Sal Matteis

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Opt-in intros are the new new standard

I often get asked by fellow entrepreneurs and/or business associates to intro them to someone. It happens all the time. I am sure you know what I am talking about.

Linkedin and Angel List makes it so easy for anyone to figure out who you are connected to. We should be able to leverage this data. But you might be surprised to know that most don’t.

You get the random email “Hey Xxx I’d love it if you could intro me to Yyy”.

Since I do care about the people in my network and their time a request so poorly formulated doesn’t work for a couple of reasons:

1) you are forcing me to think about WHY I should intro you and THEN do YOUR work of writing a Narrative that would make the person on the other side interested

2) Even if your narrative is great and I make the intro, the person on the other end of the line might not want to talk to you. For no other reason that they are busy and...

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Myth and Misconception: The odd tale of the founder who asked to sign an NDA.


An NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) is a formal document used in negotiations to avoid people spilling out critical information to competitors or using it for competitive deals.

I met this Swiss first-time founder calls me to say he just bumped into a stellar pre-seed early stage company I should know about.
They’ll close a seed round within 4 weeks - he tells me adding a 30 sec pitch on team, tech and market.

I am interested to learn more, ask him to send me more details with the premise to help with fundraising.

Next day he writes me a note with literally no extra content ending with a request to let him know if I am interested and prepared to sign an NDA so he can share the business plan.

I had heard that Swiss founders are still asking people to sign NDAs but I refused to believe it was really the case.

I wrote him back explaining why no serious investor is going to sign an...

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The Secret of Life According to Steve Jobs

Entrepreneurs are a specific bunch of individuals. They decide to leave their jobs and give up their apparent security to embark on unknown territory with the goal of building something meaningful that will change people’s lives for the better.

I believe this predisposition of entrepreneurs to build things and venture the unkown should apply to everyone and we should be educating our kids to do that.

You can do anything and accomplish whatever you want in life.

Every time I doubt this. I go back to watching a short video from Steve Jobs.

*The think I would say is…

When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

But life. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one...

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A value-based approach to Mentorship: what to look for when you don’t know what to look for. Aka: mentorship for dummies.


You read the stories and watch movies of how young and unexperienced Mark (Zuckerberg) found in Sean Parker (founder of Napster) an incredible advisor who helped accelerate Facebook to stardom.

Steve Jobs met his first mentor, Robert Friedland, at college in the early 1970s. In a recent biography by Walter Isaacson, a mutual friend Daniel Kottke recalled their relationship:

“Robert was very much an outgoing, charismatic guy, a real salesman. When I first met Steve he was shy and self-effacing, a very private guy. I think Robert taught him a lot about selling, about coming out of his shell, of opening up and taking charge of a situation.”

Reality check

The reality is there are way more cases of mentors who are really not that helpful. You might be shocked (not) to know that it is not because people try to be unhelpful or have a hidden agenda. The fundamental problem is that...

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email and the future of communication


  • Everyone of us spends a minimum of 2 hours a day in email.
  • McKinsey found that email takes up 35% of workers time.
  • The more you dig into the problem the more you realize email is far from being perfect and is perceived as a necessary evil by most.
  • Email is being (and will continue to be) replaced by an array of job-specific apps that are more fit for purpose by either automating the process of sending or completely replacing email. One such app is Slack — which has completely changed the way teams collaborate.
  • I think that the future of email is in Productivity. More and more I see it as connecting individual notifications that come in from all separate job-specific apps allowing us to consume and produce without drowning into a world of scattered systems.

The first email was sent by Ray Tomlinson to himself in 1971.
By early 90s email was the queen of communication and...

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What Yahoo + Tumblr Means for Everyone.

As Yahoo buys Tumblr I have looked at what it means for the two companies and the ecosystem they live in.
Note: this post was written 1 year ago. Republishing it here.
Disclaimer:I left Yahoo 1+ Years ago. Everything in this post based on my personal knowledge and not - in any way - related to insider information.


Appointing Marissa to lead Yahoo meant betting on Product Innovation
Yahoo needs to make big bets like buying Tumblr
No one can guarantee the combo will succeed but potential upside is HUGE for both companies
The worse it can happen is that Yahoo+ Tumblr will fail but Tumblr is at risk of failing on its own
The Community has made Tumblr and will continue to mark Tumblr’s success. For as long as Yahoo doesn’t mess up with the community people will continue to use Tumblr.
While I don’t have enough data, I remain cautiously optimistic on the deal (v.s. buying Pinterest...

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The value of time: don’t stand people up


Time is the most valuable asset one has. In the realm of GM (General Relativity) in which we all live, time doesn’t come back. It cannot be stopped and cannot be regained.

If you really have to cancel meetings last minute do it graciously and ahead of time.
Real life scenario: You ask someone to donate their time to discuss an opportunity. Sending a note when the meeting is meant to be started is never okay.

Your Reputation Sticks The message you send is: I don’t really care that much (fact is you probably don’t). I value my time probably more than you value yours (and mine). So next time you are going to ask for a meeting I am not going to give a damn.

*Good things spread. Bad things spread faster. * You just created bad karma and likely if someone is going to ask me about how good you are I’ll probably say Not sure but they stood me up a few times.

People who get shit done...

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Great ideas often look like bad ideas


Good ideas are often dismissed as bad ones. It shouldn’t stop founders from giving it a proper run. This post was inspired by a talk that Chris Dixon gave at YC School last year. Chris essentially went through some of the learnings of what makes good ideas (link at the end of the post).

  • Good ideas that look like bad ideas start off as toys –&gt Someone (often an engineer/hacker) within an organization starts tinkering with something that looks silly –> e.g. Steve Wozniak developing what turned into the macintosh. Twitter (back then called twttr) came out of an experiment at Odeo back when SMS / Texts (which were by then very popular in Europe) were surfacing in the US. Since the SMS technology wasn’t quite established the founders could imagine such a service to run on the public internet.
  • Good ideas that look like bad ideas are a small part of something bigger (it’s called...

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