Hard to read stuff like this IMHO. Grew up as an brown man after 9/11. Been called lots of names, "random" searched at the airport, etc.

Yet, this is an extremely privileged take.

Where you are from is the #1 first question asked by people I met while traveling.
Asking your ethnicity through the second question is such an opportunity to connect with people. If you say confidently and proudly where you are from, 90% of people will just continue to engage with you and ask more questions.

Most people aren't racist. They are race-curious.
There are horrible things happening to Asian Americans right now. That's the thing we should be focused on. Not whether you have to explain your complex identity to naive strangers who simply don't know the right way to engage their curiosity.
I don't deny that the question can have ill intent, but it usually doesn't. Also remember the context - you're a successful venture capitalist with millions of dollars to invest. 90% of the questioners are likely a lot less privileged than you are.

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More from @gaganbiyani

25 Mar
We'll be revealing our name next week!

There's very little out there about naming and domain name negotiations, so I thought I'd share a bit of our story... There were 2 steps:

1) Create a "short list" of names
2) Acquire the domain

The story of how we did it 👇🏾
We enlisted two of our investors to help:

1) @hiiamArielle at First Round who ran us through a naming process (for free)

2) @krutal is a serial entrepreneur who also happens to be an excellent domain name negotiator

Talk about value-add!
I like to use a temporary name for legal paperwork and investor pitches. At Sprig, it was "Fresh" and at NewCo, it is "Didactic"

Pick one you would never use so you don’t get tempted into using it bc of inertia...

Also don't indulge the name when other people use it publicly!
Read 21 tweets
25 Feb
Profile: @erenbali, CEO of the fastest growing healthtech co in America.

Eren grew up in post-1980-coup state terror, dad expelled for political dissidence, his mom the only teacher in the village

Since, he's founded 2 unicorns @udemy + @carbonhealth

This is a wild story 👇🏾
Eren’s parents were political activists and teachers, members of the Kurdish minority that has been persecuted in Turkey for generations.

They moved back to Durulova (pop. 330) to help teach the local population bc nobody else would.
His dad was regularly detained for months w/o charges due to his political activism. His mom raised 3 kids in a 800sqft house + taught grades 1-5 at the local school.

There was just 1 room for all grade levels. No heating or power.

Puts Snowpocalypse in Austin in perspective 😅
Read 24 tweets
13 Feb
Fundraising for first-time founders. This is a first principles thread on fundraising that should help any new founder understand how to raise money and what steps to take.

I've personally raised about $70M from 1500 investors & this synthesize a lot of my advice.

**Read On**
Step #1: Understand Venture Capital

So many founders message me asking for advice on raising capital, yet they haven’t bothered to actually understand how VC’s work. If you don’t understand why investors invest and what they look for, how will you convince them?
VC is a hits-driven business that relies on the top 1% of companies to succeed. Show them that if you do succeed, you’ll be huge by sharing:

1. You have product/market fit, or a path to getting there.
2. If you’re right about #1, you could eventually be a $1B+ company.
Read 16 tweets
2 Feb
Introducing “Superpowers” - the underlying skills that help you succeed at anything

I spent nearly 6 months building this list and almost wrote a book on the subject

Instead, I’ve condensed that work into a pithy (and punchy) Twitter thread

**Read On**

Learn how to learn. If you do, it unlocks everything else. The deeper your learning practice, the more you can learn.

This is the ultimate superpower: not only can you learn new subjects; you can even learn to change your mind, your preferences and your mood.

Dispassionate self-awareness helps you improve, grow, and be happy.

Feedback is a gift. Inconsistency is growth. The more of your imperfections you accept, the less imperfect you will be.
Read 24 tweets
22 Jan
Before Udemy could succeed, we had to solve a chicken and egg problem.

These problems are a constant dilemma for founders. (ie. Funding is needed to scale but scale is needed for funding.)

Here's how we bumbled to a solution that kicked off our $3B business.

**Read On**
At Udemy, we needed instructors to attract students, but instructors would only come if they could sell their courses to students.

How could we get one party to show up without the other?

To compound this issue, we had no money, no credibility and no backers.
Step 1: Fake the Chicken

We had 0 courses but a built-out product. @erenbali created a crawler that went on YouTube and built courses out of YouTube playlists.

Now we had talks from Marissa Meyer & Mark Zuckerberg on our site so any users who came on had something to learn.
Read 16 tweets
12 Jan
I’m amazed at how many high-performers have serious or chronic health issues like TMJ, severe muscle pain, carpal tunnel.

I’ve dealt with my share of health issues; imho it all comes down to stress.

A story about stress and what I’ve learned from managing it...

**Read On**
I woke up with a pain in my side that wouldn’t go away. Hours later, the doctors were performing an appendectomy.

I was out for 2 weeks and it hurt like hell.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that I was fired 4 months later:

After Udemy, I got healthy and built a fitness routine.

My physical health was better than ever, and people noticed. I was the perfect brand ambassador for a healthy food company.

Problem solved, right?
Read 20 tweets

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