Nearly every email I receive seems to start with “Sorry for the delay.” I realize that people do this as a sign of respect, but it actually has the opposite effect on me.
I have built my life in a way that allows me to work with my circadian rhythm and carve out time for deep work. I tend to catch up on emails when my brain is too tired to be creative. When I send emails at 9 pm on Fridays, I never expect an immediate response. However, I frequently receive responses on Saturday or Sunday that start with “Sorry for the delay.”
I’m baffled and saddened by this. It seems that our always-on culture has set an unwritten expectation that an email should be responded to within 24 hours, regardless of when it is received. I do not have this expectation. To prevent the perpetuation of this cultural expectation, I would like to make my thoughts clear.
I like to send emails when I have the space to do so. I used to schedule my emails so they would be received during business hours, but I have found that many people prefer to look at email outside those times. If we correspond frequently and you have a preference, please let me know.
I do not ask permission to send emails and do not feel entitled to your response.
I realize my email may not be in line with your priorities. I want my portfolio companies and the people I care about to stay focused on their priorities. I also want people to answer emails in a manner that enables them to say yes to their personal well-being, passions, and interests.
I do not expect lengthy, carefully crafted responses to my emails. This is especially true for my portfolio companies and people I know well. Simple responses like “Not a fit” or “Can’t make it” suffice.
I appreciate and respond to urgency flags. I check my email every couple of hours and will respond to anything that requires urgent attention. I try to flag urgent emails and appreciate urgency flagging from others.
I prefer candor. “Sorry for the delay” is often an inauthentic response. Are you really sorry that you prioritized something else? I prefer responses like “Does not sound fun to me” or “Not in line with my priorities.” If you really want to explain further, I’d like to read something like:
“Rather than answering your non-urgent email immediately, I’m going to slot my response in line with other business priorities.”
“After spending six hours on my laptop, I decided to go outside and take a walk.”
Receiving messages like that will help me follow my own advice. I produce the best results when I stay focused on MergeLane’s strategic priorities, find time to be proactive rather than reactive, and allow room for creativity and innovation. This often means that I answer emails more slowly. While I know this approach yields the best results, the cultural expectation for immediacy and my desire to be helpful are powerful forces.
In this latest Fund81 podcast episode, I share my 2020 plans for the Fund81 forum and podcast, and a few reflections from my short bout of holiday depression.
I’ve now read over a thousand startup investor updates. The most effective updates — the ones that immediately grab my attention and heighten my interest — have similar characteristics. My advice is below, along with a comprehensive template for startup investor updates.
At MergeLane, we’ve been thinking about how changing market conditions may affect our fund in the future. I know many of our listeners are asking themselves that question as well. Our guest, Liza Benson, thrived as a VC through both the dot-com crash in 2000 and the 2008 financial crisis.
Beezer Clarkson invests in early-stage venture funds at Sapphire Partners (the division within Sapphire Ventures that invests in venture funds). In this episode, Beezer shares her perspective on venture capital trends, VC firm differentiation, and nonobvious mistakes for VC fund managers to avoid.
As an entrepreneur and startup investor, I have had many moments of feeling like I am pushing water uphill with a rake. Sometimes, I have kept pushing and have succeeded out of sheer grit. Sometimes, it was time to admit defeat. Two years ago, I had one of those moments.
Elizabeth Yin, co-founder and general partner at the Hustle Fund, shared her thoughts on how to assess a startup’s ability to “hustle”. Her thoughts are applicable to venture capitalists, startups and anyone who wants to work with hustlers.
Nearly every email I receive starts with “Sorry for the delay.” Our always-on culture has set an unwritten expectation that an email should be responded to within 24 hours. To prevent the perpetuation of this cultural expectation, I would like to make my thoughts clear.
We asked our Fund81 forum for venture capitalists to nominate portfolio companies to participate in a startup showcase. We received over 50 nominations. Four of those startups are featured in this episode.
Jocelyn Goldfein from Zetta Venture Partners joined the Fund81 podcast to share her approach to investing in artificial intelligence (AI). With the cost of creating software continuing to decline, Zetta believes the companies of the future will need to build more than just great software to thrive.
I love being active, but I also have high professional aspirations. I’ve spent the last 16 years trying to find a productive balance between the two. In this episode, Nicole DeBoom, pro triathlete turned CEO of Skirt Sports, and I share our thoughts on how to fit fitness into a startup schedule.