Thank you, Rap Genius, for packing everything depressing about what the industry I chose to spend my life working in has become into a single convenient sentence.
Why would anyone invest in something like that if the founders don't project those values?
If you have a product that's the result of real technological innovation or time consuming R&D and has real growth potential, you'll find investors regardless of your confidence and energy levels.
Probably because they're the bottum rung working for someone who is energetic, excited and confident. Essentially, if you don't need to lead anyone, you can have these traits. Or you work for the government.
Even the ability to project confidence isn't a universal requirement though. Nobody gives a rat's ass what an athlete in a solo sport projects.
And think about it: at the top of that profession (especially surgical specialties), you're basically selling to the uberrich. The field is highly competitive. It's a market predicated on referrals, networks, and especially social proof. Your skill is critical, but skill is a table stake.
Your average, run-of-the-mill, family doctor is a different story. But "baller ass" doctors need to project, well, ballin' assness.
If it's not objective, they're not top.
The doctor who rescued MY life from a disabling illness is humble, because people who are cocky have something to lose if they admit they don't know the answers.
I am specifically talking about top by money earned per year. Not top in terms of best outcomes, or most effective.
Better to lack confidence than have too much.
Electrolyte pills solved it (at least, the symptoms). I discovered this by accident, when I had another reason to take electrolytes and then suddenly I could stand up again. Stupid doctors.
Given a choice between someone who projects energy, enthusiasm, and confidence and someone who doesn't the latter person will normally have to demonstrate considerably more competence. In particular low energy and lack of confidence in an expert undercut a perception of competence.
Would that be the VC-raising industry? Because there are many web startups out there that have had no such experiences, have avoided VC and chosen to simply grow slowly, happily and by investing the founder's time and energy rather than other (often highly dubious) people's money.
Don't be depressed because some fools are handing out millions to other fools, you don't need to compete with that. All that counts is your product.
It's unquestionable that you need energy, excitement and confidence to be good at something. Anything from being a doctor, lawyer to professional athlete.
So let's clarify these words before we start the strawmen arguments of "So lawyers should be jumping for joy and act like Billy Mays in the courtroom, right columbo?"
Energetic (Possessing, exerting, or displaying energy.) - You need to have energy about what you do. Stephen King is energetic about writing horror fiction. He doesn't high-five everyone around him but you can tell he puts his energy into his books.
Excitement (A feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness) - What you do needs to excite you. It should be something that keeps you up at night thinking about it. A good surgeon should be excited to learn about new techniques and discoveries in his field.
Confidence (a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances) - You absolutely must know that you are going to sink that next basket. You don't need to walk around like you're the best person at the game but you need to believe that you yourself have the ability.
So yes, you need these traits to excel. To argue this is really just leading towards a debate of "Well I choose a narrow definition of excitement and since doctors aren't that then it is irrelevant".
Projection (The act of projecting or the condition of being projected.) is going to be the only thing people can fall back on. I don't believe they are saying to fake some part, but it definitely is not what I'm saying. Having these traits leads to projecting these traits. Your excitement, confidence and energy comes out when you talk about what you love to do. It just does.
> So fundraising is a psychologically trying experience that depends very little on any sober analysis of the quality of your product
Smile or die, motherfucker!
> It's unquestionable that you need energy, excitement and confidence to be good at something. Anything from being a doctor, lawyer to professional athlete.
Oh, that is VERY questionable. The first two are focussing on positive emotions and ignore the important role negativity plays. Smilarly, confidence does not in any way equate capability.
> Projection (The act of projecting or the condition of being projected.) is going to be the only thing people can fall back on.
No, that's just our intuitive mind being too lazy to do a rigorous analysis of the situation. I recommend "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Kahneman to fix this.
There's no definition of either that I know of that includes "positive emotions" and ignores "negative emotions". That's a made up definition.
> Smilarly, confidence does not in any way equate capability.
Never said it did. I also never said these were the only things you need. But you do need them.
There's no way forward without going to specifics. I guess I'd need to see an example of 5 or 10 industry leaders or greats, from any industry; Linus Torvald, Mary Roach, Warren Buffett, Jon Stwart etc... that did not have energy, enthusiasm and confidence.
Confidence is extremely important in athletics, engineering, business, etc. Some more than others. But someone with confidence issues will never be as efficient and consistent as someone who is not. You must have personal belief invested in yourself and your corresponding ability before you can really use it effectively.
I agree with excitement and energy though. I know quite a few people who hate their jobs but do them successfully.
Nothing against the VC industry but it represents a majority of discussions on HN and little outside.
