Sunday morning and I’m on my third cup of coffee and finally ready to make sense of my hour and a half with Scott Rafer. Rafery and I have many intersecting paths. His current partner David Cancel and I worked together 12 years ago. Many of his investors (First Round, Betaworks etc) have been my investors in current or other lives. He has candid, critical, and thoughtful opinions about numerous venture capital firms that we both know. I will not publish Scott’s insight on firms and how to raise capital. He has contrarian and, in my opinion, on-target assessments, but since I’m not a journalist I don’t think its assumed I will publish great stuff when I hear it. I hope Rafer writes it all down some day.
What I can tell you is Scott Rafer is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur and if you are one, you should find away to bring him into your world. He and I met because he posted on twitter that he had two open slots in New York and I grabbed one last week. Seems like he’s accessible to me. Scott is very focused on the value of data and how it can improve advertising performance. He is a founder of Mashery and Lookery (he’s the CEO) and lives a data life. Numerous nuggets came out of our conversation, but I want to focus on our conversation on the current economic environment.
“MacroEconomics are fiction,” claimed Scott three times during our conversation. He’s admirably cogent and intentionally hyperbolic in his arguments. His point, and I agree, is that the startup community — investors and entrepreneurs — are spending too much time worrying about the recession, global finanical challenges, and domestic financial policy. We both feel that entrepreneurs should focus on their energies on the economics of their particularly companies.
Some questions he asked me and might well be useful
Is there a value proposition where the marginal costs decrease with additional customers?
Will the nth data set collected create value for the individual sets collected before it?
Are you creating a product or service that increases the revenue or reduces costs for your target customers?
Can you prove that?
How are you measuring the results?
I met with Rafery to bounce ideas around on some things I have been thinking about and he helped simplify how I need to sharpen my thinking. Plus it was fun.
Here’s my only criticism of Rafer and our session together and it’s not an Internet issue.
Rafer grew up an admitted coservative to orthodox Jew and he and I are from the same generation. I’m making a movie –The AaronCohens — which he’s certain to like because it’s a determinedly comedic Jewish film that also will explore the importance of social media at the turn of this century.
Despite the fact that he goes to the movies twice a year and doesn’t really watch DVDs and liked my concept he was certain he would not see my film in the theater. I did not believe this and refuse to take no for an answer. I need to get Rafer to the theater — or at least — get him to Netflix the DVD.
He’s in the target audience and I don’t need data to tell me that.