking to unsubscribe from stuff that’s not a good use of my time. I don’t read Hacker News regularly because I can’t deal with filtering through 100 posts a day to find the stuff that I’m interested in. If everyone had an aggregator, most of them would duplicate the same links and would go unread.

    Similarly, blogging isn’t the best use of every VC’s time. Not everyone has the passion for it and writing that a Fred Smith has, and it’s not as relevant to everyone’s investment focus as it is to his. So for a lot of people, networking or whatever else it is VCs do (I kid!) is probably a better time investment. Like you mentioned, there’s no point in going through the motions unless you can really stand out.

    • AndreaF

      Just use Netvibes and customize your view; you can add feeds gradually and see if you read them; overtime you’ll end up removing the ones you don’t find useful and adding the new ones you come across.

      I have set up 3 separate views, one for general business/tech news, one for travel which is my sector and one for Italy (for when I miss home) and that is how I keep track of everything I need.

      My main business/tech view has changed a lot over the last few months, with new feeds always being added and useless ones removed.
      Easy and very valuable.

  • Travis

    You had me on this post until the last sentence telling every VC to be an aggregator. That’s some pretty lame advice right there.

  • Tony Karrer

    I’m not sure that every VC should have a blog. Or that every blog should have an aggregator. But…

    If you want to establish good relations with other bloggers in a given space, want to amplify your blogging, and want to put yourself in the center, then creating a topic hub (aggregator) makes a lot of sense.

    I talked about this in a recent post:

    http://www.searchenginejournal.com/topic-hubs-how-to-effectively-build-relationships-with-bloggers/16209/

    As a regular reader, it was interesting to see you make this comment. Was there more to it?

  • Elaine Ellis

    We experienced a similar phenomenon but it was a “Brad Feld” bump. He posted to one of our blog posts, and sent a major bump in traffic and sales leads. Interesting how one of our own investors is such a valuable marketing tool as well.

  • Olga - IdeaMama Ad Network

    I am seconding on pissing people off :-)