Aviel Ginzburg. Startup founder turned VC and a dad.
Geek At Sea

Aviel came to a Startup Weekend in Seattle not knowing anybody, and left well connected. How did he do it?

He volunteered for a role that nobody wanted, and he did a good job. HIs job, connections, and eventually funding for his startup all followed from a simple act of doing what others would not.

Aviel new both Marc Nager and Clint Nelsen, and he was the one to introduce them to Andrew Hyde and help negotiate the sale of the company.

Can this exist > should this exist > how does this exist ?

Aviel and team founded their company as "Untitled Startup," raised funding without an idea, and did not have a particular idea of what to build.

Eventually they realized they could build a company around Twitter's streaming API. They built a prototype over the weekend, and launched it.

Shockingly, people wanted to pay them for this new product. The team started listening to their customers, and building the tools their customers wanted. They followed the money.

Eventually they changed their name from "untitled startup" to "Simplymeasured."

Now Aviel advises founders to not raise any capital at this stage. He says you should not commit to playing a game, until you clearly know the rules.

Founders who become VCs often imagine themselves in shoes of the founders who pitch them. In reality though, everyone is on their own journey, everyone has their own issues going on, and everyone's experiences are unique. It helps to understand.

Aviel says that is an illusion. A parent is more like an advisor. You can't tell your kid what to do, they have their own agenda. All you can do is guide them.

The first time his kid laughed, unconstrained and magical. That was the point where Aviel realized his baby was really keen on living, on being alive.

When you have a kid, some parts of your life remain the same, while other change, fundamentally. At some point you have to figure out if you still like your partner, if you still get along. You have to figure out your home life, and at the same time manage how to run your company while also being present around your family. You have to reprioritize everything.

"For the 1st 6 months, you're gonna be in reactive mode, like if you're trying to learn a new skill at work. I learned a new muscle. It's like lead an initiative. You're not going to be doing it justice, especially for the 1st 6 months, because you're trying to readjust your own life and figure out who you are. So I think being having a good support network and being realistic about what you're going to be able to accomplish and then also practicing the ways that you're going to need toe work rather than suddenly being blindsided by the fact that you have all these other priorities. There's something I would encourage everyone to do, and I definitely have the support network. But I was I was probably missing the other two in ways I should have had." - Aviel.

If you can figure out how to make less decisions, but make them better, that is one version of working smarter rather than harder.

Aviel started taking his family to every one of his work trips. This way he gets to be with his family, and they get to travel.

Aviel wants to see his son grow up so they could start having actual insightful conversations together.

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