scorecardI cold-emailed Mark Cuban and a Meta exec, and they both responded. Here's how I worded it.
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I cold-emailed Mark Cuban and a Meta exec, and they both responded. Here's how I worded it.

Andrew Yeung   

I cold-emailed Mark Cuban and a Meta exec, and they both responded. Here's how I worded it.
Careers4 min read
  • Andrew Yeung is a former Meta and Google employee known for his extensive tech network.
  • He says sending cold emails weekly expanded his network and secured high-profile job opportunities.

Early in my career, I made it a habit to send out two dozen cold emails every week to broaden my network and expand my thinking.

Through the compounding effect of doing this every week for over five years, this habit helped me:

  • Grow my network by 100x.
  • Land interviews at companies like Spotify, Stripe, and TikTok.
  • Get jobs at Meta and Google.
  • Land six-figure clients for my business.
  • Meet some of the most remarkable people in the world, including unicorn founders, Midas-list venture capitalists, and Silicon Valley leaders, including a C-suite executive at Meta.

I've learned that sending cold emails has a significantly disproportionate amount of upside relative to the effort required. It can be the single most impactful habit in your career — it has been for mine.

I've observed most people aren't sending enough cold emails, and those that do aren't using an effective formula.

The magic formula

Over the years, I've sent thousands of cold emails and messages, and I've figured out a formula that works remarkably well for me.

My strategy comes from proven copywriting principles that are simple yet effective.

1. Use a compelling hook

Start with a message that hooks the reader in. Make it relevant, engaging, and tailored to who your reader is. Always ask yourself: Why should they keep reading?

An effective piece of writing should be like a slippery slope. The first line will hook the person in and compel them to read the second line. The second line will convince them to read the third, and so on. Keep this section to one or two sentences.

Examples:

  • "I loved what you said on the Tech Podcast about building a community…"
  • "We met at the Tech Expo last week — I was the person who brought up the topic of space tech…"
  • "Your book on Mindfulness completely transformed how I think about my family…"

2. Introduce yourself

Then, briefly, concisely, and humbly introduce yourself, highlighting your accomplishments.

Keep this short and punchy. A framework that works well here is:

  • What do you do?
  • Why do you do it?
  • What makes you stand out (brag about yourself)

Example: "I'm a product analyst at a Fortune 50 company, focused on improving our internal CRM software. I have a passion for finding "hacks" and tricks to improve productivity, and within my first year here, I was awarded the "Execution Excellence" award for building an automation that saved our company 1,000 hours of engineering time."

3. Provide social proof

It's human nature for your reader to ask, "So what's in it for me?".

Telling your story, sharing your accomplishments, and including details on the impact you've created for others will give others a compelling reason to build a relationship with you.

Consider the remarkable things you've created, tough obstacles you've overcome, or challenging problems you've solved.

Remember to brag about yourself!

Example: "I immigrated to the US when I was 15 years old, knowing nobody, with $300 to my name. 4 years later, I've built a community of 400+ first-generation immigrants to help them adapt to the local culture and started two restaurants that serve South East Asian cuisine that has been featured in Eater Magazine"

4. Share genuine gratitude

It doesn't hurt to include genuine appreciation and praise for the person you're contacting.

Do research on the person you're reaching out to. If they're a public figure or notable person, read their books, listen to their podcast, and study their work so that you can praise their works

For someone who is more private, browse their LinkedIn and get a sense of their passions and interests, and let them know what you admire.

Genuine compliments can go a long way.

Example: "I have been reading your blog for the last two years and especially enjoyed the articles "Hill climbing" and "Cities." It's been incredibly impactful on my life and career, and I appreciate you for doing what you do. Thank you!"

5. Make a clear ask

Finally, mention your ask.

Make it specific and actionable. Do not contact others to "connect" or "expand" your network. Too often, I received a note from others on LinkedIn asking me to "Add them to my LinkedIn network."

Remember that the size of your ask should be proportional to the depth of your relationship with that person. If you don't know them at all, ask for an email response. If you have a few mutual connections, ask for a 30-minute call. If you have a strong mutual relationship, ask for an in-person meeting.

Other examples for clear asks:

  • A job referral
  • An ask to view your pitch deck
  • 15 minutes of their time to discuss a topic

Example: "I'd love to be considered for the Product Manager role at ABC Company. I believe that my experience designing products, collaborating with engineers, and conducting deep user research makes me an excellent candidate for the role. If you're open to providing a referral — that would mean the world to me. If not — I really appreciate your time and would appreciate 1-2 sentences of feedback."

Take action

Put this into practice immediately with this simple exercise:

  1. Every week, pick 3-5 people you admire and find a way to reach them.
  2. Draft a cold email or message. Send it.
  3. Follow up and build a relationship with them by providing value to them and their network. Understand their problems and goals and find a way to support them.

Early in my career, when I was just a newbie at Meta (f.k.a. Facebook), I sent an email to one of the C-suite executives that landed me a response and a video call where I was able to gain invaluable insights on writing, tech, and business. I've continued to adopt the practice of regularly cold emailing and landed responses from tech titans like Mark Cuban that have allowed me to get new insights and communities that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to access.

Set aside 20 minutes a week to intentionally expand your network, and you'll find yourself attracting more opportunities, relationships, and wealth.

Andrew Yeung is a former global product lead at Google and Business Planning & Operations Lead at Meta. He is currently an immigrant entrepreneur (Founder of Andrew's Mixers and The Junto Club), an early-stage investor at Next Wave NYC, and creator with 120,000+ subscribers.




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