Administrivia Posts

We’re recruiting a product designer for AngelList. Here’s how we’re doing it and what we’re learning. (If you’re interested in working with us, details are at the bottom of this post.)

I didn’t start by putting up a job post. I figured if everybody else is doing it, I need to take a different approach. So I called the smartest designers and entrepreneurs I knew and asked them for advice. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • We want a product designer. This job post from Quora defines a product designer as “Extraordinary product, interaction, and visual design talent [with] a curiosity and passion for crafting amazing experiences.” Product design encompasses visual design, interaction design, branding… it’s the whole user experience.
  • A small team like ours should hire designers who can build what they design. At a minimum, that means building HTML, CSS, perhaps JS, perhaps beyond. See these posts by Jason Putorti and Rebekah Cox for more info. Also read Rebekah’s Early Quora Design Notes.
  • Quora has the best job postings I’ve seen in a long time — they’re muscular and much better than all the quirky job postings in the world.
  • Consultants are good if you want to build the product. Full-time people are good if you want to build the team. We want to build the team.

The opportunity for product designers

AngelList is a community of angel investors who make it fast and easy for worthy startups to raise money. These links tell the story better than we ever could:

What do people think of AngelList?
AngelList Twitter Favorites
Fred Wilson covers AngelList

In short, the 250+ angels on AngelList are bringing startup funding online — in fact, they’ve already funded about 40 startups (here’s a few of them). This is a very high-impact and difficult problem… and a giant opportunity to help the industry that funds the startups we know and love: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, you name it.

What’s in it for you? Investors throughout Silicon Valley and the world will use your product daily. You get to lead the product and company by turning vision into product, with no managers in your way. Your title will be the same as everyone else on the team: Venture Hacker. You’ll work with a founding team of investors (Twitter), founders (Epinions), students (life), and advisors (billions served). And you get to push the envelope of what is possible with product design on the Web.

We’re committed to building a high-impact and long-lasting team. If you’re a product designer who’s irrationally interested in this problem and wants to work with us full-time in San Francisco, send us a few links (we don’t need/want anything else), and please let us know if you have any questions.

We’re spending the next few months officing at Kicklabs at 250 Brannan ( and the new SOMAcentral building at 153 Townsend (

These spaces are good for startups, service providers, lawyers, VCs, and folks in the south bay who want an auxiliary office space in the city. Leases are short, rent is affordable, and they’re perfect for small teams under 5 people.

Kicklabs (top) is a big fun open space. SOMAcentral (bottom) is the opposite: private offices with doors that close and great views. We’re using both. If you’re looking for office space in San Francisco with Zipcar-like simplicity, check them out and tell them we sent you.

Please add your office space suggestions in the comments — keep them restricted to places with leases under 6 months that are good for small teams (~ 5 people).

At the end of the day, the reason to get an office is simple. It is so you can bring people into your office and say, this is where I office.

We now have a Facebook fan page for Venture Hacks. It’s a feed of our blog posts and tweets.

I was surprised to see how many people get their news on Facebook. The fan page already has 677 fans. Check it out.

Here’s how we put it together.

How to get fans

I mentioned the page on Twitter a few times — that’s the first few bumps of fans on the left and middle of this graph.

Then I added a fan page widget to the sidebar on That’s the steady slope on the right side of the graph — about 12 new fans a day. Otherwise, I haven’t sent any messages to my Facebook friends asking them to “fan” the page — I think that’s spam.

How to set up your fan page

I looked at a lot of solutions for powering the fan page and this is what I came up with for my needs:

  • HootSuite to publish tweets to Twitter and our fan page at the same time. It also lets me schedule tweets.
  • NetworkedBlogs to publish our blog posts to the fan page.
  • Involver to power the Twitter tab at the top of the fan page.

I also use to publish our tweets to my personal Facebook profile. I wish worked on fan pages because it adds pictures to the tweets and changes @names into real names.

(If you’re a complete psychopath, you might like the specs for My Ultimate Twitter Client, which also includes the instructions for my Twitter/Facebook workflow.)

Should I get a fan page?

I recommend a fan page if you’re serious about blogging and tweeting. Facebook already accounts for 5% of the clicks on my links:

The top two sources are Twitter of course.

Twitter is my continuous deployment tool

Finally, I like to say that Twitter is my continuous deployment tool. If I build something, I release it that day on Twitter. That’s what I did with our fan page. Even though it took me a few more months to improve it and get around to blogging about it.

I really wanted to be a cool cat and make a list of the most popular outgoing links for 2009 —a top 10 list of other people’s posts. But it wasn’t meant to be — we don’t have the Javascript installed to track those clicks.

And so, we present our 10 most popular posts of 2009:

  1. How IMVU learned its way to $10M a year. A talk by Eric Ries.
  2. What is the minimum viable product? An interview with Eric Ries.
  3. The Startup MBA. Links to the best startup blogs.
  4. My visit to American Apparel. How American Apparel gets lean.
  5. How to pick a co-founder. Also see the accompanying interview.
  6. Sell it before you build it. Fliggo’s minimum viable product in action.
  7. We don’t pay you to work here. A review of the book Hidden Value — you can find it in our bookstore.
  8. Customer Development: How to develop your customers like you develop your product. Videos and slides from Steve Blank, king of customer development.
  9. It’s very easy to underprice your product. A short talk by Steve Blank.
  10. How to bring a product to market. A very rare interview with Sean Ellis.

Use this list to catch up on great posts you missed.

When we started Venture Hacks in 2007, we were all about hacking term sheets. In 2008, we continued to write about raising money and expanded to general startup advice — for example, see our posts on job offers. Looking at the top 10 list above, 2009 was clearly the year of customer development. It was also the year of monetization, as we created more free and paid products — here’s a list of them.

What’s coming in 2010? Wait and see…

Slowly, slowly, we’ve been making improvements to the Venture Hacks website:

1. Popular Posts

They said this widget would make us famous. They lied. And still, we’ve added our most popular posts to the sidebar:

This is a great place to start looking through our archives — especially if you’re new to the site. It’s like high school for blog posts.

2. About Us

We’ve added a whole damn page about us:

Finally, you can meet the guys who write this baloney.

3. Supporter Posts

This baby displays the latest post from our current supporter:

Fred Destin‘s the name. VC’s the game.

4. Product Page

The coup de grâce: all of our products in one convenient product page:

This is easily the most fabulous place to peruse our free and paid products.

How can we make our site better for you?

According to FeedBurner, 7.5% of our readers subscribe to Venture Hacks via email. If you too would like to use this email “technology” to get our posts in your “inbox”, subscribe here:


If you don’t see the form above, click here to subscribe.

We promise to abuse your email address, sell it to the highest bidder, and send you viruses. Sign up now!

You probably know that we love our commenters—we want to make babies with them.

From now on, we’re sending a bona fide Venture Hacks mug to the registered user with the best comment of the week. We don’t care if this bankrupts us. This one-of-a-kind collector’s item is emblazoned with the Venture Hacks motto on the front:

Valuation is temporary, control is forever. mug

And the subtle new Venture Hacks logo is on the back:


(Yes, we stole it from Van Halen.)