On Tuesday June 25th, Mr. Alex Taub, Head of Biz Dev at Dwolla graced us with his presence and dropped knowledge like it’s hot.

As an avid biz dev learner, I’ve been fortunate to learn first hand from some of the greats, namely Scott Britton, BD at Single Platform who spoke at my last meetup and Scott Pollack, BD at American Express. Lots of the content I sift through gets very repetitive, but Alex dropped tons of tactical bombs.

First and foremost were the 4 golden rules of a partnership… Never before has something as vague as partnerships seemed so black and white. Fortunately, Alex broke all partnerships down into four collectively exhaustive (not mutually exclusive) goals within partnerships:

  1. Make money
  2. Save money
  3. Grow User Base
  4. Improve Product/Service

By putting potential partnerships through this lens, it really helps you clarify and amplify your value proposition by making it cut and dry.

After talking about the 4 golden rules, it was really insightful to learn about how to effectively go about pitching potential sales/partnerships.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten from my friends Drew Nagda and Charlie Houpert is when you’re trying to close something, it’s easy to pitch pitch pitch and get caught up being screened by the person you’re trying to close. In reality, that technique is whack! Your likelihood of closing goes way down. So instead of having them screen you, and doing whatever to stay afloat as prospects screen you, what’s much more effective is you screening them.

Alex made this tactic simple by using 2 simple questions… In reality, your time is your most important asset, so it’s not even worth pitching somebody if they’re not a good fit. So, low and behold, 2 simple questions, not only valuable to turn the screening tables, but also pivotal in helping you tailor your pitch:

  • What are you focused on?
  • What’s most important to you? What metrics are you measuring?

Lastly, now that you’ve got an understanding of what type of partnership value you have to offer, and have screened prospects to see if they’re good fit, you can now tailor your pitch… but how do you get to the forbidden fruits of the close? It’s a lot simpler when you take these 3 simple tactics into consideration.

  • Sincere selling – If you do not passionately believe in what you’re selling, you’re fucked. Either address your causes of concern spot on, or move on. When you live and breath what you’re trying to sell, prospects get inspired and absorbed by the energy you emit. If you don’t, they won’t!
  • Use cases – Not only do use cases provide social proof that other brands are using your product/service, but it gives concrete examples of the difference you can make. It creates evidence to the point that your prospects should feel stupid for not going with what you have to offer. Also, use cases of a prospect’s competitors will definitely lead to FOMA (fear of missing out)
  • Urgency – People are natural procrastinators, especially when it comes to tough decisions. As my colleague Sharon Park (ex-Googler) always says, “time kills all deals.” So instead of waiting to here back from them, and seeing them slowly leave your grasp as they fall into the abyss of lost deals, create urgency. Whether you announcing a new launch and want to create the opportunity for prospects to become a launch partner, or you’ve got a big press release coming up, leverage the hell out of creating a context of urgency. Even if you have to fake it, it will help you go a long way.

So with all that being said, I hope you’re as inspired and reinvigorated by Alex’s thoughts as I am and can put them to use ASAP…. Happy closing!

Life is no small feat. When you accomplish something big, it feels great, but as soon as that feeling subsides, the bar is now higher.

As you continue to raise the bar it’s important to realize that in order to get over it, you need to optimize for learning. Not through reading but by doing.

School is interesting. Mainly because succeeding within school, by the traditional standard, is training you to become an academic. Good grades portray your ability to study and research, precisely what your professors do full time. Most entry level jobs, put you on the path of the long bureaucratic rise.

It’s funny because all learning takes place outside of your comfort zone, and as you continue to do what you do, you begin to miss out on the opportunities to further develop your skills by doing what you don’t typically do.

Think about it, when did you learn more, in the first month of your job, or in the second, third and even fourth months?

So, there’s a problem, the longer you do something, the more you begin to plateau… How do you go about solving this problem?

