Dave Pell

Writer of NextDraft & Angel Investor

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON March 25, 2016

Discussion

Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
I’m Dave Pell. Each morning I open about a 100 news tabs and then begin my process of finding and sharing the day’s most fascinating news in the NextDraft Newsletter and App. I’ve also been investing in internet startups for a couple decades. Some people have a face for radio. I have a face for tech. Fire away!
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
Hi Dave, thanks so much for joining us and a big fan of your newsletter. I would love to hear what have been the most successful methods you have used to grow your email newsletter? What have been the major transition points?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@harrystebbings To be totally honest (I won't limit other answers to that standard), I really suck at promoting my newsletter even though it's the most important part of my creative life and I try to pimp it as much as I can. But my major transition point came when I stopped trying to be exhaustive in what I covered, and instead stuck to what I was interested in. More personality, less curation. That's when sign-ups started flowing.
Andrea Marcovici@andrea_marcovici
@harrystebbings I write a weekly blog, that seems/actually takes hours to compose. I can't imagine writing daily. Dave, I was wondering if your style has changed since you started writing. My editor has asked me to throw all of those English class rules out the window. Incomplete sentences, colloquial phrases, first person narrative...all are allowed. I actually found my readership has increased the more I talk about myself, especially in the introduction and conclusion paragraphs. What have you discovered about writing style over the years?
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What are your favourite questions to ask founders?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@bentossell Great question. I mostly like to ask them about their product and their background to see if we get along (which is a key factor for me). I generally invest with a very smart colleague who always asks about their Shazam moment - when did they first realize this was the right product. If the person pitching makes it seem like the greatest deal ever, I usually ask: "So why come to me?" Mostly I'm looking for red flags. Biggest lesson in 20 years of investing: Red Flags never disappear. They only get worse. 100%.
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
Hey everyone. Thanks for coming. Here we go.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you had a billion dollars what would you do with it?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@bentossell Tell my dad, "Hey I made a billion dollars." To which he would say, "I still think you should have gone into real estate."
Charles Jo@charlesjo · Creator, Startup Study Group (SSG)
What is your investment thesis?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@charlesjo Invest early. Worry.
Charles Jo@charlesjo · Creator, Startup Study Group (SSG)
@davepell there's gotta be a perfect German word for this. If not, let's coin investearlyworry.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
I think you're one of the most underrated tech tweeters (twitterer? tweeple?)... How do you feel about the future of Twitter?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@andrewett Andrew, goddammit I could not agree more. I should have a billion followers. Twitter's future as a product is great. They need to figure out how to please the market. They also need to learn from Slack. Their users are telling them what they want from the product. Also, they need to focus on their search results pages which are amazing and better than "Moments" which are too editorial for a product where users are supposed to be in charge.
Jonny Miller@jonnym1ller · Cofounder @Maptia
Next Draft is hands down the best thing to appear in my inbox... thanks for doing what you do! My question is: what's the best startup idea you haven't yet been pitched with?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@jonnym1ller That's a tough one. And I don't want to give away my multiple zillion dollar ideas. But someone should build a universal browser so we can drop all these apps on our phones and TVs. The world is more complicated now, not less. Remember teaching your mom to operate a VCR. Try to teach her how to watch one show on Amazon and then another on HBO Now (But not HBO Go). It's absurd.
Dennis Howlett@dennis_howlett · co-founder, diginomica
@davepell @jonnym1ller HBO Go is pants IMO
Sarah Cooper@sarahcpr · Comedian & Writer, TheCooperReview.com
Hi Dave! I love the design of your newsletter. How did you get to it? How much testing did you do before you got your email newsletter design, subject line, etc. right? Do you continue to do any testing now?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@sarahcpr Because I write everyday, everyday is sort of a test. I've been incredibly lucky to work with world class designers and engineers who treat NextDraft like it's a big deal. Brian Moco did my superhero logo, Bryan Bell handles site and app design, and Andrew Norcross built me a WordPress publishing system that allows me to push my stuff to two apps, email inboxes, the web and Apple News with one click.
Craig Halverson@craig_halverson
How do you stay disciplined and energized and having fun looking at a hundred tabs a day?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@craig_halverson I am an addict. But not to the news. To the publish button. I also love news and media. But it's the last tab (the one that I open to actually send my stuff out) that keeps me disciplined. It's really a gift to me.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What's something you've changed your mind about in the last year?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@jakecrump When Trump first started his stand-up comedy slash presidential bid, I thought the fact that he was shaking up the status quo could do something to make political debates, etc, a little more real. His success and the support he's received have made me realize everything about him is dangerous. And pretty depressing.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
How did you get into Angel Investing and what are your favourite things about it/what don't you like?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@bentossell I had a small stock portfolio. My friend was working at Venture Law group. So I asked him if I could invest in google and yahoo. He said, those rounds were closed. But others were open. So I got hooked. The best part of it is learning about new business and different industries. Every pitch is part of a free in person lecture series. I don't like the legal stuff and the terms. I haven't read a term sheet all the way through in 20 years.
George Murray@gmurray · Lead Product Designer, Roadtrippers
Dave, from time to time you take light jabs at various aspects of tech. It's pretty lighthearted but seeing how other terrible things grow when unchecked (like things that rhyme with "Drumpf"), are there any aspects of the tech industry you believe need to be called out before they go from joke to serious problem. Or are we already there? Thanks for your newsletter!
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@gmurray George, I try to be funny about the subject. But not light-hearted. I don't know a single person in our industry who doesn't worry about the downsides to tech -- not focusing, not spending enough time with kids, always being on. It's serious stuff. But there's no stopping this train. The key is not to try to pretend there aren't downsides.
Fiifi Deku@fiifi_deku
Hi Dave thanks for a great newsletter. In the process of arranging the order of each story how do you determine what is #1 to #10? How much brainstorming and what is your general source of inspiration for each story title or headline?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@fiifi_deku One is the hardest. I try to make that a personal interest story that a lot of folks will click on. Three is usually my hard news. And I try to lighten it up as I go down. My friend Rob is almost always online with me. And I almost always run the idea or ideas for number one by him. Couldn't keep this up without his support. (OK, Rob. Is that good enough?)
Yoann Lopez@yoann_lopez · CMO || comet
Hey Dave, what was the biggest news of your first newsletter? Why did you pick it?
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
What's one piece of advice you wish you got when you were young? Or any advice that you got, but that you brushed off only to find out that you should've take more seriously?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@jactorrez Bend your knees and watch the ball.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What are some of the best resources to start learning about becoming an angel investor? If you had to start from scratch as an Angel today, what would you do?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@bentossell Make friends with a good angel investor and try to go to pitches with them. Everything I know about investing I've learned from Bob Zipp of Amicus Capital. Without him, I'd be solely a humanities major.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@jakecrump One cushion over on this same couch in my office (each one seems to last for about five years). Also, I'd love to do some writing for TV. And I'm secretly planning an interview series.
Rob Dunn@rododu
Like a rockstar, do you ever use illegal substances to enhance your work?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@rododu Bill Clinton liked to say that he smoked pot, but didn't inhale. I took a hit in about 1993 and still haven't exhaled.
Don J. Kahn@kahdojay · Co-founder, Sous (sousapp.com)
@davepell @rododu indica or sativa?
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
Which investor do you most admire and why?
Dave Pell@davepell · Nextdraft and What Hurts
@andrewett My colleague Bob Zipp because he's 100% loyal, very smart, and one of my best friends. In the broader world, Reid Hoffman because he thinks big, Bill Gurley because he has often invested in my seed companies and made them bigger, and James Joaquin because he knows how to build the Obvious brand.