Thursday, March 8, 2012

Boards, Investors: Don't Send Your Startups Email--Ever

Not one, not two, not even three but FOUR founders have asked me in the past two weeks what to do about the massive amount of email they get from their investors and boards.

It's the avian flu of startup life...slows you down, makes you feel bad, and somehow is spreading form one startup to the next ;)

This post is for board members, who are very smart and wise and can give great advice, of course, but who should be judicious in how and when they give it.

And if you have a board, it's for you to convey this edict to your board and investors:
don't send your startups email. Ever. 
Ok, not ever, but not so much. Please.

You want to help, you see what you think is a compelling article, so you send it. Sometimes without any context, and always without the salient point copied into the email.

And you just took 15 minutes of your valued startup employees' time. Now repeat that a few times a day, every day. 5 hours a week. 20 hours a month.

It's interruptive. It's distracting.

It's occasionally relevant but it is never, ever life-changing, ground-breaking, turn this thing upside down and strap a rocket on its back earth-shaking stuff that justifies the email.

I've never once received an email from an investor or board member with a link leading to a story or post that made me say "Oh shit, now we're screwed". Not once. Or "that's the answer! Hold the phones!" Nada.

We're already up on stuff. We read the latest. There are few credible publications we haven't skimmed or dug into. In fact, we do it too much, because we don't want to miss anything. We might be wandering in the desert now and then, but the email isn't going to help.

Whiteboard session on model? Sure. Absolutely--let's put in on the calendar because that's absolutely great help.

We have deadlines. Business models to validate. Prospects to talk to. Specs to write. Code dragons to slay. And your investment to make fruitful.

Leave us alone for a bit. If you absolutely must send something, cut and paste the one  or two paragraphs that you think are so groundbreaking and write an intro that gives context.

Your investment's time is crucial. And time's a wastin, even reading this post, though it might be the most valuable link you can send--to other board members and investors.



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