I now prioritize meetings with a new filter: Who is offering me something in return? No, not offering me money. Not for stock. But who is offering to teach me something I don’t know. The meeting requests that now jump to the top of my list are the few, very smart entrepreneurs who say, “I’d like to have coffee to bounce an idea off of you and in exchange I’ll tell you all about what we learned about xx.”
This “ask for a two-way meeting” is how we teach entrepreneurs to get their first customer discovery meetings: Don’t don’t just ask for a potential customers time, instead offer to share what you’ve learned about a technology, market or industry.
(1) Is this is good advice for people taking meetings? At least one smart VC who saw this thinks not: “Feels very self serving or mercenary for the person who must get something in return. It takes away all possibility for serendipity by subjugating networking or serendipitous learning to pre-conceived notions.”
(2) But perhaps it’s still useful advice for people requesting meetings. If you have something to offer in return, mention it in your email. As Scott Britton said, “Signal that you’re going to provide value”.