Champagne Moments, Taking Stabs, & The Art of Following Up

Plus, financial models, pitch deck perfection, cold start problems, Ted's skincare regimen, and an intro to Bottlecode.

Champagne Moments, Taking Stabs, & The Art of Following Up

Hello friends!

This week was one of those weeks where nothing seemed to go the way I thought it would. For example:

That said, some good stuff did happen. The big one...

My kiddo turned seven! This means I've kept a human alive for seven years. I'm extremely proud of myself.

To celebrate, I gifted myself a new tote bag from Moop Shop.

Treat yo self this weekend.
Happy Friday, friends!

Once Again, I'm Saying...

Since I'm in the process of founding a new thing from scratch, I'm back in the habit of saying to myself over and over again, "This Better Work."

It's always scary tackling something this big, but one of the things that keeps me going is knowing that Hooman will help a lot of founders get their ideas off the ground and into the growth stage faster than they could've imagined.

When I started writing my book in 2020, the publisher asked all of the authors in my cohort to answer the following question(s):

What's your champagne moment? How will you know you succeeded in reaching your goal for your book?

My response: When I receive an email from someone I helped by sharing my story.

Since publishing, I've heard from readers all over the country – and it never gets old. Every single one still feels like a champagne moment. I'm basically drunk on champagne at this point!

Here's one I got this week – all the way from California 🌴🌴🌴

I binged your book this week and wow, your story was so raw and vulnerable. Thank you for writing it. I'm not a founder, but I've worked super close to them and been around the tech scene for a while. There are a lot of inequalities that aren't talked about, so thank you for sharing them with the world. Thanks for fighting this fight! I hope we can connect.

If you haven't picked up a copy yet, do it!

I promise you'll learn something.

The Financial Model

This week, the team (with help from one of our favorite advisors, Matt Harbaugh), tackled one of the most crucial elements of the studio:

The Financial Model.

When it comes to a startup studio, there's more than one way they can be financed and managed. While we'll be working through the details of this in the first couple of weeks of the GSSN Startup Bootcamp, the team wanted to take a stab at the financial model in advance so we could go in with a solid foundation – and on the same page.

I'm glad we stabbed.

If you're in the early stages of startup life and know that you want to raise VC money, but haven't yet taken the time to build a model, do it now. It really is the foundation from which every conversation will stem.

Read the full blog post here.

Meet Bottlecode

Up next in our tour of The Fund Midwest's investments is Bottlecode!

Forecast to reach $166 Billion by 2022, the men's skincare market is on an explosive growth trajectory. And when it comes to skincare, men want solutions, not more products.

Bottlecode is the one-stop-shop for men's skincare, providing education, expert advice, and a suite of highly vetted men's skincare products.

Learn more about the company, the founders, and Ted Serbinski's skincare regimen in this blog post!

Read the full blog post here.

Don't Sell Yourself Short

I'm always looking for tips, tricks, and tools to help sell whatever it is that I'm selling at the moment. Here are a few that stood out to me this week.


Recommended by one of the best startup CEOs I know, Ryan Green from Gridwise, Pitch provides the best parts of productivity, design, and presentation software to help teams create beautifully designed decks in minutes.

I just started using Pitch to build the fundraising deck for Hooman. I absolutely give it 👍👍

Email Resources for Creators (from Jason Resnick)

You're reading my email right now, so obviously I believe in email marketing. Of the resources listed here, I've used Unsplash, ConvertKit (what I use to send this email), and Grammarly. I've added Litmus, SparkLoop, NeverBounce, Really Good Email, and Very Good Copy to the "Test This Soon" list. I'll keep you posted!

Landing Page Creation Tools (from Neil Patel)

You gotta send that traffic somewhere! I'm a HUGE PROPONENT for building landing pages. Overviews of these tools are included: Swipe Pages, Unbounce, Leadpages, Hubspot (I find their landing page tool subpar, TBH), and Wix. Not included, Webflow (which I love) and Instapage (which I used to love, but it got too expensive).

Here are seven ways to segment your landing page visitors, from Wordstream.

Follow-up! (from Brandon Brooks)

If you're going to spend all this time building pitch decks, emails, and landing pages, you better learn to follow up. It's truly the key to success.

Hop on over to Twitter to check out this thread from Overlooked Ventures' Brandon Brooks.

Read More Books in 2022

At the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I was going to get back in the habit of reading daily. For a couple of reasons:

  1. I find it relaxing. I read at night when I hop into bed. If I don't read, I tend to work, so this forces me to take a break.
  2. I'm pretty sure it makes me a better writer.

I wondered if that second one was actually a thing, so I did a Google search and, according to Healthline, it's true. A few other benefits to reading include: strengthens the brain, alleviates depression, and increases lifespan!

In addition to reading more, I also decided that I was going to flip the script this year and read two leisure books for every business book I pick up. AND, I'm not going to read all sci-fi (which tends to be the genre I lean into hardest).

Every few editions, I'll share what I've tackled so far in 2022. Here's the list so far.

I highly recommend all of them! But, knowing this audience, you're more interested in the business stuff, so here's a little bit about The Cold Start Problem.

Written by Andrew Chen, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, The Cold Start Problem explores one of the key secrets of successful startups: how to establish and harness network effects – what happens when products get more valuable as more people use them.

The book features interviews with the founders/teams behind Slack, Clubhouse, Zoom, Twitch, Tinder, Reddit, Uber, Airbnb, PayPal, and more.

If you're read anything great lately, send a recommendation my way!  

Until next time,


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