Last week LinkedIn reminded me that it’s been 9 years since I started VC Cafe (Dec 2005). Several people sent their congratulations (thank you btw), and it dawned on me that it’s been a while since I blogged regularly. I prefer springing into action rather than being sentimental, but I thought a little summary and a selection of highlights may inspire someone who is thinking about blogging to share their thoughts through this medium.
So, here it goes, 10 highlights from my *humble* blogging experience in the past 9 years:
- Always be learning – One of my motivations for starting VC Cafe was to understand how blogging works. There were a bunch of free tools out there. I started using Blogger, and kept looking for opportunities to learn, try stuff out, read and get out there. This is still one of the things I enjoy the most about blogging. I talked about this in my new years resolution post from last year –Learning Should be your top New Years Resolution, which was also posted onThe Next Web.
- Consuming a lot of information as a skill – When I was covering Israeli startup news, I didn’t want to miss a thing… email alerts, newsletters, a long list of RSS feeds, Techmeme – these were all scanned before 9am with the goal to ingest and digest tons of data and distil it into a post, a thought, or an insight. I summarized the list of tools I used to collect information about startups in the Ultimate Startup Intelligence Tools List and also crowdsourced the list of tools on hackpad (which was since acquired by Dropbox).
- Eating my own dogfood – I was obsessed with startups and venture capital… and I talked to a lot of people and picked up nuggets along the process. So, I guess I could say I was eating my own dogfood when I wrote “So you want to be a VC...” the post was also picked up by Venturebeat. Now that I actually am a VC (I’ve joined Google Ventures as General Partner last summer), reading this post brings a smile to my face ;)
- Leaving something behind – Have you ever thought about what you’d be leaving behind when you’re gone? Not the most pleasant thought, but a worthwhile exercise. Write your own eulogy, and you’ll see that it’s not a simple task. For me, VC Cafe is one of those things and being included in theTop 50 blogs in Venture Capital (#4!) is a great validation.
- Understanding trends and industries – We live in exciting times – Industries that have been ‘offline’ for years are being transformed by technology and there are countless examples – transportation, commerce, music, education and so on… you probably have a few startup names rolling around in your head as you read this list. I enjoyed writing the post on 10 tools to understanding and dissecting an industry and received some good feedback from folks. Related to that, my post on ‘Lean Market Research‘ was a summary of a talk I gave to entrepreneurship students at London Business School and is a good first step when you’re entertaining a startup idea as a founder or investor.
- Celebrating milestones – 2014 marked the 3rd year of Techbikers, my other labor of love and the best one yet. We raised over $200,000 so far for Room to Read, helping build 4 schools, 8 libraries and fund 3,000 scholarships for girls to attend school in Nepal, India and Cambodia. It was the highlight of my year and I was able to capture it in “The Story of Techbikers” and “Techbikers 2014 – mission accomplished!”. It all started from reading John Wood’s book in India, and couldn’t have been done without the unwavering support of friends, volunteers, donors, and sponsors, who are all impacting the life of kids in the places they need it most. Techbikers started spreading its wings internationally (Germany and now Ireland have chapters), and I’m truly excited for others to join us in this journey! VC Cafe also helped me mark other milestones including the launch of Campus London or celebrating the years go by!
- Founder advice – A friend once told me that one of his best sources for post ideas are emails with questions he gets from entrepreneurs. Instead of repeating himself to founders, he wrote a thorough answer once and published it as a blog post for others to see. Inspired by that, I wrote a series of blog post with the tag ‘101’ including what should founders should do before they get into the VC’s office (published on Techcrunch), How to raise money from Angels, How to evaluate a startup CEO, Introduction to growth hacking for startups, how to find startup cofounders online and in the real world and many more.
- Original ideas – did you ever have a thought come to you in the shower or while running? one of the joys of blogging is taking that moment of insight and fleshing it out. Putting it into the right words, finding the appropriate examples and getting feedback from people are all part of the fun. My favorites are:Business Symbiosis vs natural selection, Creating purple cows, the many forms of innovation and the future of work, why should startup think 10x from day one and the psychology of influence in online startups. Did I really write all of this?
- Resources, resources, resources – the startup resources page on VC Cafe is by far one of the most popular sections since inception. It’s a *messy* directory of tools of the trade for entrepreneurs. Whether it’s open source legal documents, A/B testing tools or finding office space, this list of tools got recognized as a valuable resource by Steve Blank.
- Self fulfillment – the top level of Maslaow’s hierarchy of needs, this is different for every individual, but much like going to the gym, meditating, or climbing a mountain, the challenge is finding ‘Flow’ and staying on the wagon. I’ll try to do more of it this year!
Wishing you a happy and productive new year. Onwards and upwards!