Poke Around First

I read on Twitter that an article in Forbes this past week noted me as one of the top 50 Angels based on investment volume and successful exits.  The information in that particular article, written by someone who supposedly wrote a best-selling book about fundraising, was incorrect.  Did I receive a call asking to verify how many investments I made, no.  Is the actual information available with a little bit of digging, yes.

Today, more than ever, fake news is not acceptable.  The term fake news is used to define deliberate misinformation, crude exaggerations of the truth and illegitimate information.  These days, it is easy to just find one source on the net, and essentially push out false data in the hunt for eyeballs. Forbes is a contributor network, a shadow of its former self, so not entirely sure if anyone is actually doing any fact-checking.  Based on the article I was in, I would say no they are not.  Yet this speaks to a bigger problem.

I consistently get cold emails from founders looking for advice or capital.  Many of them do not take the time to do their research.  Founders who have companies that are directly competing with a company I already have an investment in.  I ask myself every single time, did these people even look at my investments to see that I am already deep in the space?  Are they doing their research or just sending out blind, easy to copy and paste emails from a list that they made for themselves late at night?  I am pretty sure it is the latter because it is so damn easy to do.

I actually got an email from someone in Executive Recruiting from one of the largest companies in the world, which we all use every day, to speak to me about a job as a Director of a new initiative.  Seriously?  Just to add to that, the job was in the Bay Area.  The person was hunting on LinkedIn but obviously went no farther than that.  It is no different than getting emails through LinkedIn when there is no question that the person did not take it upon themselves to launch a separate browser and do a little diligence.  For the record, I do not correspond on LinkedIn.

Perhaps it is the ease of information.  Perhaps it is pure laziness.  Whatever it is, do yourself a favor, and poke around a little before writing blindly because, in my book, this type of behavior isn’t going to get you anywhere….and it is definitely not a good look.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Alex Iskold

    Mind-blowing and unacceptable laziness is what we are experiencing. In case of Forbes article, not sure it was deliberate misinformation. I think it was a lack of good research. To anyone in the industry that article looked incorrect. It is sad that reporters don’t reach out or somehow feel that we wouldn’t share information or maybe we aren’t trustworthy and they need an independent source.The question was asked — is Crunchbase incorrect? Answer 110%. It is incorrect for all angel financings and is correct for all venture financings. This should be completely obvious to everyone because there are a ton of angel financings and it is basically impossible to collect all the data on them. VC financings have SEC filings and thats why the data is accurate.Regarding other things… Recruiters do very little research. Here is another thing. At least once every two weeks I get pitches from PR people. They think I am a reporter, just because I have a blog.What is happening is extreme laziness and sloppiness. This is a combination of terrible government mixed with culture of scroll and defeat of rigorous learning and respect for other people and their time.It is certainly troubling and honestly I don’t know what the solve is.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I completely agree. It is pure laziness. Maybe a reach here but to me it is also tied to a lack of a moral compass. We have lost our way and I do not know how to solve it either. How does this change?

      1. Alex Iskold

        Correct. We lost our moral compass as a society. Trump, and scrolling is causing us to become ADD, disrespectful and for morals to unravel. It is straight out of Science fiction books and it is happening. People are a lot more loose and thoughtless. Its bad. It won’t reverse either. So we need to kind of hope that it will work itself out somehow, but it won’t be pleasant for us.I think the best we can do is act as before, stay true to our values and lead by example.

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      We need a return to quality over quantity.

      1. Gotham Gal

        Well said

    3. Anne Libby

      In the case of Forbes, it’s not all written by reporters: they have user-generated content. (https://forbescouncils.com) I have to wonder how much editing or fact-checking goes into these articles. It is a shame, but it has been years since I stopped clicking on their links.People share things without reading them (which is lazy); people don’t want to pay for journalism (which is #complicated.)I also have no solution but have become much more scrupulous about personally supporting the news organizations and writers whose work I want to continue to see out there.

  2. JLM

    .What you note is simply sloppy journalism – ooops, forgot, journalism is actually dead – not fake news.Fake news is a deliberate attempt to create a false narrative to influence the thinking and the resultant views of the audience. Its bedfellow is repetition and specious sourcing, when it even bothers to pretend it is sourced.A WashPo article today notes that the coverage by the MSM is 91% negative as it relates to President Trump. This at a time when his Rasmussen approval rate is flirting with 50%, a number 5% better than his predecessor’s approval rating at a similar time in his tenure.The same article, sourcing a peer reviewed Media Research Center report found that astounding amounts of the reporting on President Trump during the last 30 days was categorized as “anti-Trump, leftist propaganda” with “dubious, anonymous sources.”CBS, NBC were graded at 93%. CBS 91%; NYT 87%. The short time period made it easy to do the math.I don’t really care about the message if it is sourced correctly, if it is verifiable, and if it is true. But, this is a structural problem and it is a clear attempt to dampen the positive and expound upon the negative.What this also raises is what other reportage is similarly sloppy, biased, slanted, and untrue?There is another phenomenon which is epidemic in business reporting — multiple articles written from the same source and then being used as verification of the source.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  3. lisa hickey

    All day long I’ve been hearing the word “lazy” being used to describe everything from readers to writers to publishers. My struggle with that word is that there is no acknowledgement that economic systems have created that “laziness” often intentionally.

  4. jason wright

    i would like to know exactly when and where the term ‘fake news’ first appeared in the public discourse. i would then like to know precisely who manufactured the term, and what their ‘angle’ was/ is. I suspect it came straight out of the MSM as a strategy to defend its collective right to be the sole purveyor of what is and what is not legitimate news and information, that the public should not trust news and information coming from other (competing) sources. It’s a modern war between two ‘churches’, the old and the new. we’ve seen this play out before, in Europe five hundred years ago, where the Catholic Church screamed “heretic!” at Martin Luther’s alternative POV.

  5. Pointsandfigures

    Get it all the time. I try to be nice about the rejection and wish them luck. I assume every rejection email I send could be put out into the public domain. But if they pester me it’s irritating. They become the proverbial Nigerian prince. I don’t see it as a lack of moral compass but laziness and desperation are words that I might use. I understand where they are coming from and try to be empathetic, but at the same time there are only 24 hours in a day.When Foundry’s Jason Mendelsohn was on a panel in Detroit once asked, “How many cold emails do you actually look at?”-meaning, if an entrepreneur doesn’t have a way to get a warm intro to you, how many of those cold emails do you consider? Most VCs said 0. He looks at them if they did their research.Interestingly, if an entrepreneur or person does their research and doesn’t stretch anything, barring a road to a warm into a cold email should do the trick.For example, if I was a female entrepreneur with a seed stage startup and looked at Gotham Gal’s portfolio and saw no other investments were like mine-and my company fit her investment thesis which goes beyond just being a female-and I had some revenue and a fair valuation in mind but no way to get a warm intro-a cold email might get her attention.Oh, and use good grammar and try and be imaginative.

    1. awaldstein

      disagree.in tech with some work it is honestly very easy to find . connection, comment on a blog and on and on. cold emails are simply a waste and a bad impression.in other segments, more difficult.in tech really easy;