Week 23: Sourcing, Screening, Valuing and Pitching

Stanford GSB Sloan Study Notes, Week 3 (23), Winter quarter

A large group of Sloan Fellows honoured Martin Luther King Jr on his day by driving up to Lake Tahoe. It was great to find out that snowboarding is like riding a bike – fun even despite of the ~7 year break I had.

The classes on free Mondays are not cancelled at Stanford, just moved to normally “open” Wednesdays. As a result, the past four working days were just insanely busy at school, but I fortunately still managed to make it to a visit to Dropbox HQ and attend a demo days preview at 500 Startups.

Covered in this issue:

  • Nuances of valuing bonds and stocks
  • Venture capital pipeline sourcing and screening
  • Avoiding the pitfalls of pattern recognition in picking VC investments
  • Managing a venture portfolio through economic crisis
  • Pitching tips
  • Creating a consumer brand of tech components and using social media
  • Eric Schmidt was back in his co-teaching class + many guests from Illuminate Ventures, Highland Capital, Accel, Intel, Klout, Gilt, Edelman

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Eesti 90 Logotype

Since the first day of this year my daily route from home has been hemmed in by outdoor banners for [Eesti 90](http://www.eesti90.ee/?lang=en) – the year-long calendar of celebrations of the 90th jubilee of the Republic of Estonia.
I like the logo design better by day. The “birth” theme of a stylistic plant is subtle enough to take anywhere between 5 seconds to 2 weeks for a person to realize the embedded 9 & 0 digits. And the aesthetic choice of typography next to it is as cold and Nordic as we are.
Full [brandbook and goodies are available here](http://www.eesti90.ee/?id=10548).
Thank you, [Kaarel Vahtramäe](http://www.velvet.ee/people_eng.php?pid=3&pg=6) @ [Velvet](http://www.velvet.ee/news_eng.php) for winning that logo contest last summer.

PR 2.0 and Brandless Marketing

My academic (albeit brief) and professional encounters with public relations and communication theory in a broader sense occasionally have left an itching about the image of that field itself. Transparent, targeted communications and some really smart people who know how to make it happen are often overshadowed by the common associations to long-legged blondes from beauty pageants and talking black into white.

I am very happy that Daniel has taken some holiday time to ponder about the topic:

Once I met a British colleague at a dinner table who said that he would like to do the “real thing” from time to time, “not just PR, because PR is about painting things”. I felt both sorry for him and angry because this is what most people think of PR. Our profession is flooded with too many persons who have built their careers on polishing what they or their clients “seem to be” and not developing what they “really are”. As many of them will not be able to reorient themselves towards different kind of professionalism, they will continue dragging the industry to the depths of disrespect.

I couldn’t agree more with (almost all of) his views on status quo and way forward.

Besides the communications consultancy story, he is also observing an interesting trend from the product marketing world. Some of the most desirable objects you own (or still lust for) don’t carry a logo any more. A product becomes the brand. If this alone doesn’t change the communication requirements, I don’t know what does.