A few years back, everyone was talking about the new economy. Then the bubble popped, and we all went back to sleep.
But business continues to change. And in a recent blog by Chris Sacca, who is one of Google’s Principals for New Business Development, I found a masterful summary of the new improved rules of doing business.
Google is a relentlessly innovative company. Sacca’s job is to find new ideas and new people to partner with – even though 90% of the people he meets will never be appropriate partners. Many of us could learn from Sacca's proactive attitude. Our chances of meeting people who can help us are probably much better than his. So how open are we to new ideas?
Sacca's guidelines (he politely calls them “hints”) for proposing deals make rewarding reading. You can click here, or read my summary below.
Email rules - Phones are very yesterday. Voicemail is so broken. Email allows me to ensure that I get back to you. It also helps me bring in all the folks whose input would matter on your topic.
Thesis Statements - Lead with what you want [from Google]. Put it in the first sentence or two. Please don't make me go too far. This is particularly tough when I have to forward your message to a lot of other execs who are also looking for a thesis statement.
What problem are you solving? - Many times I have conversations with folks who can't answer that question.
Differentiate - Tell me right away why you guys are different and what comparative advantage you have on the market. Why are you the best to help us?
Follow-up - Following up by repeat email is perfectly fine with me and may often help if I have fallen behind. When doing so, please propose a concrete next step. That said, what doesn't help is when you go over our heads to other execs.
Meetings aren't always necessary - Often, vendors are in a rush to meet in person. Start with email. Send us a deck. Maybe next we can do a brief call. There is no need to hold a meeting with me to build a relationship. I swear I have done business over instant messaging networks.
Lead with engineering - I would rather have a meeting with technical people in the room than just business people any day.
Threats don't work - A surprising number of people write to me saying "If you do not act in 5 days I am taking this to Microsoft . . . " I am very inclined to let those proposals go. To me, partnerships are as much about the partner as they are about the technology.
Don't assume we have thought about X already - [People] presume we have a big honking master plan document somewhere and have the next few years set forth step by step. Truth is, we are constantly learning. You have a killer idea for us? Fire away!
Bottom line is that I/we want to work with you and your company! Partnerships are an essential part of our strategy and have been the impetus for massive value creation at Google. So, send those proposals and let's do some cool deals! Thanks.”
If I were a smarter man, I would kill to do business with this guy.