Rude VC: The importance of blogging for entrepreneurs

Jan 29, 2013
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blog_limitlessThe entrepreneurs with whom I work closely are familiar with my repeated encouragement that they blog on a regular basis. Perhaps encouragement, as my portfolio companies might suggest, is too soft a word; unrelenting nagging is more like it.

I’ve often felt like a lone voice in the wilderness on this topic, at least in France. Indeed, maybe the blogging habit comes more naturally in cultures that don’t frown upon self-promotion. However, I submit that regular blogging is about far more than shameless self-promotion; it’s about communication of thoughts, transparency in opinions, and beta-testing ideas with the sounding-board of your readers.

Despite my conviction, I’ve never been particularly effective in convincing my portfolio company CEO’s to adopt a blogging routine. Accordingly, it was with great enthusiasm and even a sense of vindication that I discovered this blog post called Why Every Entrepreneur Needs To Blog by former entrepreneur-turned-VC Charlie O’Donnell. Here’s my recap of the key benefits of blogging for entrepreneurs, largely inspired by Charlie’s post.

  1. Being able to innovate requires both intuition and creativity. Regular blogging hones both skills, by training the mind to be more perceptive to patterns and recognize trends.
  2. Writing things down forces you to sort your ideas with clarity, helping you to separate the signals from the noise in your mind before articulating them openly.
  3. Blogging can establish you as a thought leader in your domain. It allows you to champion your startup’s space and the trends behind it. It’s a way to seed ideas with journalists, over time encouraging the press to seek your expertise on the dynamics of a market in flux.
  4. It’s also a long-term recruiting tool. Blogging about your vision creates a continuous, long-term narrative that over time can represent your most persuasive tool to convince talented people to join you in your high-risk, low-pay adventure.
  5. This narrative you repeat via blogging also of course builds your company’s brand, generates inbound interest, and creates sustainable competitive advantage.
  6. Every startup in which I’ve ever invested was led by an entrepreneur that successfully formed a long-term relationship with me (and reciprocally, thanks to this relationship accepted me as a VC partner). Blogging is one of the best ways to craft such a relationship.

But my summary doesn’t do justice to the way Charlie has articulated the importance of blogging for entrepreneurs, so I encourage to you to read his post and reference it on your permanent bookmark list of internet wisdom.

Finally, for similar reasons, I submit that the importance of blogging extends to VCs too. Far from comparable to my blogging VC peers, I still try to practice what I preach by striving toward a weekly cadence of writing (most of which I archive here). I recall incredulously asking a very smart classmate in my electrical engineering undergraduate program why he switched into the English department to become a writing major. His response: “College is meant to be a time of self-discovery, and I learn more about myself every time I write.”