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MG Siegler

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MG Siegler is a general partner at Google Ventures, where he primarily focuses on seed and early-stage investments. He has been deeply involved in the startup space since 2005, first as a web developer, then as a writer, and most recently as an investor and advisor.

He’s currently spending time in London to help get the Google Ventures Europe organization up and running. He remains active, looking at new investments in the U.S. as well.

Before joining Google Ventures, MG was a founding partner of CrunchFund, an early-stage investment fund. Prior to that, he reported on the startup world as a writer for both TechCrunch and VentureBeat. MG still writes a weekly column for TechCrunch on top of writing on his own sites and from time-to-time doing movie reviews in haiku.

Originally from Ohio, MG graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor before moving out west to work in Hollywood. One day, he will write that killer screenplay.

Companies and Investments

Google Ventures (general partner), Tech Crunch (columnist), Crunch Fund (general partner)

Lessons Learned

I find the key is to think of a day as units of time, each unit consisting of no more than thirty minutes. Full hours can be a little bit intimidating and most activities take about half an hour.

— Will Freeman, About a Boy

I have very poor time management skills. It’s not that I sit around and do nothing — quite the opposite: once I commit to doing something, I have a hard time stopping. This often makes me late for basically everything in life. And on the flip side, it makes starting larger activities, like writing, even more daunting. I basically have to block off hours at a time.

When I was a full-time writer, this was less of a problem because I basically had one job: to write. Sure, I had a meeting here or there, but rarely more than one in a day. And often none at all. I was just chained to my desk all day, doing one thing. My calendar was simple.

As an investor, my calendar is the exact opposite. I’m in meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting. As you might imagine, such a schedule exposed my time management issue. At first, this was a cause of great stress. But now, 18 months in (I can’t believe it has been 18 months either), I think I finally have a solid system down.

30-minute meetings.

Obviously, this system won’t work for everyone. And indeed, it will be far from ideal for many people. But I’ve been pretty amazed how much more I can get done in a day by sticking to my Will Freeman-esque units of time.

Previously, I would put a meeting on my books and leave it set for the setting that is the default on most calendars: one hour. Not only is a full hour intimidating — you only have 24 of them in a day, and really only 16-18 waking ones, and that’s if you’re always working — but I have found it to be excessive in the case of most meetings.

(Just to be clear, I’m talking about initial meetings here. Obviously, there often are plenty of reasons why longer meetings will be necessary on the road to an investment.)

When you go into a meeting knowing it’s set to be an hour long, I’ve found that all parties (myself included) will go out of their way to make sure they take up that full hour. That often means padding at the beginning of the conversation (the weather, sports, etc). And fillers at the end (unnecessary questions, “what’s the rest of your day look like?”, etc).

For whatever reason, it seems to be built into our psyche that it’s rude to end a meeting early. So an hour meeting has to be an hour…

…Or more! Often, I’d find my hour meetings spilling beyond the 90-minute mark as well. Again, once I start something, I have a hard time stopping. This was the destroyer of entire days.

30-minute meetings are so much sweeter. As long as you make the length clear at the beginning of the meeting, I find that everyone (again, myself included) gets right to the point and cuts out a lot of the filler and padding that makes up a ridiculous amount of every conversation.

I know that may sound a bit crass. But pay attention to the next conversation you have — how much of it is filled with things that really don’t need to be said? A lot.

Sure, that’s a part of human nature and society — maybe you will make a connection with someone by something said in the filler time. But again, as I’ve been sticking to these 30-minute meetings, I’ve found that all parties are much happier. Entrepreneurs can get back to work. I can take some time to process the meeting rather than rushing to the next one that I’m already late for.

Inspiring Quotes

If you start painting yourself into a corner, life starts shutting down. There is always hopefully a next.

Les Wexner

I find that when I write I need things to be quiet, but when I design, I can’t bear it if it’s quiet.

Jony Ive

The worst work I did was from 2001 to 2004. And the company paid a price for bad work. I put the A-team resources on Longhorn, not on phones or browsers. All our resources were tied up on the wrong thing.

Steve Ballmer

I agree that taxation should shift away from taxing labor. It doesn’t make any sense that labor in the United States is taxed so heavily relative to capital. It will make even less sense in the coming years, as robots and other forms of automation come to perform more and more of the skills that human laborers do today.

Bill Gates

With anything new that we do, and obviously we’ve done a lot of new things, there’s certainly a wide range of outcomes. We certainly understand that. We try to learn from everything that we do as we launch new opportunities.

Tom Szkutak

MG Siegler's Quotes

In honor of the Royals making the World Series, I will act as I did the last time they were in a World Series and spit up my mashed carrots.

MG Siegler

I think we take @uber for granted these days. Then you find yourself in Prague where the taxis are a big con and the magic is clear again.

MG Siegler

Securitys reaction: coordinated face palm.

MG Siegler

And yes, he had removed everything else: belt, shoes, keys, pocket change. But didnt seem to realize he was on his phone.

MG Siegler

A first: just saw someone attempt to go through a metal detector while continuing to talk on his phone. And he was shocked when it went off.

MG Siegler

Influential Books

Anthony Bourdain - Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (P.S.)

Brian Greene - The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

Jack Kerouac - On the Road


Paul Papadimitriou, Tom Warren, Brady Phelps, Paul Haddad, Bill Simmons