Spearhead

Spearhead

spearhead.co
Naval on angel investing. David Sacks on scaling. On Twitter at @spearhead.


Rapidly Growing Valuations Shouldn’t Scare You Off
Jun 29 • 0 min
Humans are bad at understanding exponential growth
Reading Social Proof Is an Art Form
Jun 26 • 2 min
The ultimate social proof is a credible VC increasing their ownership
Social Proof Is a Valid Signal
Jun 22 • 1 min
If every investor brings new information to the table
Ask About the Metrics They’re Not Showing You
Jun 17 • 1 min
One weird trick to get the truth about metrics
It’s Easy to Exaggerate Early Traction
Jun 16 • 1 min
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes instead of fixating on traction
Everything Is a Proxy for Traction
Jun 12 • 2 min
The holy grail is explosive growth, stickiness and an ability to monetize
Early Winners Don’t Always Make It to the Finish Line
Jun 10 • 1 min
Competitors can catch up while the market’s still small
Invest in the First Credible Mover
Jun 8 • 1 min
Pick the right founder at the right time
Monopolies Fall When Platforms Shift
Jun 5 • 2 min
Companies that fail to innovate will get displaced
A Lot of Great Tech Businesses Are Natural Monopolies
Jun 3 • 1 min
Silicon Valley’s dirty secret
Great Companies Expand Their Markets
Jun 2 • 1 min
Seed investors can’t wait for obviously large markets
Invest in $0 Billion Companies
May 29 • 1 min
If you can’t make at least a 100x return, you’re not seed investing
Invest in Pure Tech Companies
May 27 • 1 min
Ask: What portion of every dollar invested goes to technology development?
Raising Money Without Any Product Is a Red Flag
May 25 • 1 min
If a team hasn’t built anything, what makes you think money will help?
Product Is the Resume of the Team
May 22 • 1 min
At the seed stage the product tells you what the team is capable of
Expanding Fast vs. Dialing in the Model
May 19 • 2 min
The investing criteria of growth investors determines the balance
In PayPal’s Early Days, We Lost Money on Every Transaction
May 15 • 1 min
The dot-com crash forced us to charge a fee
Get the Operation Working at a Small Scale
May 13 • 2 min
Know your unit costs, focus on pricing and prioritize zero-to-one problems
‘Tech-Enabled’ Often Means Thin Margins
May 11 • 0 min
The economics of tech-enabled businesses look like the businesses they’re replacing
Startups Didn’t Have to be Good at Accounting Until Software Ate the World
May 8 • 1 min
Pure software businesses never had to be cost-conscious
You Can’t Optimize Profits If There Are No Profits to Optimize
May 6 • 1 min
Scaling with negative unit economics leaves no profit to optimize
Negative Unit Economics Create the Illusion of Success
May 4 • 1 min
This leads to a brutal restructuring at massive scale
Startups Are Susceptible to ‘Happy Talk’
May 1 • 1 min
The burden of proof should be the same for good and bad news
Mature Your Culture as You Grow
Apr 30 • 1 min
What works at the early stage won’t work at scale
Nobody Wants to Give a Founder Tough Love
Apr 23 • 2 min
Smart founders ask people what they really think
Founder Psychology Is at the Heart of Most Blitzfails
Apr 22 • 2 min
When ‘good crazy’ turns into ‘bad crazy,’ the company goes off the rails
Culture Is a Macrocosm of the Founder’s Psychology
Apr 21 • 1 min
A founder’s strengths and weakness percolate into the company’s culture
Micro-Bubbles Are Constantly Building and Bursting
Apr 20 • 1 min
Companies that don’t adapt when a micro-bubble bursts will be swept away
‘High-Burn Startup Meets Macro-Shock’ Is a Recipe for Blitzfail
Apr 17 • 1 min
Coronavirus is this decade’s macro-shock
Moving Fast May Mean You’re Not Really Moving at All
Apr 16 • 1 min
Founders have to move incredibly fast to stay ahead of the competition
Startups Are a Race to Get to Scale
Apr 15 • 1 min
You’re better off blitzfailing than not blitzing at all
Blitzfail: Why Startups Go off the Rails
Apr 14 • 1 min
Companies that derail while they scale have common denominators
Repeat Founders Don’t Really Want to Start Over From Scratch
Apr 13 • 2 min
Test repeat founders for passion
‘First-Time Founders’ Often Have Been Tinkering for Quite a While
Apr 9 • 1 min
