Note: If I sent you this post in response to you reaching out, don’t feel bad. Read the post and use the template and I’ll be very likely to respond. I didn’t learn this method until someone taught me. I wrote an original post in 2012, this is the update.
I get ~100 inbound requests for help or advice each week. As Magma Partners grows, the volume keeps going up. Most of them are cold. The template I lay out below is how to get me to respond.
I have used this template to get advice from extremely, busy, successful people who I never thought would respond. I can’t remember a single person who has reached out using this method who I didn’t respond to.
While I can’t guarantee that I’ll respond, if you want to improve the odds 10x that I’ll respond, use this template. I highly suggest trying it with other people too.
If you’re a founder, the absolute best way to get my attention cold is via a Magma Memo. Our investment team responds to 100% of these cold inbounds, and many of our best investments came in cold, including Albo, Yana, and many more. If you want to send an email or DM to say you’ve filled out the form, feel free, but the Magma Memo guarantees a response.
In the US, Covid has gotten much worse in the past four weeks, especially in the Upper Midwest. While there’s some good news, the odds of a non-linear disaster are the highest they’ve been since New York’s first surge.
In the past two weeks, the number of people I know with Covid in the US has gone up massively. As I write, 10 people in my close group of friends or their direct families have active Covid. Most of them took precautions. Luckily, most look like they will escape serious primary health issues. Two look to be pretty sick.
Since March, I’ve been lucky to be able to isolate during this pandemic. The longest I’d spent in one location in a row since from June 2015 until March 2020 was six weeks. Now I haven’t moved in 8 months.
I was going to fly to spend winter in a warmer location. I saw the new numbers, especially the sobering Covid Risk Map, which said that in Wisconsin, there’s a ~95% chance there’s at least one active Covid case in a random group of 25 people, implying ~3-5 active Covid cases on my flight. My friends parents got Covid flying from Florida to Wisconsin. I stayed in Wisconsin.
Ever since the pandemic, I’ve been “always on.” I can take calls, video conferences, texts at all times. People are available, without many constraints on time. Remote work detractors think that people will watch Netflix all day. But we should really be worried about people working too much, not too little.
I’ve instituted No Call Wednesday so that I can actually get things done. Some of the Magma team has started do it too. It’s been a long battle of experiments, dating back to 2017. No Call Wednesday, and its more powerful cousin Airplane Mode Wednesday, have been life changing.
The Path to No Call Wednesday
In 2017, I was the only full time Magma Partners team member and things started to get away from me. I had too many things on my plate, but we didn’t have the budget to hire anyone new until we did the first close on our fund, in January 2018.
I found myself taking walks to my favorite cafes in Bogota, Medellin, Mexico City, Guadalajara or Santiago every Saturday morning and spending 4-6 hours catching up on writing, emails and the big projects that I never had the brainspace to do during the week. These 4-6 hours were my most productive of the week.
From data that we freely give up to private companies like Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Amazon, to data brokers and ad networks that track us around the internet, not to mention government surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden, most of our most personal data is being collected by many different entities. Like any tool, data can be used for both good and bad. And companies that store our data can be hacked to embarrass us, just like politicians and tech people have been recently.
I operate online as if everything I do will be public some day: my search history, my texts, Facebook messages, location data. I think about what data I’m freely giving away to data companies and weigh whether the benefit is big enough to give up privacy. Most people don’t even think about this bargain.
I recognize that anyone who really wants to get my data can probably do it. But I like to make myself a smaller target.
I urge you to take some of these steps to minimize your personal data exposure. Here’s my personal security checkup: