Anand Sanwal is late. And I couldn’t be happier.

For many months now, on and off, I have been chasing Sanwal for an interview, and from the very beginning, the thought of it filled me with dread. This is how I actually pictured what would happen once I send him an email. He would read it. And then he would trash it. Publicly. Through his newsletter, which hits the inbox of 3,98,000 people every day. Amongst them, CEOs, unicorn founders across the globe, top-notch venture capital investors in Silicon Valley and across the world, multinational corporations, teachers, students, wannabe analysts, newsletter junkies, pundits and journalists.

This is how I pictured it. A screenshot of my email. And…Sanwal: Questions, questions, questions. Indian journalist has so many fucking questions, 90% of them stupid. Screw that, who the fuck has the time for such useless questions?

Me, seeing that email from CB Insights in my inbox: Flushed.

Obviously, because Sanwal has a reputation. Like, sample these:

Date: 10 October 2016. Body copy: If you hated this newsletter, please forward it to an enemy.

Date: 17 October 2016: Subject: Newsletter cruelty. Body copy: Hi, there. This conversation never gets old. Them: We’d like to use your data in our new XYZ platform. Me: Cool. What kind of budget did you have? Them: We want to partner. Me: Sweet.

Date: 10 November 2016: Subject: Is Trump better than Facebook?

Date: 1 December 2016: Subject: a-holes: the CB Insights team. Before you get all agitated, we’re no longer showing ads there (although an ad on Breitbart about disruptive threats seemed pretty on the money). But I wanted to ask the VCs/founders on this list the following. If you found an ad that was running on Breitbart (or pick any “controversial” site) was converting amazingly well for your business (let’s say 10x better than any other ad you run), would you continue to run it? Please vote below…Also, please don’t email me saying we are (a) all that is wrong with liberal media or (b) that we’re a-holes for advertising on Breitbart cuz I agree with you. We are the worst.

Date: 29 December 2016: Subject: trite VC tweets. Body copy: Hi there, if you are a VC and have not tweeted out an image of the app store with some banal observation on what it means for tech in 2017, you have a few more days left. Here are a few you can use if you’re feeling especially uninspired: 2017 will be the year of UI. Is 2017 the year fitness tracking goes mainstream. Gaming remains mobile’s killer app. Snapchat IPO is going to be huge. (Followed by this image)

Date: 18 January 2018.


Ashish K. Mishra

Ashish edits and writes stories at The Ken. Across subjects. In his last assignment, he was a Deputy Editor at Mint, a financial daily published by HT Media. At the paper, he wrote long, deeply reported feature stories. His earlier assignments: Forbes India magazine and The Economic Times. Born in Kolkata. Studied in New Delhi – B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. Works out of anywhere, where there is a good story to be told.

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