Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Getting To Meet Mark Suster In Person

So I got to meet Mark. Suster. In person. It was a great feeling. I had read enough of his blog posts that I really wanted to meet in person and make it real.

Mark is the most visible VC in Los Angeles. One time years ago I happened to be in downtown Los Angeles. I made a point to go see the bank where the bank robbery scene in the movie Heat was shot. Heat is one of my favorite movies.

Mark is passionate about blogging. Some people are like, but he writes long posts. I actually like it that he writes long posts. He really puts himself into it. You can almost hear the thought process come through. Did I touch all bases, or did I touch all bases? He is also a regular on TechCrunch.

He is a VC. He used to be an entrepreneur. That is why his blog is called Both Sides Of The Table. Very few VCs are like that. I guess Andreessen Horowitz also fall into that category.

If you read enough of his blog posts you get a pretty good idea of what he might be like in person. But also not everything comes through. Not everything is supposed to come through. Like his sense of humor. Every slide came with a joke. I was shaking in my seat with laughter. I was roaring, howling a few times.

He made some great points. Don't become a "Conference Ho," he said. If you are always hopping from conference to conference as a Founder CEO, that can sap the morale back at the office. Don't swap building a great product for building hype, he said.

It was a great slideshow that covered all the bases. I wonder if it is online somewhere. Maybe not.

Some of the things he said I remembered having read at his blog.

I got to ask the first question, I believe. Later I got to meet one on one. It is great to meet you in person, I said. You have a unique name, he said. When I google it up, noone else shows up, I said. He asked what I was working on.

We want to be a for profit, high tech Kiva, I said. The complete description would have been a for profit, high tech Kiva that does the last mile under its own brand name through the franchise concept. I am pre launch, I added. I hinted at my past failures.

I am honored to be part of the same tech ecosystem as you, I said.

One thing I really liked that he said and that I had read at his blog too a long time ago was that he is not looking for entrepreneurs who will fit into this vision or this business concept he has. No, I am just looking for the entrepreneur, he said. That is liberating to hear as an entrepreneur.

99.9% of my job is saying no, he said. My firm does two deals per year, and we hear thousands of pitches. We look for billion dollar companies, he said.

I got one, I thought.

The person who did the one on one right before me talked about her idea. It sounded like video creation, but also creating the platform to host the videos. Mark impressed me with his bluntness. He said, why try to recreate YouTube? Why not focus just on content creation? YouTube already gives you the audience.

He sure speaks his mind when people approach him with their business ideas. I liked it. He was blunt. You asked for his opinion and he gave it to you. And he is not claiming he is right. He is taking a chance he might be.

Mark sang praises of Jonathan Hefter. Jonathan is out of General Assembly, he has Neverware.

I found myself sitting next to Shafqat Islam.
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