Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Let's All Work with Google!

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.

1 comment:

Kevin Pierce said...

I just read about Mr. Sacca in a Business 2.0 (print edition) article, Googled him and ended up here. The hints are good ones and compare well with the ones I found here: http://www.garage.com/resources/index.shtml

I have a new media idea that I have been researching and test-pitching to friends and family for the past couple months.

The idea involves the reuse of digital content (songs, movies, still images) and addresses the copyright issues that arise from the creation of combined and/or re-editted presentations (of existing, legally licensed, copyrighted content), including but not limited to podcasts, remixes, mashups and sampling of audio, and phantom edits and similarly altered, resequenced or merged video playback.

I would like to approach Mr. Sacca of Google or firms like Garage Ventures (Guy Kawasaki) with this idea (and, of course, the product possibilities, some quite solid, others more abstract) but need to make a solid first impression. I do not wish to dilute the idea's reputation or risk it being stolen by spamming VCs with poorly written or incomplete proposals.

I am not sure whether I should be pitching the intellectual property (and IP licensing) opportunities, or the finished products. Perhaps both are appropriate, depending on the target audience.

I have ZERO experience pitching VCs. I come from an engineering background and already have a couple patents that have earned me nothing.

Mr. Spence's post states that "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." I want to be in the 10% that succeed.

Success in this journey requires a sherpa, a guide, someone who has successfully (or near-successfully) pitched ideas to VCs.

If you are reading this and are (or know) someone who is up to the challenge, I promise not to waste your time.

I will, however, require an NDA.

kpkpkp AT gmail DOT com (spam me not)