As a quiet CTO, I often don’t initiate conversations with potential partners, advisors, or investors but that doesn’t mean I can’t help our CEO, Sean.
For example, before Dealflicks was a part of 500 startups, we hustled around unsexy.co. We pitched as many batch alumni as we could. Then when walking out of an auditorium we literally stumbled upon some dude coding on the floor. That dude turned out to be the CTO of livingsocial, Aaron Batalion. But neither Sean or I realized who he was at the time. Like a scout, I surreptitiously looked at his name badge. I muttered a quiet suggestion to Sean and before I knew it, Sean marched up to Aaron and introduced himself. Within a few minutes, Sean had received some great feedback about our business and planned on having a call with Aaron ASAP. While I can’t say the Aaron connection got us into 500 Startups, the fact that he was a 500 Startups mentor we could name helped as significantly. I’ll write about how I think we got into 500 startups in a future post.
My scouting skillz also came into play at a theater convention. Knowing who was a decision maker was key due to the limited time the convention allowed for networking. Sean and our SVP of Sales, Kevin, were often so focused on pitching they had little time to scout who they were talking to. I took it upon myself to mention to Sean and Kevin if some head hauncho at a theater chain was strolling by our trade booth. I would also regularly intercept that decision maker and quickly pass them to Sean or Kevin. This strategy ultimately helped us gain a footing in the Texas region.
Scouting doesn’t just take place at conferences. Kevin and I regularly research and qualify investor leads for Sean. Anyone who can help us bridge Hollywood and Silicon Valley is a unicorn, so we all need to keep our eyes peeled. (If you happen to be a unicorn, please email us at email@example.com).
I hope this post illustrates that even if you’re a quiet founder you have a lot to contribute. Play to your strengths. For me, that’s being observant at conventions and researching as much as I can.