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Our Startup Handbook (versionone.vc)
278 points by yarapavan on Nov 26, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

> It’s better to use LinkedIn as a source for candidates, but when possible, send a short and personal email to initiate contact. You can save time by using a service like Upwork to send emails to candidates on your behalf, but make sure that all emails read as though they come from you personally.

Please, please, do not do things like this.

The rest of the advice in the doc seems okay, but it really only scratches the surface of what's involved in starting a company. One thing that seems notably absent is the difficulty of the ups and downs in a startup, and the challenge of getting through the dark times.

To add to this I would like to say that if you do reach out to candidates be cognizant of the fact that you interrupted their life with this solicitation so be sure you provide all relevant information about the job, position, duties and details about your startup in the email so the candidate can make a decision if they are interested or not from your email.

If they have to go out and spend 30 minutes to an hour to google stuff about you then it's probably not going to happen.

Lastly if they don't respond to a LinkedIn message or email within a week just move on and don't keep sending follow up emails. There is a reason the candidates didn't respond because they don't want to and shouldn't have to spend even 5 minutes responding to your unsolicited email


This is by far the most important aspect to me with getting a message. I've only been sent around 2-4 messages with this much detail. These are the ones I actually reply to, even if I'm not interested at the moment. It's usually somebody who I'd at least want to stay in touch with. And often, if they've written something like that, it's usually something I'm somewhat interested in.

Maybe the cost versus the returns on these kind of messages aren't worth it to companies. But I really appreciate them.

It's one of those things that are nice at first, but everyone uses "personal emails" as part of some kind of funnel, and so it gets binned fast.

I find these recommendations useful, and more importantly, I think it shows how the authors of the guide (who are partners at V1) think about building scalable startups. I wish all funds were this transparent!

Anyone considering taking investments from V1 should read this guide because it shows that:

1. They will point founders to the best external advice the team has come across (including most of the solid references pointed out by ignoramous below). This means they won't come up with a bunch of BS that is not best practice.

2. That the V1 team cares about its founders! If you see the section "Invest in yourself", it's clear that they care about YOU as a founder! I love this human approach - that's NOT the case for every investor out there!

Disclaimer: Version One Ventures is 1 of 33 investors on our captable - and they stand (very positively) out!

So there's gotta be a million of these. What's the best one for pre seed to post seed, startup school and paul graham?

Startupschool lectures are really what you're looking for [0]. Paul Graham's essays are worth the time too [1]: He's written many classics in a well structured persuasive style. Sam Altman's Startup Playbook [2] is super nice as is Marc Andreseen's Startup Guide [3]. Some VCs like A16Z [4] and FirstRound Capital [5] post great content. Stripe [6], Indiehackers [7], and Patrick McKenzie [8] are other sources that are quite not as focused on startups but worth a look nonetheless.

Twitter is a gold mine where you'd find relevant content, but you'd have to literally mine it out.

I'd say though you could drain yourself going through all of this, but the fact remains that every company is different and what works for someone might not work for you. Also, there's lot of contradictory advice you need to sift through, a lot of obvious advice you need to internalize, a lot of advice you should simply ignore, and a lot of counter-intuitive advice you need to accept [9].


[0] https://startupschool.org/library

[1] http://paulgraham.com/articles.html

[2] https://playbook.samaltman.com/

[3] https://pmarchive.com/guide_to_startups_part1.html

[4] https://a16z.com/content/

[5] https://firstround.com/review/

[6] https://stripe.com/en-us/atlas/guides

[7] https://www.indiehackers.com/learn

[8] https://www.kalzumeus.com/greatest-hits/

[9] https://blog.ycombinator.com/advice-for-first-time-founders/

> Twitter is a gold mine where you'd find relevant content, but you'd have to literally mine it out.

This is true and by comparison, Facebook isn't. It's a barren wasteland.

Interview homework & backchannel reference checks. Sounds like a complete nightmare.

1. Click on PDF.

2. Cmd-F

3. Enter profit, hit return.

4. Zero results.

5. Close PDF.

Handbook on how to build an army, that is going to be slaughtered 99% of the time.

I feel like a handbook for startups shouldn't start with a guide on how to hire.

As we mention in the intro to the guide, we don't address product-market-fit questions in the handbook (or other things you need to figure out in the earliest stages of your company creation) - we are really focused on the time between seed and Series B and hiring is a key aspect of that phase.

Heads up: your ePub version still embeds a title "A Guide to Marketplaces" (can be seen in Apple Books app) and the ePub content is pre-formatted and does not reflow on small screens.

Thanks for the heads up - working on renaming + formatting the ePub. Please check out the pdf version in the meantime: http://versionone.vc/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Version-One-...


Also from Opera and Google Chrome Mobile I can't download the pdf version... I just get a corrupted file.bin from the Dropbox :/

Thank you!

Just fixed the PDF so should work now -fingers crossed- http://versionone.vc/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Version-One-...

thanks for pointing out - will fix it asap!

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