Protip: don’t namedrop on the internet. Back in October, Betabeat interviewed Oren Bennett, an inexperienced but ambitious college dropout who was putting together a $100 million fund. In November, he told UNYStartups, ““I’ve talked to Brad Feld, Luke Nosek, Jim O’Neill, John Frankel, Eliot Durbin, Kirill Sheynkman and Murat Aktihanoglu. The list goes on of people who I’ve told about what I’m doing and have considered potential LPs.”
Oops! Don’t namedrop on the internet, because the people you name will probably see it. Mr. Feld clarified in Betabeat comments that he had spoken to Mr. Bennett for five minutes at an event (good memory!) and did not consider himself a “prospective LP.”
I was turned off by being publicly named as a prospective LP. If you had engaged with me in ANY substantive way first, I might have felt different. In your email you ask me to be a mentor. I say that I’m happy to go back and forth by email anytime. You never responded to that. Regardless of whether or not email is your way, we are now going back and forth publicly on the web, which is even more work in my book and less personal, which I find kind of ironic.
A month later–that is, yesterday–Mr. Bennett saw the comment and responded publicly on the web. “This begs the question, why don’t you consider yourself a potential LP?”
Mr. Feld gave him some real talk:
1. Zero followup. This is the first time you’ve contacted me since our five minute discussion.
2. No relationship: I wouldn’t invest in someone I didn’t have a relationship with. You’ve done nothing to develop that relationship other than mention me publicly as a potential LP. That turns me off.
3. No clear experience – either as an entrepreneur or investor: When we talked, you presented yourself as enthusiastically inexperienced. The only substantive thing I remembered from our conversation was that. It perplexed me, and turned me off.
Mr. Bennett produced a screenshot of an email he’d received from Mr. Feld, in which Mr. Feld offers to be a mentor. “Sorry – I didn’t remember that email but as you can see from it there was no follow up from you after that!” Mr. Feld writes. “My comment still stands on this – being publicly listed as a prospective LP when there is no relationship is equivalent to saying ‘every human on the planet is a prospective LP.’ It’s meaningless – and my comment was in response to that.” Every human on the planet is a prospective LP when you’re a hustler!