However, if expressions about an idea do relate to the quality of that idea, each taken in isolation, what does that say about the concept of meritocracy? That perhaps meritocracy applies only to people and not ideas, and that "meritocracy" in this context has a much narrower definition than a plain reading of the word would suggest.
In other words, if you just have technology (and we're assuming not groundbreaking patentable-technology), you'll likely fail if you have no perseverance and no ability to convince people why it's useful.
All startup founders know they stand a better chance if they project energy, excitement, and confidence, and this is very cheap and easy to do, so they all do it.
As a result, experienced investors become inured, skeptical of it, and ignore it, knowing it's the easiest thing a founder can fake. They look for signals of more substantial stuff, be it the Three T's (Team, Technology, Traction) or something else.
In fact I would argue these days you stand a better chance of distinguishing yourself among investors if you pointedly do not exude energy and excitement at least, but rather sober, quiet confidence, competence, domain expertise, focus, and resolve.
That said, his points about actually being confident, and managing your own psychology, are right on.
"The problem was that even if every warm lead invested the maximum plausible amount we’d still barely make it to $1M."
on to: "PG advised us to dream up some way of lowering our cap for our existing investors to get more takers, which would have been a hella-beta conversation to have and who knows whether it would even work because showing that kind of weakness is a major turnoff."
then: "And yet it ended up totally fine!"
-- all this fluff about sockless bearded russians, and apartments with track lighting but they left out the most important part?
BTW.. does track lighting in apartments state some level of wealth that I'm unaware of?
I didn't know what the heck the OP was trying to indicate about track lighting either. Given the context I figured it was some type of insult about him being cheesy though, I didn't really understand it.
That being said high-end lofts are just as susceptible to crappy renovations or going over budget and forgetting to light a room. The way I see it lighting should either be a flourish of design (pendant lights in a kitchen / chandelier-esque hanging thing in a dining room) or not seen at all.
It was actually closer to $300 / night, but $600 sounds better
They have a product with widespread adoption and a massive scope of new verticals to tackle, and they (I think) have a vision for this technology to make the web a better place for all of us. Just as Facebook was brilliant to attract the love of the cool kids (first Ivy league, then all college kids, then high school + college, etc.), which led to worldwide adoption, RapGenius is taking a far more creative approach than to just build an annotation layer over the entire web without any common beliefs, passions or interests to galvanize the community.
I'm excited to see it pan out.
Edit: I probably shouldn't call someone loud, belligerent, arrogant and outright absurd without a link. :)
And while I realize their personas are a joke, to me, they represent everything I dislike about music.
Also advocating amphetamine use (not much different than meth) and openly talking about delusional theories of having sex on them would somehow produce smarter kids is just insane. I know some of it's a joke but their narcissism seems authentic.
I suppose being able to talk like this is a privilege only available to a site like Rap Genius. I think I love it.
(I was kidding :D)
Edit: Source: Grew up in LA?
"So, we've got this wiki-ish kind page but when you click on a link you get this modal popup thing where stuff is explained to you instead of visiting a new page."
They know they are selling their name and image and they do it full-force.
I do not know if this overly affected style of communication is prominent in the valley or if it is done in the service of pump priming for newsgenius annotations. I am still curious what a "hella-beta conversation" is.
I'm assuming they are speaking of beta in the kind of male-dominance sense it holds in the animal kingdom.
So being "hella-beta" is kind of backing down and giving up the power to someone else who is the alpha of the group.
Also, although they were part of YC, they're based in NYC, not the valley.
1. impudent, flippant
2. bold and lively
3. sexualy suggestive
Did i get that right?
edit: they ask for it
I think your comment would be better if it were better-substantiated. Or any substance at all.
By placing advertisements on their site, Rap Genius could generate significant revenue, with Web traffic that would make almost any content-driven site green with envy. Lots of other avenues are open for turning the site into a business. A premium version of the site is one possibility. Creating sponsored pages, where musicians or labels generate activity around new album releases and other content. There have been discussions with an agent to pitch network Comedy Central the idea of a Rap Genius television show, which could be similar to Mystery Science Theater 3000.
So no monetization strategy has (had?) actually been deployed yet.
PS rap genius annotations implemented on HN would make it a lot cooler. The comments about particular writing style here... u guys should just hop over to Rap Genius and annotate what "hella betta" means. You're living in ancient technology land!
RG is such a breakout star today that it's remarkable to see they went through similar fundraising adventures to everyone else in YCS11.
Signed, a proud beta stealth sock wearer.
Also, there is no such thing as too much pink
I think A16Z invested for the entertainment value.
Posting using your own software to pimp it is a good idea, too. I'm not sure I like annotations in this case, because I really read them all anyways, which means that it's just annoying to click them all. There should be a way to expand them all into the body of the article, if you wanted to (is there?).