Posts Tagged ‘communication’

News it!

November 23, 2009

Lately i am fascinated by words.

it is remarkable to me that we actually understand each other.

usually, when we talk, we understand each other quite well.

despite the fact that our brains and souls are very individual.

my appeal to you is let’s invent new words.

comments and suggestions are highly welcome. perhaps we can make some words really popular?

if i understand correctly, ‘quiz’ was invented in the University of Chicago in the 60s.

Wikipedia adds this note:

There is a well-known myth about the word “quiz”, which says that in 1791 a Dublin theater owner named James Daly made a bet that he could introduce a word into the language within twenty-four hours. He then went out and hired a group of street urchins to write the word “quiz”, which was a nonsense word, on walls around the city of Dublin. Within a day, the word was common currency and had acquired a meaning (since no one knew what it meant, everyone thought it was some sort of test) and Daly had some extra cash in his pocket. However, there is no evidence to support the story, and the term was already in use before the alleged bet in 1791.[1]

my new word for this post is:

‘News it’.

what does it mean? ‘

news it! – something you say to someone who just bought a new item. ‘תתחדש’ in hebrew

perhaps the salespeople at Banana Republic will great you on the way out with ‘News it’,  instead of ‘have a nice day’ or ‘thanks for shopping with us’


about masks לא כל יום פורים

November 20, 2009

from wikipedia

A mask is an article normally worn on the face, typically for protection, concealment, performance, or amusement.

This stone mask from the pre-ceramic neolithic period dates to 7000 BCE and is probably the oldest mask in the world (Musée de la bible et Terre Sainte )

i have written previously what not to do in a VC presentation

i would like now to flip the coin and tell you what to do.

to perform. to succeed, to get good money. so your idea can spring into life.

here is my first rule, or piece of advice

before your start your performance, your presentation with a VC, decide

are you putting on a mask, or taking off a mask?



Yes, we can

November 12, 2009

a great article by my friend jonny, regarding how we are communicating. “The Israeli Way”,U1258011085926&did=1000503129

if you do not like to lick on links

during a discussion, when you reply to a thought or claim, start the sentance with ‘כן’ as opposed to ‘לא’

For those who know him, he will forever be in our hearts

October 24, 2009

nokia 6310i Back from another lousy business trip

if you are a loyal reader, prepare for a lot of posts about business travel in the next 2 weeks

the sad news, if you have not heard, is that my vintage 2003, Nokia 6310i phone has died.


one sudden day. yesterday

earlier that day people were making fun of me, yet one more time, about my phone and how it does not match my image as an innovator. i commented that it is old and in its last days. little did i know, that we were in our last moments together.

here are some reasons why it was my friend, and a close one at that:

  • great battery life
  • reliable as a DC 3, ‘Dakota’ in our part of the world
  • always with me, business or pleasure

a few thoughts about the current predicament:

  • does anyone have a really simple application for synchronization or back up of the information on your cell phone? too late for me,  i guess
  • do i need to change now all the fixed cell phone car kits in all my cars? boy, they locked me in, didn’t they?
  • does anyone have a spare old 6310?

#7 Write=Listen

October 17, 2009

i was at an off-site with one of my companies last week

about 10 people in a room, 3 hour session.

except for 2 people, no-one was taking notes.

how much work do you think was accomplished?


many times after a 60 or 80 minutes session with a company ends, i have learned a lot;  got to understand the opportunity better. have a better idea if i want to move ahead with the deal. is the match between us good or poor.

what does not happen often, is that the presenting company takes notes.


  • the entrepreneurs were very focused on presenting
  • there were no pens in the room
  • i said nothing of value

all of the above are possible and perhaps even probable

yet, if you want to make a good impression, in addition to ‘connecting’, try to focus on

  • which of your ideas went well, and which ones did not. your presentation always could adapt
  • which of your assumptions about the market or business were validated, and which were challenged?
  • was the meeting tasks accomplished? questions answered?

if you or another member of the team takes notes, you will get more out of the meeting.



i was once with one of my companies, presenting to a top tier US VC partnership the opportunity, per request of the partner handling the deal.

since i am just a VC, i tried to be a fly on the wall.

there is a lot to be learned by how a different VC conducts a meeting

during a 90 minute meeting i said once sentence, a question, and took notes.

a couple of days later i called the deal partner for feedback, to see if they will be moving ahead with the deal and what are the key issues.

after debriefing and before ending the conversation he told me, ‘by the way, you made an excellent impression on my partners’


if i could listen better and talk less, a lot more people will like me

#3 send material in advance?