Initiative, in and outside of your job. Nobody’s going out of their way to expose you to new opportunity so you can learn more… It’s up to you to put it upon yourself. Whether it’s offering your time to a busy baller who’s #1 bottle neck is their time, or it’s doing something entrepreneurial with your life.

The best advice I ever got around hacking learning within your own life is starting a meetup group, thanks to Charlie O’Donnell, VC and legendary connector. Meetup groups give you a platform to invite some of the most influential thought leaders in to speak or be interviewed at your event! Not only can you tailor who you’re learning from and the questions you’re asking, but you’re doing it on stage, getting publicity, building your brand.

It’s a no brainer I’ve used to interview individuals like Charlie, Dave Tisch, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Scott Britton, all while learning first hand.

All in all, beware of stagnation, it will kill your life’s progress and rise to the top. Instead, take it upon yourself to do things you don’t HAVE to do, but rather things that will put you one step closer to reaching where you want to be a couple years down the road!

How have you optimized for learning in your life?

Both life, work and fun should be one in the same but in order to achieve that synergy, it’s crucial to make sure you delegate time to focus solely on one.

Way too many entrepreneurs work hard not smart. Long not efficient. Trust me, by no means am I one to knock the hustle but the hustle has limits and in order to optimize the hustle please make sure you spend enough time disassociating yourself so you can bring in your fresh perspective every day. 

Addictions are funny things. You think you have complete control but are merely a victim of ignorant deceit.

50 years ago, everybody smoked cigs and were under the impression that they were a good thing. Fast forward, there are still millions of smokers fighting to reclaim their mind and control, to no avail. 

Well today I would like to bring up a new addiction. Humanity’s new found love for the Internet.

“Everything in moderation,” a mantra Ive been learning in life over and over again. Well like all things good, too much is bad, and today I’d like to say, WE ALL USE THE INTERNET TOO MUCH.

Don’t get me wrong. The Internet is an extremely powerful force of good. It drives change and allows 2 people in a garage the chance to disrupt a century old industry. But, with great power comes great responsibility, and although social media/email do allow us to connect in scalable way, we often find ourself lost and aimlessly roaming in the Internet.

It’s a new world, in the same way a drug can take you to new places and alter your perceptions, the Internet can pull you in and send you in a cycle of never ending time wasting loops.

So my ask is simple… Ask yourself, “what am I truly trying to accomplish?” And “How will I use the Internet to help?”

And NOT the other way around, for that is where you will get lost.

So, I may not be going out to outer space, and I’m no Richard Branson (not yet at least ;), but I’m on a mission none the less.

The world is full of problems, and instead of complaining or being ignorantly blind, there are a couple problems I’m trying to get to the bottom of. Also, although I’m see tons of potential in the applications of technology, I’m not a fan of tech for the sake of tech. Tech for me is a medium to solve human problems.

So without any further ado, here’s my mission broken down into 3 parts:

  1. Access… I was born and raised in a upper-middle class family, but surrounded myself with friends through the whole spectrum of socio-economic status. What I realized was contrary to stereotypes, intellect is inherent in all, but due to lack off access, socialization often ends up funneling that intellect to nefarious activities. Think about it, what do you define as cool or worth aspiring towards — For me it’s being the CEO of a rapidly growing internet company with a social mission to make the world a better place! On the other hand, I have friends who aspired to cash out slanging herb, get rich in finance and sacrifice progress for profit. With that being said, the aspirations of all are sculpted by their peers and idols, so by creating an ecosystem of access that allows others to aspire to nobler causes beyond the ones immediately surrounding them, human kind can achieve much greater feats.
  2. Passion Passion Passion. At the end of the day, our measure of wellbeing should not be GDP, or unemployment rates, it should be happiness. It’s a privilege to think of work beyond wages. In the startup scene I’m surrounded by tons of passionate individuals tackling problems they care about. Whereas I also have friends drudging work but it’s the only way to put food on the table. Passion is the key to unlocking society’s hidden potential.
  3. Let’s flatten this damn pyramid.

How I make this happen you ask?

To be continued…