Summary Posts

Check out our new archives. They look like this:

We’ve gone through every single one of our 142 posts and (1) renamed some, so they summarize their contents more effectively and (2) filed all of them in the appropriate categories. Most of the posts are filed in more than one category.

If you’re just getting started, check out our posts on starting up, lawyers, and pitching. If you’re negotiating a term sheet, you might like our posts on auctions, boards of directors, and vesting. If you’re busy executing, check out our posts on lean and advisors.

The archives contain 75 categories in alphabetical order and, within each category, posts are in chronological order.

The old archives will stay online, but they’ve been out-of-date for quite a while and are now deprecated.

So, how can we make our archives more useful to you?

We’ve updated the presentation in Our top 10 term sheet hacks. The new presentation includes the notes that accompany each slide.

I’ve also included the new presentation below. Watch it in full screen mode for maximum pleasure. The full screen button is at the bottom right of the embed and it looks like this: .

(Slides: Top 10 Term Sheet Hacks (pdf))

Venture Hacker Naval Ravikant recently presented our top 10 term sheet hacks at Startup2Startup:

(Slides: Top 10 Term Sheet Hacks (pdf))

Naval’s slides are a must-read—and a great summary of our detailed hacks.

Slideshare has a transcript of the slides on a single page if you don’t want to flip through the presentation (scroll to the bottom of the page). Mike Speiser has put up his notes from the presentation. And finally, here’s a video of Naval describing his investment criteria:

(Video: Interview with Naval Ravikant.)

Happy New Year and here’s to an effective 2008.

Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things.

Here are the three most effective hacks of 2007. We maintain a Cheat Sheet of all the hacks, but try to apply these three if you don’t have time to apply them all.

Create a market for your shares

You need strong alternatives to hack a term sheet. Create alternatives with focus: pitch and negotiate with all your prospective investors at once. Focus compounds scarcity and social proof, which closes deals. Focus also yields a quick yes or no from investors—either way, you will soon get back to building your business.

Related: You can’t clear the market in series.

Create a board that reflects the ownership of the company

Create a board of directors that reflects the ownership of the company and don’t let your investors control the board through an independent board seat.

The composition of the board of directors is the most important element of the Series A investment. It is more important than the valuation of your company.

The valuation of your company won’t matter to you if the board (1) terminates you and you lose your unvested stock, (2) forces the company to raise a low-valuation Series B from existing investors by rejecting offers until the company is almost out of cash, (3) merges the company with another private company and wipes out your common stock in the process.

Related: Make a new board seat for a new CEO.

The Option Pool Shuffle

Don’t let your investors determine the size of the option pool for you. Use a hiring plan to justify a small option pool, increase your share price, and increase your effective valuation.

Advanced students—here are the next three most effective hacks:

  1. Focus on your share price, not your valuation
  2. Accelerate your vesting upon termination
  3. Unbundle money and value-add

See the Cheat Sheet for all the hacks.