September 24, 2009

Let’s start with why not to send material in advance:

  • you lose the chance to create a thunder
  • the presentation does not explain itself
  • ‘i have not done it with my customers, why do it with VCs?’

these are all good reasons. and i am sure you can come up with more.

My recommendation is to send material in advance.


because you want the VC to be prepared.

learn if you want VC money (and it is a big if worth a separate entry) you are helping me, or another VC, through a process. i think you and i will get more out of a meeting if i am prepared.

now, i am not an expert in every market in which i see dealflow. in fact, by definition i do now know the space as well as you do. especially if you are a domain expert (which i think is an important quality for building a successful company, yet one which can be acquired).  think about this, for better or worse i have investments in Software for financial services, health care IT and water. Can i be an expert in all of these and many other spaces?

so you can help me prepare.( i try to prepare anyhow, often, not to a degree of which i am proud).

it does not have to be a PowerPoint presentation.

it does not have to be the PowerPoint presentation you will use.

but it could

  • help me prepare for an interesting discussion about how you are differentiated from competition (some of which i may not be familiar with)
  • have initial thoughts about why a big company in this space will emerge,
  • have something interesting about you and the team.

this can save time so that during our meeting we will trade thoughts, not just read a presentation together.

#2 no NDA

September 23, 2009

Here are reasons why VCs should sign NDAs:
(NDA – Non Disclosure Agreement)
  • it is common business practice
  • all an entrepreneur, especially in early stages has, is her idea. it needs to be protected
  • VCs can share data with competition – sometimes their own start-ups, or corporate development of big players in the space, ultimately hurting the entrepreneur
you can try to get a VC to sign an NDA. but VCs do not sign NDAs
so i am not sure it is a good start to a relationship.
( i have signed about 5 NDAs to date – and in general, it was a worthless procedure. lawyers made money. in one case the entrepreneurs who asked for an NDA actually stole the idea from another entrepreneur)
sheket confidential
professional VCs treat your idea with confidentiality. not all of the time, not everyone. but extremely often. and when discuss your idea with others, it is with the intent of analyzing the opportunity and in a manner that will not disclose your secret sauce.
but my point has two other flavors to it:
  • what counts is not just your idea, but your ability to execute upon it!
  • what can really be protected by NDA, is usually not interesting for a first meeting, and ultimately, not the reason why a VC will invest in you.
in the software space, you ability to connect with people, communicate your idea, hear their feedback and embed it into your product counts more, much more, than your original idea.

TED synapse

July 23, 2009

after a few days at TED, here are my key takeaways:

  • the power of music. No matter how much you love music, i still think it is an under-rated power. a creative medium, that bri ngs people together and is a great channel of communication with young people across cultures. if i hate them so much, how come i do not hate their music?
  • deterioriation of the environment. we are consuming more than we are providing. even if you are not a believer in climate change, you can still reduce your ‘carbon footprint’ and help reach balance in more ways than one
  • education is the solution. if there is one place to invest to improve the world, it is in education. especially for women in the developing nations. these women will help their kids get education as well. most problems, when reduced and distilled, come down to education.

more later

freedom of speech

November 10, 2008

in the United States

has an effect on human rights around the world. in europe ‘scope of right’

key takeaway:

  • difference between speech and action
  • democracy requires suspension of community norms. but requires it first. a ‘person’ requires socialized community norms. self governance precludes community. democracy has to understand the public sphere in which differences are worked out. marketplace as the origin of public sphere. (had to have standard weights and measures). newspapers are the first creation of a public sphere. public sphere, requires respect.
  • broadcast media and internet interfere with socialization by parents of kids.
  • mobility as a measure of democracy (and weakening of community)


what do we mean by speech. every contract is a form of communication, but that is regulated by contract law.

wittgenstein – all words are deeds.

