This is the company blog for megaventory, an online software that helps small businesses that buy, sell and manufacture physical products to manage sales, purchasing, manufacturing and inventory. We blog about new features and updates but also about enterprise software, small businesses, cloud computing and the industry in general.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

How we met Mark Suster: a non stalking approach

VIP people are difficult to get a meeting with. So, how do you get to arrange a meeting with them? One may follow the stalking approach which Christine Comaford supports that worked for her every time. However, at the end of her post, she felt she had to ask for apology from the person she met (in her case Steve Jobs). Why? Because stalking just doesn’t feel right. And when you approach people in such ways, the problematic nature of this approach usually sticks around for quite a long time, even if the two parties grow a business or friendly relationship afterwards.

There are numerous alternative ways to approach someone famous; simple and innovative ways mostly work. If you are an entrepreneur, you should know that Mark Suster is a VIP in this ecosystem. Here is what we did do get to meet him.

Our technique was inspired by Alec Brownstein, who placed an Ad while he was looking for a new job. If you don’t have the time to go through the above post, here is a short video that explains what this guy did.

Brilliant! Think of it as waiting for the fish to come to the bait. Then, the only think you have to do is just wait (it is not unusual to forget you placed the bait out there in the first place). This is how our Ad looked like:

In our case, we got the idea a bit further by also adding a nice landing page. The landing page included a small gift: a handmade sketch of Mark Suster and looked like this:

(kudos to isketchyouridea for the handmade sketch)

So, not only you inform someone of your presence and intentions, you do it unobtrusively (no stalking) and you also give a small personalized gift that can draw a positive reaction and a smile. Here is how Mark Suster reacted (twitter screenshot):

Great! Everything is going according to plan.

So, next step is to connect. We screwed up a bit here because we did not know how to connect. The easiest think that comes to mind is to use e-mail and that was what we did. Unfortunately, Mark Suster is known for not responding much to e-mails and we did not do our prior research on that. So, two of our e-mails and reminders went unanswered and we thought that it just did not work out. Then, after nearly 3 months, an e-mail pops in our inbox:

“Were you the team that wanted to meet?”

Wow! Mark Suster was actually looking for us in the internet. He visited our website and made the step to connect to us. We replied back and at the same day we set up a later meeting in his offices in LA. The reason he searched for us after almost 3 months is that our approach towards him made a very positive impression. One that I doubt you could have with the stalking approach.

I am not suggesting you should copy the same approach nor that you shouldn’t do so. This post is about expressing innovation in the approach procedure just as you express innovation with your startup. It is an example of thinking out-of-the-box (again, the original idea is not ours but Alec Brownstein’s) to get from point A to B.