How I use Superhuman in venture capital

I am an ‘Inbox Zero’ person. I feel very uncomfortable with a full inbox that may contain matters needing attention.

Superhuman is how I never have that feeling.

#1 — Triage 50 emails in 2 minutes

A common experience for me is having a few back-to-back meetings and coming out with 50 new emails. It can be demoralising. With Superhuman, I can triage this very quickly. Here’s what I do. Go to the top of the list and hit one of these keyboard shortcuts for each message.

  • e — Mark the message as DONE. No action (including a long read) is required from me.
  • j — Move to the next message. I need to do something now, but I will finish the triage first.
  • h — Move to another time/place. See #2.
  • Ctrl u — One-click unsubscribe. This one feels good and stops the inbox creep of hundreds of email subscriptions.

#2 — Move work to a time that you can act

Triaging with h key is how to separate processing your inbox and doing the work.

  • Type the time in your day when you want to spend time doing the work for each email. e.g. ‘10am’ or ‘5pm on Sunday’
  • Use the Last Used option to do this for each email.
  • The mobile app has an option I use all the time. On Desktop will remove the email until you get back to your big keyboard.

#3 — Be the best version of yourself with snippets

Pressing the ‘;’ key brings up a list of snippets that I use to automate quality communications.

As well as frequently-used text like addresses and sign-offs, I use snippets to structure more complex communications.

  • Pitch readiness: if founders are only going to get an hour with us, I like to give them some notes on how to get the most out of it. This should be the primary experience and not inconsistent because I am busy.
  • No time to meet: I hate to send these emails because I want to help everyone. But if there is no time, there is no time. Easy to procrastinate and leave open loops. I have some frameworks that help me do this well and still find a way to help in most cases.
  • Introductions: VCs do this a lot. I have templates to make the best of each person.
  • Reason for ‘No’: Templates force me to be detailed and respectful in my response.
  • Meeting setup: A polite wrapper around my Calendly links to set up a meeting quickly. I have different links for meetings, including when I need to squeeze someone in.

#4 — Accept introductions in 1 minute

As a VC, I am also frequently introduced to other people by my network. Pressing Cmd — Shift — i on an open email quickly moves the sender to BCC and adds the opening sentence, “Thanks [sender]! (to BCC).

Combine this with a snippet for Meeting Setup, and that job is done in seconds.

#5 — Send + Done

When I am ready to send an email, I press Shift — Cmd — Enter, and the email is sent AND marked as DONE. Wow, that feels good.

After that moment, you will frequently see the message: You’ve hit Inbox Zero x weeks in a row! 🔥

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Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog

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Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.

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Phil Morle

Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.

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