  • cognitive – marketplace of ideas. greater access to truth. all ideas are equal. knowledge and progress. in science there is a distinction of quality.
  • ethical – persons are equal, ideas are not. autonomy. but often we do not let autonomy. we value autonomy when people are equal. that is not always the case. e.g. doctor patient. so autonomy is not a good predictor. a better predictor is when do we ascribe autonomy. that is in the formation of public opinion
  • political – needed for communicative processes essential for a democratic form of government. self government and the general will. formation or participation of public opinion. necessary but not sufficient. perpetual outvote of minority or lack or delay in response by the state.

the right to have rights. hannah arndet.

John Locke (1689) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762) are the most famous philosophers of contractarianism, which formed the theoretical groundwork of democracy. Although the theory of natural rights influenced the development of classical liberalism, its emphasis on individualism and its rejection of the necessity to subordinate individual liberty to the sovereign will stand in opposition to the general tenets of social contract theory.

bad tendency test. eugene debs vs united states. any sppech can have a tendency to cause harm. direct causual. clear nad present danger is a test. this line is moving. in the short-term governement has a tendancy to supress.

community or social norm – an inherit ‘law’ socialized into your personality. law enforces what you already are. chicago in 20th century is a public of many different communities.

‘heckler’s veto’ – your speech will make me riot


October 20, 2008

william vance media expert.

key takeaways:

i think… because… for example..

a pyramid structure for claim, reason, evidence. called ‘message houses’

how to avoid what you want to avoid and glossed over:

  • use abc. Answer, Bridge, Conclude. acknowledge shortly and bridge to messages
  • sometimes acknowledge not going to answer? No
  • have a tiered answer approach. use first tier, then next.

using melody with an accent:

  • highlight one idea per sentence. can be just a word
  • authority through controlled speed and short sentences
  • avoid up talking at end of sentences. local problem. seeks affirmation.
  • shift gears per audience. carli fiorina start hesitant and approachable in a book store, then gears up

on camera is different – you need different clothing.


team sharing its struggles and tips:


  1. how to keep it to short
  2. hands – what to do with them
  3. how to keep to key issues: media wants controversy. so forge objectivism. let the provocation begin.
  4. get nervous, especially TV especially foreign language. focus on what you know reflect confidence. speak slowly. acknowledge the anxiety? how to turn fear into a plus?
  5. what you want to say as an expert vs what you can say to keep loyal to employer. tension between personal and corporate views
  6. speed and rhythm. sometimes too fast.
  7. over prepare. too much written down.  a big discussion o ideas vs whole script
  8. do not like to look at the camera
  9. speed. take your time.  on contrary contain time management. report in 1 minute.
  10. getting to the point. better error on too quickly
  11. explaining technical information that can be understood by the general public
  12. framing you and your point of view. ‘reformer’. can connect with the man on the street. linguistic tricks

opposition prep

a friend takes your point of view, you oppose it. this is great practice. reversal of mind set. 3 times before interview.

press kit

good photo. it is a kind of art. not just a photographer, photshop artists as well. but costs money. worth it. $200 for a good photo, $10k for a kit

one friendly, one serious.

build a bank of lecturer topics

build a bank of feedback/appraisals

royce carlton inc.,


  1. keep it simple
  2. think of context. who comes before, after, how to dress. research on invterviewer
  3. nothing is off the record
  4. be yourself. do not adapt someone else’s style. others know less than you
  5. ask questions before. avoid surprises.
  6. record yourself. so if you are out of context, you have a proof.
  7. write bullet points (could be used as a soundbite), keep to them (to control quotes out of control).
  8. do not drink water. on camera, it can show shake (weakness) or need to go to the batheroom
  9. do not interrupt the interviewers. if asked a long question, answer with one of your messages. reframe. do not show emotions during long questions.
  10. on camera, keep answers to 30 seconds. good energy. learn to have an internal clock. claim then substance.