I have an open Twitter DM policy for founders. I encourage outreach to me via all forms of asynchronous communication. I think the hour long pitch, either zoom or IRL, is a bad way to get to know someone. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t rules and social graces involved in cold outreach. I’ve outlined an FAQ on how to get to know me and what I look for in founders but it seems like people would benefit from more tips on how to ask for help and investment on social media.
1. Give Me A Synopsis
If you are sliding into my DMs remember that I’m probably just glancing at an alert. You want to get across just enough context to encourage me to pop in and take a look. And remember you don’t need to convince me with one paragraph. I want to develop a relationship with you and learn how you think. That’s not possible in a few sentences so remember that synopsis is just the beginning.
2 Use A Social Account With Shared Context
I’m always surprised by people who slide into my DMs with 15 followers and a blank Twitter profile and expect an answer. Use the shared social graph to show your interests and tastes. Follow and be followed by people in common with me. You’d be surprised how much meaning I take from seeing you follow and interact with people I respect. The social graph is now we vouch to each other we’d enjoy spending the next ten years working together.
3. Tell Me Who You Are
Make sure you’ve got a link to a personal website so I can learn more about you. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. I think LinkedIn is lame but it’s easy and shows your skills and career path. Hate that? Link your TikTok or Tumblr or blog. Are you anonymous? That’s totally fine. I’ve funded anons. Give me the portions of your identity that are on chain or under your pseudonym so I can learn more from there.
4. Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
You don’t need to ask me for an hour long pitch or even my email right away. I don’t need perfection from the start. Just say you are working on something and want to talk to me about it. Say you will send me a white paper or a blog post and ask me to read it. Then follow up in a few days to see. Don’t get social anxiety about it either. I probably just forgot or got busy and I love being reminded. Truly.
5. Only Ask for Favors After You’ve Demonstrated Rapport & Competence
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked to for advice, help or investment in DTC, CPG or retail type businesses which I have explicitly said I do not do. But what’s even wilder is that the question right after I say no is almost always “well can you introduce me to other investors that do?” This isn’t an inherently bad thing to ask me. I want to help. If you’ve shown me a great product and I’m engaged and impressed with you as a founder and we’ve had a few interactions ONLY THEN do we have enough of a relationship where it’s ok to ask me to spend my social capital to help you. I can’t help you till I’m sure you can help yourself and that means demonstrating you won’t waste the time of my network as well. Favors are big asks and I only want to use them on people who will reflect well on themselves and on me to my network.