3 Tell-Tale Signs You Need to Write a Book (Case Study from #TEDxBAW)

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Last week, I had the pleasure to attend the TEDx Bay Area Women event, which highlighted speakers
doing great work in the areas of global and social entrepreneurship. There was, of course, significant discourse on empowering Africa and women worldwide, and why more women need to get involved in starting and funding technology start-ups right here in the United States.

[Click here for for a tweetview of the event.]

One speaker to note was Ann Winblad. Ann Winblad is the co-founder and a Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners (a Venture Capital company), which is solely focused on software investing and “manages over $1 billion in cumulative capital.”

Winblad shot off tons of “not-so-shocking” statistics regarding  the VC community. Most notable, that the majority of venture capital to distributed to white men, who are graduates from Harvard or Stanford, very similar demographics to the majority of VCs (White men over 40 who are graduates from Harvard or Stanford).

Winblad encouraged the women in the audience (and elsewhere) to become Venture capitalists to stop the cycle, so to speak. She mentioned that in 23 years, no mother has called to ask how their daughter can get in the VC industry, but she get fathers consistently asking about how their sons can make it a career.

Then her speech was over.

About two dozen women rushed over to Winblad after the event to ask individual questions on how they can become a VC. Questions such as: How can I become a VC? Do you have any resources? What are the next steps? What should I put on my resume? And on and on. It took about an extra 35-40 minutes for Winblad to field all of these questions.

Obvious that scenario doesn’t work very well.

Many of the questions went unanswered or she just scratched the surface. Many of the women needed more information on how to get started, or what would be the next steps.

All of these problems could be solved if Winblad had a book or ebook called, How Women Can Get Started in the Venture Capital Industry (you get where I’m going here.)

As I viewed this interaction, I realized that there were 3 signs that Winblad needed a book.

1) Answering Individual Questions is not possible at such a large event. The fact that two dozen or so women surrounded her to ask her individual questions on how they can get started in the VC industry. Obviously, they were excited about learning more. Answering everyone’s questions doesn’t scale, but if she had a book to refer them to (there was actually a book store at the event), there’s a good chance that they would buy the book to answer the questions that they needed answered.

2) All careers need a “How To” Book. The fact that for 23 years, Ann has been fielding calls from fathers about getting their sons into the VC industry. Obviously, people need a “how-to” book on this sought-after career.

3) A book is available anytime, anyplace, when you are not. The fact she had to stay additional 40 or so minutes to answer people’s questions . That’s wonderful that Ann stayed after the event to answer questions, but we always don’t have the time to do that. It would have disappointing if she needed to zoom of to the airport and not answer their questions. A book is available anytime, anyplace, when you are not.

All of the above have to do with leveraging your time for the maximum benefit of your audience and yourself. In all three cases, if she referred them to a detailed book it would have been more efficient in terms of time, resources and energy.

Disclaimer: Ann did write a book in 1990 called, Object Oriented Software.

 

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