It took me a couple of hours to write the email. Definitely time well spent.
It always takes longer to write short emails, which is why so few people do it.
Practice makes perfect. Writing short, concise pieces of text that express your thoughts in an easily digestable is really hard, a challenge of its own (despite what you want to say) - it's like a form of "professional" art, that few master.
Also, on reviewing the email, there was some formatting which may have helped the readability and draw attention to the central question. There was a fair amount of whitespace between the paragraphs and the main question was center-aligned and in bold.
This seems weird when someone else says it...but I relate!
To a job well done!
Reading the email, it really felt as if it was from someone who already knew the OP well. If I'd read something like that about myself I would have question my first impression that this was a stranger -- surely we'd had coffee or something at some point? Met at a conference?
In the same way that mimicking body language influences someone, the email was couched in all kinds of casual point about "this is how we are alike".
Hit them right in the tribal monkey brain.
In all seriousness if you truly want to know how to do something great, go to someone who has done something similar successfully before and soak up their knowledge. At the end of the day though, if you want someone you don't know who has never heard of you to invest in you, you have to stroke their ego a bit.
“The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.”
This email also exemplifies many of Carnegie's other maxims.
Busy people want short emails.
I'd be interested in knowing what the subject line was for the email.
We all have different preferences for emails we received, clearly he nailed it for his target.
It really helps paint a better picture of what a good easy-going email should look like, in this case/scenario. I feel like I often over think more "important" emails like this and re-write them over and over. It's good to finally know that if I'm just more myself, it will probably stick out more than if I try to sound like a robot and someone I am not.
Thanks again! :)
If you know the person look at saving any niceties for after you've made your point. It doesn't look so false if you save any of this for after you've made your request and and you're actually interested in how their job is going.
If I can't find a solid connection between what their experience and the things they love to do then that is a signed that I haven't researched enough or that there really isn't a fit and that I shouldn't bother them and waste their time.
My favorite quote about email comes from Seth Godin:
"I don't want to get email from anybody. I want to get me-mail"
Edit: It's now back to positive, but I think HN could be improved by giving more private ways to contact people - the obvious way would be Private Messages, but this got me thinking about whether replies visible only to the OP and other posters in the thread would be a good solution - and yes, I know HN could implement a lot of other features before this one :) .
It keeps us in check and thinking carefully about our comments and stops a lot of degradation of standards, with regards to quality of comments.
Here, we have "I, We, I, Basically, I, As and Hey", and in the middle of the text there are far far more "I"s and "we"s than I find somewhat acceptable, either. Perhaps the rate is this bad in comparison to my language where the subject is given implicitly in affixes?
Regardless, how emails like this one can be seen as focused on the reader when you know less about the target audience?
You write a sentence that makes the person want to read the next one.
Even busy people like to read interesting emails.
"We’re starting CriticalArc and we’re focussed on providing solutions to problems that depend on streaming status and location in real time."
Ever since the 90s, the word "solutions" just makes my eyes glaze over. To be fair, it gets interesting after that, but this is not a good way to introduce your company.
It reflected the emailer's intention to not waste my time. Tells me who they are, and tells me it's not a sort of long-winded spam. Sure, I have skimmed it (glazed over?) and came back to it later after reading other parts of the email. But it gave me the option to bail out while promising interesting things if I am interested.
On the topic of location-based services being over/underestimated there wasn't a clear reply from David. Our experience has been that there are great opportunities in solving problems for enterprise customers using mobile and location-based services. I can't really speak for the B2C opportunity.
Did he invest?
Single sentence per line. Or two small ones.
Clear ask on its own line, correct?
Startup Name and URL
email / phone
I don't get anywhere near as much email as a professional investor, but unless it's from someone I know and actually want to hear from, or someone paying me, if it goes on for more than 3 lines without being compelling, I just hit delete.