Their ‘first’ startup isn’t always their first startup
Avoid Teams That Would Sell Early
Apr 8 • 1 min
3x returns won’t move the needle on your net worth
Founders Almost Can’t Be Referenced
Apr 7 • 2 min
A founder who’s great for one business may be terrible for another
Your Reputation Is Built by the Companies That Are Doing Poorly
Apr 6 • 0 min
Don’t invest so much that you’ll behave badly when things get rough
Coachability Is Overrated
Apr 2 • 0 min
Great founders listen to lots of advice and follow little of it
You’re Not Investing in Nice People
Apr 1 • 2 min
Invest in people with high energy, intelligence and integrity
Invest Only in Technical Teams
Mar 31 • 1 min
If there’s no technical team, you’re not investing in technology
Invest in the Smartest Scientists in a New Field
Mar 30 • 2 min
You’re not going to become a great tech investor by reading TechCrunch
Don’t Fantasize About What You Would Do If You Were the Founder
Mar 25 • 1 min
You’re not running the company—you’re betting on the founder
You’ll Get Less Money in Your Winners
Mar 23 • 2 min
Always try to get your standard bite-size
You Can Give Every Deal One Fatal Flaw
Mar 11 • 1 min
A startup that breaks all the rules won’t get anywhere
The Best Deals Look Weird
Mar 9 • 2 min
If nobody thinks it looks weird, you’re making a consensus investment
Judgment Requires a Willingness to Be Unpopular
Mar 6 • 1 min
Groupthink leads to poor judgment
Are Good Investors Piling in the Round with You?
Mar 4 • 1 min
It’s a sign of good judgment when proven investors pile into the round
Pivots Mean Your People Judgment Really Matters
Mar 2 • 2 min
Bets on seed-stage startups are bets on founders
Judgment Is the Work You Do Before a Deal Arrives
Feb 27 • 1 min
Over time you’ll need less data to assess a deal
Judgment Gives You the Winning Lottery Numbers
Feb 25 • 2 min
But you still need a portfolio effect to be successful
Everybody Thinks They Have Good Judgment
Feb 20 • 1 min
It takes years to know if you have good judgment
Founders Backing Founders
Nov 11, 2019 • 2 min
Investing keeps founders sharp—and plugged into what the best founders are doing
Be Non-Consensus Right
Nov 4, 2019 • 1 min
You have to work from first principles and make up your own mind
Be a Shadow Co-Founder
Oct 28, 2019 • 2 min
Create your own dealflow by helping companies get started
The Best Deals Come from Your Network
Oct 19, 2019 • 1 min
Branch out from there after you’ve built your reputation
Don’t Build a Brand in a Narrow Vertical
Oct 14, 2019 • 1 min
If the market never shows up or shows up late, your brand is shot
My Original Brand Was in Growth Hacking
Oct 9, 2019 • 2 min
I pitched growth hacking to Twitter; they passed on it—but they let me invest.
There’s Very Little Innovation in Venture Capital
Oct 7, 2019 • 2 min
You have to be willing to do something that hasn’t been done before.
You Can’t Build a Brand by Aping Someone Else
Oct 4, 2019 • 2 min
The airwaves are too crowded for undifferentiated content and distribution.
You Need a Brand to Get into Hot Deals
Oct 2, 2019 • 2 min
A brand is an authentic reputation you have with founders and investors
Don’t Let Deals Pass on You
Sep 30, 2019 • 2 min
Most returns come from a few deals—don’t let them pass on you.
Investing Takes Capital, Judgment and Dealflow
Sep 26, 2019 • 3 min
You need to raise money, develop judgment over time and gain access to the right deals.
Being a Founder Your Entire Life Is a Tough Road
Sep 24, 2019 • 2 min
As the hits get bigger, it makes more sense to invest and a little less sense to start companies.
IPOs Are for the Last Investors in Line
Sep 19, 2019 • 3 min
Financiers now come to Silicon Valley to invest in companies before they get to Wall Street.
You’re Living Inside the Gold Mine
Sep 18, 2019 • 2 min
There’s no better place to invest today than technology.
Living in a Tech Hub Is Half the Battle
Sep 16, 2019 • 4 min
It’s a gold rush era in technology hubs like Silicon Valley.
Strong Opinions, Loosely Held
Sep 12, 2019 • 1 min
This is not investment advice; it’s just one unique approach to investing.
How to Angel Invest
Sep 9, 2019 • 1 min
A new podcast for angels in technology hubs.