I'm David from On Deck. Our global fellowship supports founders with intros, retreats and more. AMA!

David Booth
12 replies
On Deck's ultimate goal is to be the "first place the best people look when thinking about starting or joining a new venture." We partner with world class investors and operators to share their knowledge and experiences with the community. Incredible people like Laura Deming, Founder of The Longevity Fund, Hiten Shah, Co-Founder of FYI, Sarah Guo, Partner at Greylock Partners, Soona Ahmaz, Co-Founder of Token Daily and Andreas Klinger, Head of Remote at Angellist. I've been in the startup game for a while now and excited to be here answering any questions you have about making, launching, building your network, getting lucrative introductions, our fellowship, community building in startups, living in the UK, New Zealand and US, or anything else! You can also check out our fellowship which we launched on PH a few weeks ago here https://www.producthunt.com/post...

Replies

Founder & CEO, Hustle Crew
Hi David, is the fellowship best for people who are still exploring ideas and possibly looking for co-founders or for makers who already have a product in development/launched?
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CEO at On Deck
@abadesi both! these days makers can build so much working nights and weekends, that often people have pretty well formed products and ideas by the time they come to us. Others are just setting out on the exploratory journey — and can still be a great fit for the community, particularly if they have broad, technical skills. By way of example, 60% of the people coming into the first Fellowship were already working on a specific idea, and the other 40% were "open to exploring."
COO & Founder
Hi David, We have developed a work management tool. I want you to ask your feedback on that. Please guide us with your experience. Regards
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CEO at On Deck
@ravigupta9363 Hey Ravi! Did you apply to On Deck? Or if you share links/resources happy to take a quick scan
COO @ Product Hunt
Hi David. Thanks for being here. What tips do you offer people who may find it hard to grow their initial network? For instance people outside the usual big tech hubs - London, SF, NYC etc? As well as people who may not have initial warm intros through attending prestigious schools, or from existing family/friends networks?
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CEO at On Deck
@ejsnowdon twitter is an obvious first step — I can reference so many great connections that have been formed, relationships built, friends made just through being curious and engaged, creating and sharing good content. An example is one of our On Deck EIRs, James Gallagher (https://twitter.com/jamesg_oca) lives in northern Scotland, but has emerged as a respected thought leader in the ISA space. As for "networking" — my colleague Erik Torenberg has some great thoughts on prioritizing building a valuable skill before trying to "network" too broadly, which I mostly agree with. See https://twitter.com/eriktorenber... for more!
Chef
Hi David! Thanks for being here. Love the idea of On Deck! Something that has always interested me is the realm of freelance consultancy , not sure what tips you would give to makers wanting to go down these this route but I'm sure any could be applied for all freelance ventures My question is around the idea of building a network, is there any tips / advice you would give to building up a network / audience that you can leverage for sustainable growth and client acquisition? Thanks in advance!
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CEO at On Deck
@aaronoleary hey Aaron — answered some of this above, but I agree! Lots of value to freelancers in particular for developing a network.. but again, i'd refine use of the term "network" to mean something closer to "respect" ... i.e. that you'd be better investing your time to developing rare & valuable knowledge / skills, engaging with and earning the respect of key, influential people in the customer base you want to engage. Your bottleneck usually isn’t that this person won’t get coffee with you — It’s that if you do, you risk not being worth their time. If you can refine the knowledge / skills loop first, when you do get coffee w/ them they’ll get value out of it, and they’ll want to do it again—refer you to others — or even reach out to you for coffee.
Founder & CEO, Hustle Crew
What are the values that define the On Deck community? What kind of profile of folks would you encourage to apply to the fellowship?
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CEO at On Deck
@abadesi one of our core values is along the lines of "ask not what the community can do for you, but what you can do for the community" — the people who get the most out of being part of On Deck are those who pay it forward. We saw some incredible examples of this in the last Fellowship — people volunteering up whole days/weekends to help their peers build MVPs, strategize sales, do product and user feedback sessions. Those were the same people who were then able to mobilize the support of the entire community when they needed help with something. Beyond this — we particularly want to encourage people from under-represented groups to join — the first cohort was around ~40% female founders, and we'd love to improve that further... there's no better place to start fixing diversity problems in the industry!!
Designer @ Snyk - Ex Product Hunt
Hey David! I would love to hear your thoughts on the benefits of finding a co-founder vs being a solo maker / founder. We see a lot of indie makers here on Product Hunt and would be interested to hear what you feel the advantages are to partnering up 👍 thank you!
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CEO at On Deck
@de good question!! lots of arguments both ways here — there's no easy answer. On one hand, the founder's journey is an incredibly hard one. It's not just the hours and physical demands — it can be incredibly mentally draining too. Having someone who is right there with you, helping bear the weight of the stress, happy to work for no pay when the bank balance gets low, 2x'ing your surface area (or more, if you have multiple founders) reduces the pressure on any one individual. On the other hand, a single founder business has far more equity to throw around for early hires, and could allocate even as much as 20-25% to option pools for the first 1-10 hires, giving you budget and flexibility to close senior hires with substantial skin in the game, and really build a movement behind you. You can allow some/all of this early group to use the term "founding team" which gives them some additional personal brand/alignment, and if you hire the right people, can get much of the support a true "co-founder" would offer. To me, it's a combination of ideation and timing —  with whom, and how did you come across the business you're working on, and is there someone you'd love to consider a true equal in building it for the next 10-20 years. if not, i'd lean towards solo founding and building a strong early team.