The perfect email

As you might imagine, I get many random inbound emails. Last I checked, I was getting about 500 emails a day, and about 50 of them a day are from people I don’t know. They often ask for advice, or just want me to look at their startup for investment. This is fine, I try to answer all of them. But I got one today that stood out. It didn’t feel “cold”, it felt well-researched and highly-relevant. Here’s what it said (put here with permission from the author):

Hi David,

I’ve got a startup related question for you that I think might be right up your alley.

We’re starting CriticalArc and we’re focussed on providing solutions to problems that depend on streaming status and location in real time. Things like duress and critical incident response. We’re building a very robust back end to support these mission-critical applications. We’ve got a preliminary landing page up here: and we’re planning to demo our first system at a startup event here in Sydney on 31st March….we’re currently engaging customers and coding like hell.

I know that you have a background in dispatch systems with Pinpoint and I was wondering if you had an opinion here: As a startup seeking investment and a scalable business, do you think we should be focusing on an infrastructure or solution play? Or could we do both to start with and decide to focus on either a general web infrastructure business or a dedicated solution business some time down the track?

Basically, out of the box, should we be SimpleGeo for realtime, or should we provide a solution like what you did with RightCAD at Pinpoint?

I’d love to know your thoughts.

As a separate bonus question, I was also wondering if you’re seeing much activity in this area at the moment? Is real time location hot like the groupon-clone thing that you’re probably being pitched every other day? Or do you think there is some space here? It’s a bit hard to judge from Australia presently.

Hey, thanks for reading this….you’re probably up to your eyeballs with Techstars applications at the moment. Good luck with the summer program.

Best Regards

Glenn Farrant

Here’s what I love about this email.

1 – He knows my background, and frames the question that he has with that relevant context.
2 – He understands who I am (references to Techstars).
3 – He gets that I’m seeing a million groupon clones and makes me chuckle a little.
4 – He’s clearly generally intelligent/articulate. His writing has an easy style.
5 – He speaks my language. He references “Pinpoint” (the previous company name, before it was bought by ZOLL and started being called that). He mentions “summer program” even though he’s in Australia where this will actually be winter time. He references SimpleGeo, another of my investments. He’s making the question easy for me to answer.

Of course, I try to answer every email I get, especially if it’s from an entrepreneur. But this one really stuck out and made me want to help. So I thought I’d share why that was.

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