game mechanics applied to angel investing

What I know about angel investing I learned from Ron Conway. Once you
have access to capital (which is hard), it isn’t that complicated.
It’s basically about building up karma points by helping people out.
When you invest in companies, always return calls and emails and help
them out. Help out companies you didn’t get to invest in. Help out
VCs who might invest in your investments later. Meet with promising
people who are trying to raise money and try to help them even if you
don’t want to invest. Help out big company people who might do deals
with or acquire companies you invest in. Have meet ups and do other
things to help the startup community. Blog about stuff you learn. (If
you happen to also be running a startup like I am, this stuff also
helps your own company.) As you get more karma points you level up.
As you level up, helping out gets easier and your time scales better
and you get karma points faster. Entrepreneurs talk constantly. It’s
a small community. If you have karma points they’ll let you invest –
often on good terms. If you aren’t they won’t. That’s about it.
There aren’t any shortcuts or tricks.


20 thoughts on “game mechanics applied to angel investing

  1. gvelesandro says:

    Excellent insight. Thank you!

  2. chrisyeh says:

    When in doubt, add value.

  3. steve cheney says:

    There’s something very refreshing about people who live by their words.

  4. Sam Johnson says:

    It seems like what makes games work makes life work in a lot of ways.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I simply love this post. Love the style. Love the approach to life. And while I agree that meeting people helps the company you run, I wonder if it’s a net gain. The main reason I am not a more active investor is that I feel like owe 100% of my professional time and energy to Redfin.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great post Chris. But I have to ask – did Ron share his insight with you at Pier 38? Just kidding! 🙂

  7. Chris Sacca says:

    Wait, that’s what it’s all about? I didn’t know we’d actually have to do any work. Shit. I’m out of this game.

  8. K Srikrishna says:

    doggone my dad was right – do the right thing – give and give freely and good stuff will happen. Great post #life #investing

  9. Michael Arrington says:

    you just leveled up, Chris. Nice post.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Truer words have never been spoken. It seems so obvious – help others, not just so they can help you, but because it’s the right thing to do. Most investors are trapped into thinking that the Golden Rule is “He with the gold makes the rules” but it’s really the one we all grew up with – “Do unto others…” The real community builders, the ones who will leave a lasting and legitimate legacy like Ron Conway and Dave McClure don’t do it simply for the money – that’s just a crude way for wannabes and lazy journalists to keep score. Those guys do it because they are motivated to make a positive difference – in other words, a psychological profit, and they can only do it as long as they make a financial profit. Super angels are more like superheros – they are bigger than themselves in that they stand for something, and use their monetary and intellectual muscle for the greater good. The supervillians are the ones who hate, can’t hack it or washed out because they felt entitled without feeling the need to grind it out by paying their dues through hundreds of bad pitches, failed ventures and spurious lawsuits. In the world of game mechanics, angels are the ones who checkin at more entrepreneurial hangouts, earn high risk badges and get point multipliers for being better at trend analysis and pattern recognition.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Nice points. Very true for Pollenizer too. The work is hard, but we always try to be supportive, helpful, optimistic. I’d like to think we have a good reputation, but that’s not for me to decide.

  12. Jo Sabin says:

    Hi Chris, you make great points. Pay it forward fits in here too. Being a helper, connector and a doer is part of the ethos of the startup community which also applies to capital raising.

  13. bwertz says:

    Great post, Chris – and a good reminder for everybody that it always comes down to how much value you create for your customers, as start-up or as investor. People forget this very easily in “bubbly” times like these…

  14. ganeumann says:

    My favorite part of the whole startup ecosystem has always been the part that resembles a gift economy.

  15. Anonymous says:

    A beautiful post, Chris, especially because you live it. I think the gaming metaphor extends to multiple avenues of life.

  16. znmeb says:

    Yeah – except it’s all fun and games until the FBI shows up. Seriously – I don’t like the tone coming out of Techcrunch the past few weeks, and “A Blogger Walks Into A Bar …” was just another example. I’m deeply saddened and disappointed.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Someone would like to return your COO who wandered into their data center. Click here to give your COO a taxi ride home and allow this application to access your profile.

  18. NukeGold says:

    Beautiful! I’ll remember that post when I get to be in your shoes.

  19. Garza_Girl says:

    You are so right. Ron Conway is always on the leaderboard of the game. He too, taught me so much about the art of connecting. Great post.

  20. Anonymous says:

    What about forming a clan, i.e. angelgate?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: