The Email Listservs – Where Startups Talk Everyday

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Starting up is tough and most people in your address book can’t help you. That’s why we created the Philly Startup Leaders email listservs.

Our main listserv, PSL-Talk, is an ongoing conversation between PSL members. It’s an open forum for asking and answering questions, exchanging ideas, sharing news and more.

Our secondary listserv, PSL-News, is used by the PSL leadership to announce events and share big news. It’s designed to be a low-volume list for members of the ecosystem who are not active in PSL but want to know about our major events.

The PSL-Talk listserv is where the action is.

How to Use PSL-Talk

The PSL-Talk community shares one common goal: to provide value to each other. It’s because of this value that we’re eager to receive PSL-Talk e-mails in our otherwise overloaded inboxes.

A top priority for the community is to make newcomers feel comfortable asking for what they need. We don’t want anyone to walk on eggshells. So if you’re not sure whether something is appropriate, go ahead and post it. As in your own startups, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to wait for permission.

That said, we want to give you a sense of what our members tend to find valuable and what some members find annoying.

Topics Usually Considered Valuable

  1. Questions and requests for help
  2. Sharing expertise
  3. Sharing good content and resources
  4. Good news about your startup
  5. Looking for team members
  6. Community events (one announcement per event please, no repeat reminders)
  7. Requests for service provider recommendations
  8. PSL meta-discussion (such as how to make PSL better)
  9. Beta test requests
  10. Building a team, looking for partners or looking to join a team

Topics Sometimes Considered Annoying

  1. Politics and religion
  2. Multiple reminders for non-PSL events
  3. Vote our company up on killerstartups, etc.
  4. Looking for a job requests
  5. Confidential or sensitive info
  6. Irrelevant info (“I’m selling girl scout cookies”)
  7. Straight pitches
  8. Unnecessary reply-alls (“Congrats!” or “Woohoo!” in response to an announcement)
  9. Cross posting your latest blog entry

A simple rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t say it into a megaphone, it’s probably not appropriate for the listserv.

Some Examples to Illustrate

If you offer a service, it’s annoying to blast the listserv with what you do:
“I help people improve their SEO. Call me.”

Instead, share your expertise in a way that’s valuable to everyone:
“In my experience, here are three things you should always consider… 1. 2. 3.”

Remember that an opportunity to share your expertise is the best kind of pitch.

We always like good news! For example:
“I just sold my company to Oracle. Also, my bar mitzvah is next week.”

But try not to reply to hundreds of people with a one-liner:
“Mazel tov!”

Most of us support vote-us-up requests:
“My startup is in second place on Bloblive, but only 50 votes behind, help me out, PSL.”

But don’t go overboard:
“OMG our startup was just featured on HotOrNot – can everyone pleeeaz log in and give us 10′s? We <3 you PSL.”

Startup humor is great:
“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6IQ_FOCE6I”

But this is crazy talk:
“I need an investor for my social network. Anyone know rich people?”

If someone commits a faux pas, let them know privately and nicely:
“Hey – It’s probably better that you reply directly to the poster rather than to everyone.”

Not like the following (an actual email from the early days of PSL)
“Nice man, how about we save the Reply-All’s for something effective to say.”

Finally, our members are often happy to help you test your product or service. Especially if we can give feedback.

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