I would like to offer a standing invitation for anybody who stumbles across this page -
If you want to talk about startups, technology, philosophy, books, or anything else you think I might be interested in, I would love to talk to you!
Quite a lot of people feel shy or hesitant reaching out without context and while I understand the cause for your hesitation, I really love being hit up randomly. I've met almost all of my best friend and business partners from random online interactions and looking back, I'm really happy I took a shot and reached out! I love having these people in my life and I would've had met them if I hadn't sent them an extremely goofy twitter message and random cold email...
I have never, ever felt frustrated because I've gotten a personalised email from anyone and as long as you're maintaining the basic level of curtsey (which I'm sure you will be), there's nothing you can do which can make me think poorly of you. I estimate I respond to ~90% of the personalised cold email directed towards me usually within 12 hours (however, it may take up to 48 hours if I'm busy with certain work, out of office or have other commitments).
I'm usually pretty good with my email and don't need to be followed up with, however, if it's been >1 week and you're still waiting for a response, there's a slight chance your email somehow slipped through my workflow so a polite nudge would be greatly appreciated.
Things I LOVE to be reached out for -
If you're reaching out for a specific purpose (for example, asking me for advice on a startup or requesting an introduction, it might be useful to go through the FAQs first) but I'd still totally be down for talking once you've gotten through those. The FAQ guide is not to discourage people from reaching out or to come across as pompous, it's simply a mechanism of ensuring that the both of us are able to utilise each other's time to the fullest extent.
I also love supporting underdogs. Having been one my entire life, I'll do everything in my power to help you out and when you reach out to me, I'm guaranteeing you that I wouldn't be judging you for things like bad English, poor spellings.
Don't apologise for for contacting me or "wasting my time" or repeatedly thank me for helping you out - I'm doing this because I want to help and as much as I appreciate your acknowledgement, I'd much rather you pass it on to someone else when you get the chance.
Finally, I'd like to give credit to Patrick McKenzie's version for inspiring my personal Standing Offer.
I usually prefer to have all my communications in one hub. While I've been using Twitter DMs, Discord, iMessages, WhatsApp and other platforms with different individuals, I'm hoping to slowly start bringing everything back to one place. If you and I don't know each other yet, I'm request you not to please cold-call me.
Email is always the best place to reach me for 99% of the things.
Many people often ask me for advice on how to reach out to others, so I just thought this would be a nice place to have a small guide on how to cold contact people.
I usually recommend people to reach out with one key thing in mind... There's a high chance that the person you're reaching out to doesn't know you/care about you. My intention behind saying this is not to come off as cocky, it's just a reminder that I wish I would have gotten back in the day.
The best way to catch the attention of an individual who's extremely high up on the ladder is to solve a problem that they (i) know they had but haven't gotten around to solving yet, (ii) know they had and have attempted to solve but can't figure out a solution to or (iii) didn't know they have but when asked if it is an actual issue, think it's an issue which they face. Helping come up with an issue they're facing is a way to get the people to notice you...
I would like you to think of it this way - everything in life is a value proposition. Behind every action of yours (and the other persons) is some value that that individual is getting from that interaction. I know this seems extremely tough to grasp but once you get it, it'll change your complete outlook to speaking to people. When you're getting in touch with these high-level individuals, it's usually you who's requesting something without offering anything in return, even a couple of minutes replying to your email is not worth it. But the second you solve a problem for them without asking for anything... that's when there's a direct value proposition that makes it worth it for them.
Optimally, keep your email as short and concise as possible with ONE clear call-to-action. Once the ball is rolling, it's much easier to dive deeper into it, however, the initial outreach should be short and sweet ;)
Asking for introductions is tricky if I don't know you. The reason introductions carry so much of weight is because I'm extending my personal equity with said person to you and if something goes wrong or if you're not able to genuinely add value to this said person, then it will deteriorate the equity between me and this person, therefore I'm usually careful about who I give introductions to. (I do however make exceptions for this rule for introductions to investor and a few other groups of people).
Oh, and lastly -